e-Journal

06-21

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Membership dues renewal right around the corner

Renew your MBA membership by mail or online

The Massachusetts Bar Association reminds you that the 2011-12 membership year is drawing to a close, and membership renewal notices for the 2012-13 year will be distributed soon. As in years past, the MBA offers members two renewal options:

  • By mail: Renew your MBA membership through the mail with a check or credit card payment. Look for your dues renewal form to come in the mail in mid-July.
  • Online: Look for renewal instructions via e-mail in mid-July on how to renew your membership online. We understand how valuable your time is and are happy to offer you this time-saving, green alternative.

As always, thank you for your continued support of the MBA.

YLD hosts "Meet the 2012-13 Board of Directors" networking event

June 2012 YLD Networking Event

Members of the Massachusetts Bar Association's Young Lawyers Division gathered for a networking reception on June 14 at Max & Dylans, 15 West St., Boston.

The event provided attendees with the opportunity to meet members of the 2012-13 YLD Board of Directors and mingle will fellow attorneys and members of the bar.

Click here to view event photos.

LPM Tip

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Use war stories to make better fee estimates

The Third and Final Part of a Series on Legal Project Management

Providing clients accurate fee estimates can be extremely difficult. Clients of all sizes want more certain fee estimates. Yet, due to the unique nature of each case, attorneys feel compelled to provide extremely broad estimates or just tell the client "It depends." In a pinch, an attorney might quote a flat fee and hope he or she will not take a bath.

Sharing "war stories" (descriptions of interesting past cases) is not only entertaining, it can help you make better estimates. Instead of just reliving those interesting matters, analyze them to find variables that increased (or decreased) your fees.

Analyzing prior cases for fee information is not complex. Picture your last 20 or 30 cases. If you don't have enough cases to analyze call one of your colleagues who performs the same type of work to discuss their cases too (keeping client confidences of course). Identify the most run-of-the-mill case: a case with no variables that increased or decreased fees and that took about the amount of effort and resources you expected (or would expect) to resolve. Then analyze the cases that were not run-of-the-mill for the variables made them atypical. In trust and estate matters typical variables might be multiple prior wills or trusts to review, a difficult family situation, or real estate or tax issues that must be resolved. In an immigration practice typical variables could be logistical issues such as travel or translation, or the necessity to collect documents from countries with weak governance. A table of litigation variable might look like this:

0621LPMChart1
Once you have a list of variables, you next identify two aspects of each variable. First, how much did the variable increase or decrease the fee from a typical case -- either in dollars or as a percentage of the base fee. You can estimate the average amount of increased fee or dissect each case for an exact amount and then calculate an average. Second, assess how often the variable appeared across all of your sample cases. If the variable appeared in 2 out of 20 cases it has a 10 percent likelihood of appearing in a single case. Now put this data -- the per case cost of the variable and its per case likelihood on your table:

0621LPMChart2

Now you have building blocks to create more rigorous fee estimates. You take the base fee from the run-of-the-mill case, assess whether the above variables appear in this client's case (or whether you need to investigate more to make that determination). Even if you can't predict whether a variable may appear in the case you are estimating (such as the other side becoming uncooperative midway through a case), you have an idea of the likelihood of that variable and the cost of that variable and can work such unknowns into an estimate either by increasing the fee, negotiating a hybrid fee structure, or by adapting a section of your fee agreement to address such contingencies. These tools can also improve flat fee quotations. In such matters, you have a better idea of what work to exclude from the flat fee services.

Possibly most importantly, these tools are a way to explain the basis of your fee instead of saying "It depends."

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Thanks to Aileen Leventon of QLex Consulting for her invaluable advice and examples of attorneys using legal project management tools to innovate and improve their practices.

Want more legal project management tips? Part one of the series, the April 27 LPM Tip discussed using project management (PM) tools to promote more efficient drafting. The May 25 LPM Tip discussed using PM to improve particular aspects of cases or office practices.

Tip courtesy of Scott L. Malouf, Law Office Management Assistance Program.

Published June 21, 2012

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To learn more about the Law Practice Management Section, which is complimentary for all MBA members, contact LPM Section Chair Thomas J. Barbar or Vice Chair Stephen Seckler.
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Members of the legal community participate in the FREE LOMAP Super Marketing Conference II on June 19 at the Massachusetts Bar Association in Boston.

Photos by Marc A. D'Antonio.

FREE LOMAP Super Marketing Conference II offers marketing and client tips, networking and more

Miss the program? Watch is anywhere, anytime via MBA On Demand.

