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  • March 9, 2015

    March 9, 2015   Practice Building Ideas

    Is Your 40 Hour Work Week Killing You?

    By Audrey Ehrhardt

    Every week I talk to lawyers who tell me the same thing – they have absolutely no time during the workday.  Whether it is working on a client’s case, managing an employee or developing a marketing campaign, each task remains only partially finished because they don’t have the time they need to follow through and complete anything.  As a result, they spend each day rushing from one time sensitive deadline to the next and frequently feel they will never be able to catch up.   When are they getting their work done?  During non-business hours.  At night, once everyone’s gone home for the day, and on the weekends.  It’s the forty hour work week no one talks about.  Or worse yet, the one we wear as a badge of honor since it demonst... Read More


  • January 6, 2015

    January 6, 2015   Practice Building Ideas

    Elder Law is Scary (and Other Common Myths)

    By Valerie Peterson

    10,000 Americans are turning 65 every day, yet there aren’t enough attorneys to serve them.  Why is that?  It seems to be the result of several myths that continue to circulate about this area of law.   A few of them are listed below: Myth #1  Elder Law is scary.   What this usually translates to is, “I don’t know what ‘elder law’ means, it sounds complicated, and I’m working 100 hours a week and have no time to understand what it means.”   Myth #2 Clients who need an elder law attorney have no money.   This again goes to a lack of understanding about what an elder law attorney does and the client base served.  One of the important functions an elder law attorney performs is to create a pl... Read More


  • December 30, 2014

    December 30, 2014   Practice Building Ideas

    5 Steps to Make 2015 Your Best Year Yet

    By Audrey Ehrhardt

    The end of the year is quickly approaching.  For the busy practicing attorney there is a laundry list of  things to get done before close of business on December 31st. The end of the year also gives us the  perfect excuse to dedicate one of our most precious commodities (time!) to evaluating the previous year  and determining where to dedicate our energies in 2015.   What can we do to best position ourselves for an even more efficient and profitable 2015?  To realize the  most success from this year we need to candidly analyze the previous four quarters in our practices.   What are the lessons we can take away from the last twelve months?  If you're not sure where to start,  begin with si... Read More


  • November 3, 2014

    November 3, 2014   Practice Building Ideas

    I Want a Profitable Maintenance Plan in My Firm

    By Audrey Ehrhardt

    Successful law practices know that offering a maintenance plan to clients allows you to simultaneously accomplish three goals. First, you create a legal service that enables you to stay consistently involved with your clients and you can monitor the plan you’ve created to make sure it is implemented correctly. Second, you increase your firm’s profitability because a well-crafted maintenance plan creates a recurring stream of annual income in your practice. Third, with your client’s consent, the maintenance plan is an excellent tool to use in building successful relationships with third parties and decision markers involved with your clients. But can you successfully add the maintenance to your elder law practice? Let’s rephrase the question: how can you not? T... Read More


  • October 29, 2014

    October 29, 2014   Practice Building Ideas

    Practice Development Member Success Story: Katie May

    By Alisa Spirit of the Wind

    We are proud to bring another interview to our ElderCounsel and Office Management members from our blog series designed to share best practices, tips and tools members are using to build their elder law practices. This month I had the pleasure of interviewing Katie May, J.D., an elder law attorney with Huck Bouma, P.., one of the largest firms in the west Chicago region.  Katie spoke about the strategies and tools she uses in building a thriving law practice. One tool that she finds particularly effective in building interest in their practice, in terms of attracting new clients and in building referral sources is a "quiz". She uses her "quiz" with community groups such as healthcare professionals and financial planners along with a lighthearted PowerPoint presentatio... Read More


  • October 16, 2014

    October 16, 2014   Practice Building Ideas

    Sorry, I am Waiting for a Crisis in my Law Practice

    By Audrey Ehrhardt

    The support office management gives a law practice usually goes unnoticed. For most of us, the development of an efficient office is too mundane to focus on in our busy legal careers. It’s also outside our comfort zone; we were trained to be lawyers, not business owners. We justify our decision to ignore the consistent development needed in our firms by making statements like “it’s working well enough right now” or “I can handle any crisis that comes my way” or “I will focus on office administration when I have time.” It’s the last statement that’s the killer.Busy lawyers never have time.We all have more to do on any given day than any other normal professional and certainly more import... Read More


  • October 1, 2014

    October 1, 2014   Practice Building Ideas

    Is Anyone Saving for Retirement?

    A recent survey by the Florida-based consumer financial services company Bankrate found that more than a third of Americans have not yet begun saving toward retirement. Alarmingly, this even included some people nearing the age at which thoughts of retirement ought to be front and center.   As reported by The Christian Science Monitor, the Bankrate survey found that 36 percent of adult haven’t saved anything for the day when they can “put down tools,” as a British expression puts it. The article explains that it isn’t just younger adults that are postponing savings. Many people who are nearing retirement age similarly have no retirement fund including 14% of Americans 65 and older and over 25% of Americans between ages 50 and 64.   “What concerns me... Read More


  • September 22, 2014

    September 22, 2014   Practice Building Ideas,   Medicaid Planning

    Hiring a Medicaid Paralegal: Creating Profits and Value for Your Elder Law Practice

    By Alisa Spirit of the Wind

    Following on the series of interviewing ElderCounsel and Office Management members to provide an opportunity for them to share success stories and tools that have worked particularly well for them, and offer tips for colleagues, this month I had the pleasure of interviewing Michael Luizzi with the Pierro Law Group in upstate New York. I spoke with Mike about his role as Medicaid and Long Term Care Paralegal at the Pierro Law Group and his journey to become a dedicated paralegal in this arena. We also discussed the benefits an elder law practice can realize through hiring a paralegal dedicated to this area of work and how attorneys can find qualified candidates for this position.   Mike’s Story Mike began in the Medicaid field by working as a Welfare Examiner in a local Departmen... Read More


  • September 18, 2014

    September 18, 2014   Practice Building Ideas

    Strategies for a Successful Retirement

    The early bird may well get the worm, but the person who begins saving for retirement early is almost assured of a comfortable nest egg.   “People who save enough money for a secure retirement often start saving at an early age and save consistently throughout their career,” according to a story in U.S. News and World Report by Emily Brandon. “It also helps to avoid taxes and fees whenever possible.”   The article goes on to offer 10 strategies that helped people succeed at saving for retirement. They include:Beginning to save for retirement in your 20s and 30s allows you to start generating valuable compound interest that will accumulate over decades.Set up a direct deposit from your paycheck to a 401(k), IRA, or taxable investment account, and learn to l... Read More


  • August 14, 2014

    August 14, 2014   Practice Building Ideas

    Practice Systems to Increase Profitability

    By Alisa Spirit of the Wind

    Meet Valerie Wade, Law Firm Administrator of the Pierro Law Group in New York. Valerie has been the Administrator for the firm for over 5 years, and in that time has worked to create systems to both build efficiency and profitability for the practice. I spoke with Valerie to gain an understanding of the value she has found in implementing the Office Management tools and to discover if she had any suggestions for other firms who want to increase efficiency, manage staff well and boost productivity. Employee management is an important issue in any law firm and Valerie has found the staffing resources in Office Management assist her in really streamlining and enhancing this area. For example, in the interview process it is imperative to understand the ability of the candidate to organize and... Read More