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Tag Archives: Business of Law

The perpetual company (access required)

Alexander A. Bove Jr. and Melissa Langa BridgeTower Media Newswires A first generation business owner experiences immense pride in taking a moment here and there to observe what the owner has built for his or her family and the business’s ...

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Smith Moore opens new SC office, takes on established lawyers (access required)

Two weeks after North Carolina giant Womble Carlyle announced its acquisition of a Charleston, S.C., firm, the regional law firm of Smith Moore Leatherwood also has opened an office in the port city. The move expands the firm's footprint in the Southeast and positions it for growth in an area of economic vitality, Smith Moore Leatherwood chairman Rob Marcus (pictured) told Lawyers Weekly. "Charleston is becoming a very vibrant business market," Marcus said. "We've been excited to see Charleston grow and we wanted to be part of that growth."

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Coach’s Corner: Your lease is a strategic planning tool, make use of it

I received a call from a lawyer wanting to know what percentage of his gross revenue should be allocated to rent and whether his percentage was in line with other law firms. I cited one study that put the average at 9 percent, but his comeback was that another consultant said the average was 12 percent. Such generic numbers totally miss the point on two levels. First, they allow lawyers to think that they need not try to do better than the average. And second, they obscure the point that the cost of office space is a statement about the law firm itself, raising issues that should be addressed in a strategic plan.

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Coach’s Corner: What makes a law firm a good place to work?

Every law firm is, or should be, a team, with lawyers, staff and support personnel committed to a team effort for providing the best possible service and work product for the benefit of clients. Involving everyone in the office so that they feel a sense of inclusiveness, understanding their roles and looking forward to exercising them, creates a better and more successful firm. At too many law firms, unfortunately, this does not exist.

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Coach’s Corner: Dissolution should not be a firm’s only contingency

Clients clamor for alternatives to hourly rate billing because they want lawyers to have an incentive stake in the outcome of a matter. This is the case with contingency fees, where lawyers get a flat percentage of the value earned for the client. Contingency fees are often used in litigation, from personal injury cases to high-stakes corporate disputes.

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Coach’s Corner: ‘They can’t replace ME with a computer’

We have frequently written about how computer technology is a two-edged sword that can offer cost-efficient advantages to the law firm that leverages it, or can be the death knell to the law firm that does not keep pace. Nowhere was this duality been better illustrated than in a recent story in The New York Times. Its headline alone should give any member of the profession pause: "Armies of Expensive Lawyers Replaced by Cheaper Software."

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Lay ownership of firms under ‘discussion’ (access required)

Non-lawyers would be allowed ownership in professional corporation law firms - something State Bar rules expressly forbid - under a bill now under consideration in the N.C. Senate. State Bar officials said they have not had a chance to analyze the bill or to make a decision on whether to take a position. But Tom Lunsford, the Bar's executive director, said, "It's a matter of concern to us, and we'll be taking a close look at it." Rule 5.4 of the Rules of Professional Conduct states in part that "a lawyer shall not practice with or in the form of a professional corporation or association authorized to practice law for a profit, if a non-lawyer owns any interest therein."

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