CLE professional development programs on the horizon

Issue September 2006 By Kate O'Toole

Law Practice Management Series and "How to Start and Run a Successful Solo or Small-Firm Practice" to offer valuable advice to lawyer-entrepreneurs

The Continuing Legal Education Department's new luncheon roundtable series on Law Practice Management (to take place Sept. 13 and Oct. 11) will focus on the entrepreneurial aspects of being an attorney. For an attorney thinking about starting his/her own practice, many factors have to be weighed, and countless business issues will inevitably arise. For instance, what kind of accounting software should your firm use? Will your firm have a Web site, and, if so, who should maintain it? What are the most effective ways to market your law practice? How will you decide which cases to accept? What about malpractice insurance?

"This luncheon roundtable is for attorneys who are not ready to go out on their own yet and need more information, or for those who recently started their own practice and want to make sure they're doing it right," said program chair Michael R. Siddall of Siddall & Siddall PC in Springfield. "This is an opportunity to speak informally with other lawyers to hear what others have been through."

The Law Practice Management Series will take place at the MBA office in Springfield on Wednesday, Sept. 13 and Wednesday, Oct. 11 from 1-2 p.m.

On Oct. 25, attorneys will have the chance to hear from experienced attorneys at CLE's annual "How to Start and Run a Successful Solo or Small-Firm Practice" seminar. The all-day event, which is being held at the Sheraton Needham, has been attended by over 200 attorneys in the past. Like the Law Practice Management Series, the seminar will focus on the mechanics of running a law firm. The seminar will feature attorneys from around the Boston area who are highly experienced and familiar with the difficulties of launching a small practice.

"This seminar is a full-service opportunity that will cover everything you need to know to start a practice, including how to take care of yourself so you don't get burned out or dissatisfied," said program co-chair and MBA President-elect David W. White-Lief of Breakstone, White-Lief & Gluck PC in Boston. He added, "The networking lunch is also a great opportunity to sit with people in the area of practice that you wish to pursue and make connections that will last a lifetime."

Some of the highlights of the program include how to properly maintain your bank accounts; critical hiring and firing practices; vital marketing tips; and how to wisely obtain the hardware you need for your practice.

The "How to Start and Run a Successful Solo or Small-Firm Practice" seminar and the Law Practice Management Series especially fit in with one of President Mark D. Mason's goals for the coming year, which is to restore a focus on law practice management, small firms and solo practitioners. Several intiatives are being considered to meet the needs of solo and small-firm attorneys.

More than 25 experienced judges and attorneys to speak at 16th Annual Family Law Conference

The Family Law Conference is always one of the more popular CLE programs of the year. This fall, the panels will feature an impressive array of talent and experience, including 15 judges. President Mark D. Mason will be at the conference to offer welcoming remarks, as will Fern L. Frolin, the chair of the Family Law Section Council.

The topics at the conference range from the ins and outs of tax law and tips on litigating alimony to an anticipated panel titled, "When There is Little or No Money: Limited Representation Pilot Projects." This panel will address the pilot programs in the Hampden and Suffolk County Probate and Family Courts that allow attorneys to represent clients for specific legal tasks rather than for the duration of the litigation. This initiative, which probate judges and attorneys have been developing, will make more lawyers available to more people in need and will help to speed the delivery of justice. This panel will feature two judges and four attorneys who will discuss the mechanics of limited representation and what it means for the courts and family law attorneys.

The conference is Friday, Oct. 13 to Saturday, Oct. 14 at the scenic Chatham Bars Inn on Cape Cod.