SOLO FAMILY LAW PRACTICE IN MN
LIFE IN ONE LAWYER FAMILY LAW FIRM
Hello again! I’ve been embarrassed lately looking for a topic for this blog, to tell the truth. I’m not a lawyer, an accomplished techie, a CPA or even a trained office manager. So what can I contribute to the conversation on line? Why, an inside view of a solo (one attorney) family Law practice in MN. So, here goes!
I’ve been reading Hennepin Lawyer, the organ of the Hennepin County Bar Association. One article that caught my eye was Solo Practice in the 21st Century by Maggie Green. The article has some good basic points for attorneys: create and live by a business plan. Stay organized. I’d say that means focus on a narrow area of the law where you can not only make a living and help clients but also gain in depth knowledge.
But, anyway, back to Ms. Green. If you are planning to employ a lawyer I think what reall matters is these words of hers: “Do great work… and everything else will fall into place.” This is true, true, true. Good article if you want to see what hour solo attorney has to deal with. I can speak from experience. If we don’t do good work here, we don’t get the business, and word gets around we’re not good lawyers. Word also gets around that we are worth retaining, when we do good work.
TECHNOLOGY AND FAMILY LAW IN MINNESOTA
Another article worth reading is Mandatory E-Filing in the Fourth Judicial District. The article is by Colleeen Hillesheim with the help of Jim Skoog. I’ll admit the article does NOT sound thrilling. But think about this. It means that lawyers can finally use emails to file (i.e., officially present to the court and to other attorneys) documents relevant to a particular case — at least in Hennepin County, MN (Minneapolis); and, at least, for the family and civil courts. Still, this is progress. This means that our clients’ child custody, child support, alimony, divorce cases can be handled more efficiently with less time and less expense. The ease of using emails compared to printed / hard copy documents, or faxed documents, makes it well worth using emails. Now, your lawyer and their staff can focus more on legal work and less on postage, stamps, trips to the US Post Office, and so on.
Finally, one more article from the legal press:
THE CRISIS GROWS: Concerns Over Funding for State Courts Dominate the ABA Annual Meeting
(THE ABA is the American Bar Association.). This article is by James Podgers in the September 2011 issue of ABA Journal I’ll just quote a few lines:
“The nation’s economic crisis ‘has resulted in additional cuts in funding for our already underfunded state courts.’ Robinson told the House.” [Mr. Podgers is quoting William T Robinson III]. ‘This threatens the very viability of our entire justice system in America and puts at risk the third co-equal branch of government.’” This may sound far fetched but the vast body of civil rights and legal rights built up over centuries have, at least until recently, served to protect the average citizen. For there to be any such protection, courts have to function. And courts can’t function without funding.
The 566 member House, which sets American Bar Association policy, approved a resolution calling for bar associations, lawyers, and judges to document the impact of cutbacks in judicial funding, and to create coalitions for adequate funding for the courts.
Tom Moo, Office Manager