Act Now…Before It’s Too Late! Can Smaller and Mid-Size Law Firms Successfully Adapt to the Changing Marketplace?

By John Remsen, Jr.

According to recent surveys conducted by The Managing Partner Forum and others, far too many smaller and mid-size law firms are doing little, if anything, to evolve and adapt in the face of rapid and accelerating change in the legal services industry.  What little innovation does occur is driven by the client in almost every case. And that’s not good if smaller and mid-size firms want to survive.

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The Five Compliance Questions You Should Be Asking Every Vendor

By Jerry Colasurdo

A common buzzword in the last few years, compliance is a top priority for many law firms.  In the process service industry, we’ve seen a significant increase in compliance requirements, especially in the financial sector.  Whether mandated by federal or state rules and laws or put in place due to increasing pressure from clients, securing confidential information is critical for law firms of every size.  Being compliant requires a proactive approach that covers all the bases. 

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4 Tips for Law Firms Who Want the Most Out of Their Process Server

By Amanda Sexton

Process service isn’t something every office manager has to deal with on a regular basis.  But with the potential to impact client satisfaction, staff workload and timelines for cases, it should be on every administrator’s radar.  Below are some helpful tips you can use (or pass along to your staff) to make sure subjects and entities are getting served as quickly as possible.

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Competent and Reasonable Measures of Data Security

By Kevin Roth

The probability of a malware attack on the legal community is higher than ever.  In 2015, Cisco ranked law firms as the seventh most-vulnerable industry to “malware encounters”.1 Bloomberg Law reported in 2015 that at least 80 of the 100 biggest [law] firms in the country, by revenue, have been hacked.2  Cybersecurity firm, LogicForce, recently released a report that revealed over 200 U.S. law firms faced hacking attempts for confidential client data between 2016 and 2017, and 40% of the firms didn’t even know the attack had occurred.  Additionally, the LogicForce report found:

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Business Development—Five Ways to Impress Clients

By Anne Itri

The number one rule of business development is to always impress your clients.  Happy clients will continue to give you their business and are much more likely to give you additional business and referrals.  The number two rule of business development is to always impress those with whom you work.  Eventually, they will have a need for your services and remember you.

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Like Blood Pressure, Your Copy and Printing Costs Should be Checked Regularly

By Joe Donohue

Unless you’ve implemented a print policy in your office, there’s a good chance your print volumes and costs may be higher than you think. Like high blood pressure, high copy and print expenses left unchecked can have a negative impact on the overall health of your company. Even in today’s economic climate that demands expense visibility and control, the avoidable waste associated with office printing is eye opening, to say the least!

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Designing Suburban Law Firm Workspace

By Dana Nalbantian, Jennifer Ellis-Rosa, IIDA, LEED AP ID+C and Rosemarie DeCiccio, CID, IIDA, LEED AP

Gensler, a global interior/architecture design firm with a focus on law firm design, hosted an NJALA workshop at its Morristown, New Jersey office on Wednesday, February 28, 2018.  The session gave a glimpse into the design process for creating law firm workspace.  The Gensler design team led participants through three activities to simulate the preliminary phases of the design process. 

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10 Rules-Based Printing Tips to Reduce Your Firm’s Print Costs

By Joe Miller

If you're reading this, you might have already heard about rules-based printing, and then you're wondering how it can help you.  Beyond the productivity, control and information gains that a rules-based printing environment brings, you can also reduce your overall print footprint (a footprint that determines how large your printing expenditure is and will continue to be).  Shrinking your print footprint is the only sure-fire way to lower your overall costs.

There are 10 major ways that rules-based printing can be leveraged to reduce print costs:

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Major Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a New Phone System for a Law Office

By Vincent Finaldi

Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of meeting with many law firms primarily located in Northern or Central New Jersey.  These law firms have ranged in overall size, from scaled multisite law offices with decades of experience to startup firms looking to build a new practice.

Regardless of firm size or type of law being practiced, I’ve come across some problematic buying behaviors common among these law firms.  I want to share these with you so your firm doesn’t inadvertently make the wrong phone-related decision.  Remember, phone systems are long-term investments, and it’s often not easy to undo a decision once it’s finalized.

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How to Modify Your Partnership Agreement Under the New Partnership Audit Regime

By Carolyn Dolci, CPA and Alyssa Rausch, CPA, MBA

Now is the time to dust off your partnership agreement and amend it to reflect the new partnership audit rules. Effective January 1, 2018 (or earlier, if elected), under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, all partnerships (including LLPs and LLCs taxed as partnerships) will be impacted by the new partnership audit rules. Below are key questions to consider as you update your partnership agreement.

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Insurance Issues in the News

By Leo F. Miller, Jr., C.I.C. and Staci Grant, RHU

Cyber Threats

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Legal Office Planning Trends—Are NJ Law Firms Ready to Shift to Working Remotely?

By Jennifer Ellis-Rosa

Most law firms in New Jersey have been slow to adopt modern office trends. I’m not talking about slick, glossy interiors that look like they belong in a magazine. I’m referring to spaces that have outdated planning metrics and are not adaptable as technology continually evolves. The fact is most of these firms lease more space than they need.

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Best Practices to Reducing Cyber Risk

By Stew Smith, CISM

The challenges associated with a data breach are changing the legal landscape.  The March 2017 issue of the ABA Journal cited cybersecurity as the biggest risk that law firms face in 2017.

