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Guest Column: Telling your client’s story

It has become more than a cliché and the basis of innumerable jokes, but few of us will ever forget the late Johnnie Cochran's closing argument mantra "if it doesn't fit, you must acquit." (Ironically, it is purported that the much lesser-known Gerald Uelmen actually penned this phrase.) Of all of the evidence and all of the testimony from O.J. Simpson's 134-day televised murder trial, these seven words will be forever etched in our collective minds. Why? The power of storytelling.

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Coach’s Corner: Billable hour: Going, going … still here

In a recent article, I asked whether the billable hour method of billing clients is dead or on life support. It turns out that there is a third option: Hibernation. A recent survey reported that almost 73 percent of 2009 outside counsel fees were based on arrangements other than the standard hourly rate, up from 66 percent the year before. It is clear that law firms are scrambling with deals to retain clients. But is it also an inescapable conclusion from the survey that law firms are moving away from the standard hourly rate?

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20 things lawyers need to know in 2011 (access required)

Who's the next potential U.S. Supreme Court justice on Obama's list? Why does your firm need a social media policy - and an employee handbook? You will find the answers to these questions and more in this year's edition of "20 Things Lawyers Need to Know," complied by Lawyers USA, Lawyers Weekly's national sister paper. From the hottest technology tools to the latest tips for marketing your practice, we give you the insight you need to run a better law practice in the year ahead.

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Non-Lawyer to Lawyer: TSA body scan or pat-down? Yes, please

Of my immediate circle of friends, I was the only person who flew to see family over Thanksgiving. Being a frugal flyer, we left Raleigh on Thanksgiving Day. And during my layover in Houston, I happily responded to all of the text messages that people sent wishing me a happy Turkey Day. (I also felt immensely popular, which made up for the fact that my husband dragged me out of bed at 3:30 a.m. to catch the first flight of the day.) But of all of the warm wishes, my favorites came from the people who know my sense of humor best: "So, did you get the erotic pat-down?"

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Elon clinic aims to help refugees and asylees stay here (access required)

This year, more than 2,700 refugees arrived in North Carolina seeking a new start in life. On New Year's Day, those in the Triad will find a new agency to help them do it. The Elon University School of Law has established the Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic, which will provide free legal services to refugees and those seeking asylum in the state. Its doors open Jan. 1. According to Greensboro immigration attorney Gerard Chapman, the timing for the clinic's opening couldn't be better.

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