The View April 2012-MLMs Risk Management Newsletter

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The View April 2012-MLMs Risk Management Newsletter Powered By Docstoc
					  Volume 28 Issue 2 • April 2012                                                                                   www.MyLawyersMutual.com



                 WHICH TIME, BILLING & ACCOUNTING
                  SOFTWARE IS BEST FOR MY FIRM?

                                       I
                                          t is rare for a start-up law firm to choose to      software programs are basically the checkbook
                                          maintain the firm’s accounting books and            of the firm, making it relatively easy for a small
                                          records manually. With so many affordable           firm to pay bills while tracking every expense
                                       small business accounting software applications        detail in an electronic ledger. Accounting
                                       available to help firms with the unique tasks          software programs go beyond what a small
                                       associated with tracking the flow of money, it no      business would ordinarily get from a manual
                                       longer makes sense for a firm to manage money          bookkeeping set-up by incorporating tools to
                                       simply using checkbooks and a ledger. The              make time-consuming tasks easy. Tasks such
                                       question for lawyer is: “What is the best billing      as reconciling a monthly bank statement can go
                                       and accounting system for me?”                         very smoothly using the special tools available
      By Todd C. Scott                                                                        in accounting software programs. These software
                                       Like all software purchasing decisions, choosing       programs generally range in price from $50
      VP of Risk Management
                                       a system can be complicated and expensive –            to $250 and usually meet the firm’s basic
                                       especially if a firm buys more than it needs. But      accounting needs right out of the box after going
                                       before deciding what software product is right for     through a short set-up process.
                                       the firm, it must first narrow its choices by taking                                     (continued on page 2)
                                       into account some practical considerations. For
                                       example, if the firm’s bookkeeper has extensive
                                       experience in a particular accounting product,
                                                                                                    MLM ANNOUNCES 24TH
 Featured:                                                                                        CONSECUTIVE DIVIDEND TO
                                       choosing a different, unfamiliar tool for managing
 Which Time, Billing &
 Accounting Software is Best           the firm’s finances may not be the best option                 POLICYHOLDERS
 for My Firm? ....................1    for the firm. Moreover, some accounting tools
                                       may be designed specifically for the needs of law      Minnesota Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company
 MLM Announces 24th
                                       firms, but if the firm works closely with an outside   (MLM) is once again returning money to its
 Consecutive Dividend ......1
                                                                                              policyholders – in the amount of $1.7 million!
                                       accounting firm for help with payroll and tax, the
                                                                                              Policyholder dividend checks have been mailed
                                       recommendation from the accountant may be to
 Service                                                                                      out and shared among policyholders who had
                                       use a software tool that has a compatible database.    professional liability policies with MLM in force on
 Spotlight:
                                                                                              December 31, 2011. This is the 24th consecutive
 MyLawyersModules,                     Understanding the various types of accounting          year MLM has declared a dividend and the $1.7
 Roadmap to Start and                  and billing software products will help determine      million amount represents a $700,000 increase
 Run a Law Practice .........4         what the best fit is for the firm when it is time      over the prior year.
                                       to make a purchasing decision. The following
 Columns:                              includes an overview description of the types of       “MLM has taken a number of difficult underwriting
                                       software options that are available for firms, and     and pricing actions in recent years to improve
 Good Question:                                                                               its operating results and those actions are, quite
 Foxworthy was on to                   information for helping firms narrow down their
                                                                                              literally, starting to pay dividends,” said Steve
 something ........................5   software choices.                                      Brady, President and CEO of Minnesota Lawyers
 MLM Roadmap:                                                                                 Mutual. “We’re delighted to share a portion of our
                                       ACCOUNTING AND BILLING: KNOW THE
 Growing Ranks of Solo                                                                        earnings – in the form of a dividend – with MLM’s
 Practitioners Underscore
                                       DIFFERENCE                                             loyal policyholders, and look forward to even
 the Need for Resources...6            Not all software tools that manage money are           greater success in 2012,” Brady added.

 The Shill:
                                       the same. Most software tools available for law
                                                                                              Although no insurance company can guarantee
 I Heart Passwords ...........7        firms are basic accounting tools that were created     a dividend from year to year, Minnesota Lawyers
                                       to help small businesses track the flow of income      Mutual has paid over $40 million in policyholder
                                       and expenses. These off-the-shelf accounting           dividends since 1988. 

Questions? Contact MLM at:
Minnesota Lawyers Mutual • 333 South 7th Street • Suite 2200 • Minneapolis, MN 55402 • Phone: 800.422.1370 • Fax: 800.305.1510 • info@mlmins.com
2                                                                                                               THE VIEW • APRIL 2012
(continued from page 1)