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Risk Manager: The New Firm Administrator

By Scott Jacobson, CLCS

As an administrator, you also take on the role of risk manager.  Your job is to deliver on the mission and vision of your law firm.  Sometimes, that calls for being direct, patient, encouraging or decisive—and sometimes all at the same time.  You take unrealistic ideas that are thrown on your lap and convert them to real world actions, allowing the impossible to become possible.  This means your accountability level for the firm is paramount.

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What Are the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that Matter for Your Firm's Success?

By Jeremy Beam

Law firms, like any other business, need to be aware of, monitor and act on key performance indicators (KPIs).  While firms are typically on top of measuring billable hours, there are many other KPIs that can help you better manage revenues and expenses.  Knowing how—and when—to measure and benchmark a firm's KPIs against industry trends and best practices will help modify and improve firm performance.  KPIs can deliver a treasure trove of information to law firm administrators and partners—the key is knowing what to look for and how to report your findings in a format management can understand. 

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Say Goodbye to E-mail and Hello to Team Collaboration Software

By Basil Stepanov 

The legal industry is no stranger to the art of collaboration. Contracts, forms, statements, testimonies and numerous other legal documents are essential to the process, and need to be properly disseminated to achieve success. While e-mail has traditionally been a key component in the transfer of data, a more efficient alternative is currently reigning supreme. Law firms need platforms that promote faster internal communication to share files, discuss key topics and reach the necessary parties without delay. More specifically, these law firms need team collaboration software.

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5 Questions with�Michelle Cohen

By Cathy Aveta

CA: What’s your secret talent?

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5 Questions with�Kurt Brown

By Cathy Aveta

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Moving Best Practices

By John Lusardi

  1. Create a move team and clearly identify a single point of contact who is the “leader” of the move team within your organization. 
  2. Create a checklist of what you wish to accomplish with the move.  Is your company downsizing?  Expanding?  Does your company plan to purchase new furniture?  Will you require storage?  There is a lot to consider during a move, and a clear scope of work and proper planning is the key to a seamless relocation.
  3. Identify a target move date and when you will secure a Certificate of Occupancy at the new space.  Your move timeline and logistics is dependent upon this date/access.
  4. Begin the process of identifying what items will and will not be moved.  Your company can save time and money by decluttering your office prior to the relocation.  Once you decide on what is moving, create an inventory of items.
  5. If you do not have a relationship established with a local mover, this is a good time to start, as the mover can assist you with planning.  Partnering with your local mover as early as possible may help take a lot off your plate once you learn all the additional services and resources the mover can provide.  The mover will work with you to help implement a detailed move plan and schedule that will limit the amount of employee downtime, identify non-essential items that may be moved ahead of time, help coordinate loading dock and freight elevator times and help with the decommission and/or liquidation of unwanted furniture.  The earlier you start the process, the better chance the project has of being successful.
  6. Choose your relocation company wisely.  Weed out the unqualified bidders with some helpful points that you should be looking for from your moving company:
    1. Research background and history (years in business, locations, owner, number of employees, amount of equipment, etc.).
    2. Check mover credentials.  Is your mover licensed and insured?  What type of insurance coverage does the mover carry?  Ask for applicable licenses and authorities (DOT, ICC or other) and any affiliations (VanLiner, BBB, CRN, etc.).
    3. Ask for references.  How many relocations of this size has the company done and can they provide a list of satisfied clients?
    4. Ask for qualifications and names of key personnel (project manager and lead foreman) and standards for other personnel.
    5. What experience does the mover have with handling sensitive electronic equipment, including PCs and servers?  Look for companies with specific experience moving critical IT equipment.
    6. Inquire about their experience in handling modular furniture.  It takes product knowledge to efficiently break down and put up modular furniture configurations.
    7. What post-move services does the mover provide?  Post-move services are usually defined in a detailed relocation plan.  Look for companies that work with you even after the move to assure that you and your employees are 100% satisfied.
    8. If possible, take time to visit your mover’s facility and meet the team that will be supporting your office relocation.
  7. Work with your mover to develop or fine-tune the scope of work.  Make sure that responsibilities are clearly defined, such as:
    1. A detailed schedule of move (dates and times of activity)
    2. Packing and unpacking (who is responsible for which areas, customer vs. mover).  You may assign personnel to pack common areas such as kitchens, reception areas, file rooms, storage rooms, etc.
    3. Decommissioning your space?  Consider furniture/IT/broom swept services.
    4. Who will handle disconnection and moving of PCs?  Most moving companies offer computer disconnect and reconnect services as a very cost-effective amenity to their service.  
    5. Cubicle disassembly and assembly, reconfigurations?
    6. Packing materials (corrugated boxes or rental crates)
    7. Itemized inventory of furniture to be moved, or at a minimum, knowing what to show the mover during the site visit
    8. Post-move fine-tuning (Is this needed, how many workers and for how long?)
    9. Egress out and into buildings should be reviewed, along with buildings’ management requirements.
    10. Require that no bids will be accepted without a site survey.
    11. Request hourly rates and/or confirm type of quote (fixed bid vs. estimated cost)
  8. What is your plan for data back-up on your servers?  Talk to your IT staff.  Your company does not have to be inoperable during the move.
  9. Who will be your new data service provider?  Make sure the company providing your telephone and data services is scheduled to have everything in place before your physical office move is to occur.  
  10. Have a pre-move meeting with your staff!  Perhaps the single most important thing you can do is educate your staff about their responsibility during the move process.  Discuss proper packing techniques, proper labeling and where to find information they need, such as the new office telephone number.  

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How to Work Well With Your Legal Recruiter

By Micki Mersky

If you are a legal professional, you know how important it is to build trust with the individuals you represent.  This same concept can also be applied to your relationship with your recruiter. 

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