On June 19, the Massachusetts Bar Association hosted the Massachusetts Law Office Management Assistance Program's second annual Super Marketing Conference. Over 100 attorneys participated both in person and via MBA On Demand Real-time Webcast, and were treated to presentations by legal marketing experts on a wide array of marketing topics. The fast-paced program also gave conference participants the opportunity to network with colleagues and conference presenters throughout the day.

"The energy surrounding today is palpable," said Jared Correia, Senior Law Practice Advisor for LOMAP and conference moderator. "What started as a small lunch group to discuss the challenges lawyers face in today's legal market, has now grown into a vibrant and interactive webinar series culminating in a half-day program. It's really amazing. Of course, none of this would have been possible without the support of the MBA."

Presenters at the conference included speakers Ed Scanlan, founder of Total Attorneys, who told those in attendance how not to run their law firms, and Brett Owens, CEO of Chrometa, who focused on teaching attendees how to automate their law firm marketing. In addition to Total Attorneys and Chrometa, Clio, a law practice management software provider, also sponsored the event.

Local presenters included Gabriel Cheong, Esq., Alan J. Klevan, Esq., Jay Shepherd, Esq., and Matthew P. Trask, Esq.

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Did you miss the "LOMAP Super Marketing Conference II?" Click here to watch the program anytime, anywhere via MBA On Demand. The 2011 "LOMAP Super Marketing Conference" is also available here.

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From top to bottom: Julia Hall, Rachel Smit and Kristen Wekony.

MBF announces 2012 Legal Intern Fellowship Award recipients

The MBF Trustees proudly announce the award recipients of the 2012 MBF Legal Intern Fellowship Program (LIFP).  This year, the program will provide three exemplary law students with a stipend of $6,000 each for a full-time, summer internship at a Massachusetts organization providing civil legal services to the poor.

The MBF's Legal Intern Fellowship Program has two concurrent goals: to give talented students the experience and encouragement they need to pursue careers in the public interest law sector and to provide legal aid organizations with much-needed additional staff capacity for the summer. These awards are supported by generous contributions to the MBF from lawyers and judges statewide.

This year's award recipients are:

Julia Hall

Boston University School of Law
AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts: Legal Services to HIV+ and At-Risk Communities
(Supported by the MBF Fellows Fund)

Rachel Smit

Boston University School of Law
Greater Boston Legal Services: Employment Law Unit
(Supported by the MBF Fellows Fund)

Kristen Wekony

Boston University School of Law
Harvard Legal Aid Bureau: Housing Law Practice
(Supported by the Smith Family Fund)



For more information about the MBF Legal Intern Fellowship Program, please visit www.MassBarFoundation.org.

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News from the courts

Additional court locations to adjust public office hours; Probate and Family Court announces changes to Standing Order 2-99

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Additional court locations to
adjust public office hours


Starting July 2, 2012, the five permanent clerks' offices that comprise the Southeast Division of the Housing Court -- Fall River, New Bedford, Brockton, Plymouth, and Taunton -- will operate under a staggered schedule that closes each office for two days a week. Court users may go to any of the five locations to conduct business. At least two of the five locations will be open for business on any given day.

Last year, the Housing Court's Southeast Division opened a fifth session at the new courthouse in Taunton after many years of holding sessions in four locations to cover Bristol and Plymouth counties. Staff of the division travel among the locations on a regular basis and the new schedule will better balance the coverage throughout the region.

The five Housing Court locations will be open as follows:

  • Mondays: Fall River, New Bedford, Brockton, Plymouth
  • Tuesdays: Fall River, Brockton, Taunton
  • Wednesdays: Brockton, Taunton
  • Thursdays: Fall River, New Bedford, Plymouth
  • Fridays: New Bedford, Plymouth, Taunton

In addition, the Lawrence District Court will extend its restricted counter and phone coverage from three days to five days between the hours of 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. The Newburyport/Ipswich district courts also will expand from three days to five days its restricted telephone coverage between 1:30 and 3:30 p.m.

The scheduling of court sessions is not affected by the changes in office hours and access is available for emergency matters. This reduction in counter and telephone hours provides uninterrupted time for staff to prepare cases for court sessions and execute court orders, as well as to complete filing, docketing, scanning and other case processing.

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Probate and Family Court announces changes to Standing Order 2-99


The Probate and Family Court has annoucned the approval of Amended Standing Order 2-99, governing the "Procedure for Submission and Disposition of Certain Post-Hearing Motions." The changes reflect recommendations made by the Probate and Family Court Bench/Bar Committee on Rules. Hon. Paula M. Carey, chief justice of the Probate and Family Court Department and Hon. Robert A. Mulligan, chief justice for Administration and Management, approved the changes effective July 2, 2012.

