This Week on Legal Talk Network (7/21/14)

Hello. This is Laurence Colletti for This Week on Legal Talk Network. On Monday, New Solo host Adriana Linares interviews practice management experts Reba Nance and Bill Gibson about business steps new lawyers need to take to optimize their chances for success. Here’s a preview- On Wednesday, Christopher Anderson from the Un-Billable hour interviews expert analyst Brooke Lively about the 6 key financial numbers that every lawyer should know. And on Friday, we finish the week with Lawyer 2 Lawyer – our host J Craig Williams interviewing Tennessee House Representative Mike Carter and Legal Director Thomas H. Castelli from the ACLU, discussing Tennessee’s new law that adds criminal liability to mothers who do illegal drugs while pregnant. So tune in. It’s all right here . . . This Week on Legal Talk Network.

Source: http://traffic.libsyn.com/sr/This_Week_on_LTN_7-21_Audio_Only.mp3

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Applying Lean Startup Principles to a Law Firm

While identifying a client base, deciding on office space, and making countless other decisions, assumptions are made when developing a legal business plan that are, at best, educated guesses. Many startups have decided to follow in the path of previous companies only to find that their firm does not thrive in such a structured methodology. In the incredibly complicated world of legal business, social media attorney Scott Malouf argues that the Lean Startup method provides an alternative and relatively efficient approach to identifying the specific needs of potential clients.
Lean Startup is a trial and error based business model in which a startup company makes small, specific assumptions and does vigorous testing on the results rather than depending on a big picture business plan. On this episode of The Un-Billable Hour, Christopher T. Anderson interviews Malouf about the benefits and difficulties of applying Lean Startup to law firms. New law firms can benefit by limiting wasted money, efforts, and time by truly sampling what clients might want and eliminating unnecessary services according to direct feedback. However, there may be challenges in ethical statutes surrounding lack of certain services and the ability to be transparent with clients.
Scott Malouf is an attorney who helps other attorneys turn texts, social media, and web-based information into evidence and advises in social media risk reduction. He has extensive insight into the best practices for startups, challenges that may arise, and examples of how he has personally applied Lean to his practice. He writes the Social Media Law column for the New York Daily Record and can be found on Twitter @scottmalouf.
Stick around to the end for details on how you can learn more about Lean Startup.

Source: http://legaltalknetwork.com/podcasts/un-billable-hour/2014/06/applying-lean-startup-principles-law-firm

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This Week on Legal Talk Network: Unaccompanied Minor Immigrants and More

Hello. This is Laurence Colletti for This Week on Legal Talk Network. Monday, Lawyer 2 Lawyer hosts Bob Ambrogi and J. Craig Williams speak with experts Alex Nowrasteh from the CATO Institute and Elizabeth Dallam from KIND about immigration and the increasing number of unaccompanied minors involved. Here’s a preview:
On Thursday, Heidi Alexander opens the Legal Toolkit and talks to TechnoLawyer founder Neil Squillante about the top new technology products for your law practice.
And on Friday, we finish the week with The Kennedy-Mighell report – our hosts discussing tools and techniques to improve the way you collect and keep information you want to use again. So tune in. It’s all right here . . . This Week on Legal Talk Network. So tune in. It’s all right here . . .This Week on Legal Talk Network.

Source: http://traffic.libsyn.com/sr/This_Week_on_LTN_6-30.mp3

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Entropy: It’s Not What It Used To Be*

In thermodynamics, entropy is the measure of how things go from order to disorder. Its application is far broader, however, applying to life in general. For those of us, like me, who strive to maintain order, it is the enemy.

My ability to do what I do, to function, depends on my maintaining order. In a world of chaos, it’s a constant battle. No man is an island, and so almost every function relies to some greater or lesser extent on interactions with others. In order to prepare an affidavit, a person must take or return my phone call, do so in time for me to get their words on paper in both an accurate and comprehensible manner, make sure I’ve captured their thoughts properly, get it executed and file and serve the document.  If the person decides that he would rather go to the beach than speak with me, but will get back to me later, the entire scheme can fall apart. A call back on Monday at 11 doesn’t help when the papers are due Monday at 9.

When I explain how their conduct affected my ability to do my job, the response is one of two things: “Oh, I didn’t realize,” or “you should have told me that before.”  Of course, I can’t tell you anything if you don’t take or return my call. “Oh.”

It’s a fragile set up at best. Some people are reliable in a way that allows other to count on them, to plan ahead and not find themselves in a quagmire from which they can’t emerge.  These are people who make other people’s lives go smoothly. They tend to be somewhere along the anal compulsive spectrum, which sounds pretty nasty but is actually a really good thing for organized people, especially lawyers.

Others are chaos personified, off in the thousand directions without any thought whatsoever to the consequences for themselves or those who rely on them. Their alternative to order is their tolerance of disorder. It’s not that they don’t eventually come to realize what they failed to accomplish because of their chaotic approach to responsibility, but that they can live with themselves that way.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
Then again, it has nothing to do with God. It has to do with us. We make choices. If you’re inclined to believe in a deity, then know that the deity imbued you with the power to make wise or foolish choices, and left it to you to decide which.

You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice.
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.
You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill;
I will choose a path that’s clear-
I will choose Free Will.
When I’m asked how I manage to get as much done in a day as I do, the answer is order. I organize. I plan ahead. I try to anticipate the chaos I will confront in the course of trying to get things done so that I can accommodate it as much as possible, and will give myself enough room so that someone else’s choice of disorder won’t completely undermine what I need to accomplish.

The other day, a massive failure to accomplish a task upon which I relied was explained to me as the result of unforeseen circumstances. It wasn’t quite true. Getting hit by a truck is an unforeseen circumstances. Making overly optimistic promises which you chose not to keep when time or interest gets tight is not an unforeseen circumstances. It’s life.

There is a difference between explanations and excuses.  When something doesn’t go as intended, which happens despite best efforts and planning, there is either an explanation or it was just a screw-up. If the former, then there is a reason. If there is no reason, then it’s a screw-up.  Yes, screw-ups happen. No, they don’t have to. Are they your fault? Yes. That’s why we call them screw-ups.

Excuses are a different animal. Excuses are explanations that shift the fault onto the party who caused the problem.  Most are imperfect, in that fault is born by more than one party, often all parties, who either failed to do what they should have, or said they would, as well as parties who failed to anticipate or accommodate the chaos wrought by others involved. See how that works?  We knew that other people screw-up, and so we assume the responsibility of inserting that potential in our equation of order. When we organize our world, we do so in anticipation of entropy.

It’s all a choice. Frankly, the failure to realize this, to conduct oneself as an island of order in a world tending toward chaos, to both live an ordered life and recognize that others don’t or won’t, is a choice. If you want to do what you can to do better, be more responsible, keep your promises to others despite reliance on those who infuse their chaos into your world, you can. But you must make the choice.

It’s hard to fight entropy, but those who do keep the world running.

* The title is brazenly stolen from Buzzfeed’s 21 Jokes Only Nerds Will Understand.


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Source: http://blog.simplejustice.us/2013/07/14/entropy-its-not-what-it-used-to-be.aspx?ref=rss

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