The amended standing order identifies the post-hearing relief available in the Probate and Family Court and clarifies the specific Rules of Civil Procedure and Domestic Relations Procedure that are applicable to motions for post-hearing relief.

Click here to view the amended order.

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Featured member benefit: Daily Legal Headlines

Looking for recent legal news?

Each morning, visit www.massbar.org to view the latest news headlines related to state and federal laws, the legal profession and the MBA. Updated every day, our headlines section is accessible on the Homepage and here.

Subscribe to the MBA's Headlines RSS feed here.

Next week's Health Law Conference to feature keynote by professor Wendy Mariner on Supreme Court's Affordable Care Act decision

Conference to focus on use of social media in health care practice, health care needs of children with autism and more.

Health Law Conference

The Health Law Annual Conference is scheduled for next Tuesday, June 26 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the MBA, 20 West St., Boston. The conference features keynote speaker Wendy Mariner, Edward R. Utley professor of Health Law, Bioethics and Human Rights at Boston University School of Public Health and professor of Socio-Medical Sciences and Community Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine. Conference topics include:

  • 8:15 a.m.: Registration
  • 8:45 a.m.: Welcome Remarks
  • 9 a.m.: Medical Records in the Cloud -- Use of Social Media in Health Care Practice
  • 10 a.m.: Finch v. Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector -- The Decision and Its Implications
  • 10:50 a.m.: Networking Break
  • 11 a.m.: Health Care Needs of Children with Autism
  • Noon: Lunch and Keynote -- Wendy Mariner speaks on the Supreme Court's decision on the Affordable Care Act
  • 1:30 p.m.: I Apologize -- A Transformation of the Medical System

Click here to register.

Upcoming CLE seminar and program schedule

Register for Session VI of the Health Law Legal Chat Series, for information on federal and state health care reform.

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To register for the following programs, call MBA Member Services at (617) 338-0530, [e-mail membership] or visit the CLE Web site. Scroll down for program details, including dates and registration details.

Recorded program Recorded session available for purchase after live program through MBA On Demand.

Live program Real-time webcast available for purchase through MBA On Demand.

UPCOMING PROGRAMS

MBA co-sponsors program: IMLA Land Use Seminar
Thursday, June 21-Friday, June 22
Harbor Events Centerm Portsmouth Garden Hilton, Portsmouth, N.H
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Health Law Legal Chat Series: Session VI Live program
Friday, June 22, noon-1 p.m.
NOTE: There is no on-site attendance for Legal Chats.

Health Law Conference Live program
Tuesday, June 26, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

Your First Year as a Lawyer Revealed Live program
Thursday, July 12, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston


How to Avoid Common Mistakes New Lawyers Make Live program
Thursday, July 19, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
MBA, 20 West St., Boston

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MBA On Demand

Unable to attend these seminars? Purchase the recorded session available after the live program through MBA On Demand and watch the presentation from the comfort of your home or office.

To view a listing of current programs offered on MBA On Demand, click here.

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Call for Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards nominations

Deadline is Saturday, June 30

To recognize outstanding commitment to volunteer legal services for the poor and disadvantaged, the Supreme Judicial Court's Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services is seeking nominations for the 2012 Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards. The deadline for nominations is Saturday, June 30.

The awards will be presented in a ceremony at the John Adams Courthouse on Wednesday, Oct. 24, in conjunction with the American Bar Association's recognition of National Pro Bono Week.

Award criteria

Awardees will be selected from those who have excelled in providing volunteer services in one or more of the following ways:

  1. Volunteer participation in an activity or pro bono program which resulted in satisfying previously unmet needs or in extending services to underserved segments of the population;
  2. Successfully litigated pro bono cases that favorably affected the provision of other services to the poor; and/or
  3. Successfully achieved legislation that contributed substantially to legal services to the poor.

Nomination guidelines

Nominations should be submitted to: Robert C. Sacco, Esq., The 2012 Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards, c/o Lyon & Fitzpatrick LLP, 14 Bobala Road, Fourth Floor, Holyoke, MA 01040. Contact Crystal Barnes at (413) 536-4000, ext. 122 or [e-mail cbarnes] with questions.

Nominations submitted in 2011 remain active for consideration in the 2012 awards program provided that the nominating party submits a letter restating the intent to nominate the candidate and updating the narrative with any relevant information. Eligibility for the awards has been expanded this year to include law schools and law students.

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