Although these basic off-the-shelf accounting tools are very            Life is easier if firms are using a software tool that is made
good, they usually are not equipped with billing features               just for lawyers. A full-integration accounting tool for lawyers
that will meet the needs of a busy law firm with two or more            comes out of the box equipped with the reports and features
attorneys. The manufacturers of these accounting tools do not           that only a law firm would need. The initial set-up “interview”
necessarily have in mind the sophisticated billing needs of             process for configuring the software is somewhat different
lawyers. Off-the-shelf accounting tools that do come equipped           because the software program already knows that the business
with billing tools tend to be a simplified bill                                           is a law firm. Additionally, without having to
generator that covers labor and inventory ‒ like        When trying to find the           “hook-up” the software to a separate software
the kind that would be used by someone who is           right software for a firm,        billing tool, the ability to share information
a building contractor.                                  common scenarios often            within the various features is already there and
                                                        begin to emerge.                  its data sharing capabilities is much more robust.
Billing software tools are separate and unique
from basic accounting tools because all they do is track billable       The higher-end accounting features available in a full-integration
hours and create invoices. These tools were created specifically        accounting tool are things firms may want to consider when
for the enhanced billing and time-tracking needs of certain             trying to decide if the tool is right for them. For example:
professionals, such as lawyers. For example, the billing features
in basic off-the-shelf accounting tools won’t usually be able to        •	 Flexibility in write-ups and write-downs – You may work
handle the multiple billing rates that most law firms have for               an hour on behalf of a client and wish to track your time, but
each lawyer. Additionally, a firm that would like the flexibility            only bill for half of that time. Full-integration accounting
of creating unique billing terms for individual clients will find            tools will allow much flexibility in tracking not only the time
the billing tool in an off-the-shelf accounting product to be too            that you bill, but the time that you actually work.
limiting.                                                               •	 Showing trust balances on invoices – A full-integration
                                                                             accounting tool will not only create invoices but show
A software billing tool is made to work with a basic accounting              clients the running balance on their trust account.
program. That means that if something is recorded in the
accounting program – say, for example a payment is made by a            •	 Showing past balances or new totals – The ability to
client – that information is automatically recorded in the billing           show a running balance on each invoice is usually an
program, so the next client invoice will reflect the fact that the           important feature for many law firms that can only be
client recently made a payment. The manufacturers of software                found in a full-integration accounting tool.
billing programs create their programs to work with popular             •	 Split or consolidated billing – Single invoices that are
off-the-shelf accounting programs and include set-up and                     intended for more than one client are not available on a
support information to make sure the critical software programs              basic accounting program.
are adequately sharing information.
                                                                        •	 Customized invoice formatting – Although they may be
Firms that would like lawyers to track their own billable hours              available in a stand-alone billing program, features that
using a software program also find that billing tools are easier             allow customized formatting of invoices are not available
to use. A lawyer, paralegal, or any other member of the firm                 in the invoicing features of a basic accounting program.
can track time quickly by using an electronic time sheet that
                                                                        Because a full-integration accounting tool is performing the
collects information on the matter, the amount of time it took to
                                                                        work of two or more software programs, firms can count on it
complete the task, and the client being serviced. After entering
                                                                        being more expensive than an off-the-shelf accounting product.
the basic time tracking information and pushing a button, the data
                                                                        Whereas an off-the-shelf accounting software program may
is passed on to the back-office invoicing tool and the employees
                                                                        range from $50 to $250 (usually depending on how many
tracking their time can quickly move on to other tasks.
                                                                        people can use the product and whether it needs to share data
FULL-INTEGRATION ACCOUNTING: SOFTWARE                                   with other third-party programs), a full-integration accounting
TOOLS JUST FOR LAWYERS                                                  product can range from $400 to $1,000 for the first user license.

Accounting and billing tools work very well and can often                  It seems understandable that any software program with lots
meet the needs of small law firms. However, there is a class of            of features is often more difficult to use. A full-integration
software that combines both of these tools and is specifically             accounting tool – like any other robust accounting software
designed for lawyers. Full-integration accounting tools are                program – can be complex and difficult to learn. Basic, off-the-
robust accounting programs that have included billing and time             shelf accounting programs are typically designed for users who
tracking tools that are satisfactory for the needs of a busy law           run their own business and accounting is not their strong suit.
firm. Moreover, these full-integration accounting tools have               Many of the features in an off-the-shelf program are simplified
taken on some features that usually only come in high-end                  and designed to be more intuitive so that the user can walk
accounting programs, and depending on the complexity of the                through the bill-paying, invoice-producing process. However,
firm’s accounting situation, it may want to have in the firm.                                                                (continued on page 3)


Questions? Contact MLM at:
Minnesota Lawyers Mutual • 333 South 7th Street • Suite 2200 • Minneapolis, MN 55402 • Phone: 800.422.1370 • Fax: 800.305.1510 • info@mlmins.com
THE VIEW • APRIL 2012                                                                                                                        3
(continued from page 2)

full-integration accounting tools are designed for bookkeepers             firm to consider when looking for an accounting program that
to use, and so unless you plan to take the time to learn some              will fully integrate with the firm’s client database.
principles of accounting, the software can be more difficult to use.
                                                                           If the firm is “starting from scratch” looking for new software
THE DECISION TREE: HOW TO CHOOSE WHAT’S                                    and the bookkeeper is capable or willing to learn how to use a
RIGHT FOR YOU                                                              new accounting program, a full-integration accounting program
                                                                           that handles all the accounting and billing needs is probably
Many factors go into choosing the right accounting and billing             the best place to start. A brand new start-up law firm has the
software. There are important considerations, such as:                     unique opportunity to envision the most efficient way to set
                                                                           up the firm’s financial systems and set the plan into place,
•	    Who will be using the software tool? Do they have
                                                                           unencumbered by dependencies on other software systems or
      experience using it?
                                                                           employee experience.
•	    Is the firm “starting from scratch” or is the software part of
      an office set-up that is already in place?                           When trying to find the right software for a firm, common
•	    How big is the firm and how many employees will be using             scenarios often begin to emerge. The following are some
      the tool?                                                            hypothetical law firms and the analysis used to determine which
•	    Does the firm have a limited budget, and will software               accounting and billing software would be the best fit for the firm.
      training be necessary?
                                                                           •	   Solo attorney with no payroll obligations – Quicken
•	    Does the firm currently use other third-party software                    may actually work for this lawyer but QuickBooks is a
      applications that need to share data with the accounting                  better option for all solos. Although the invoicing feature
      program?                                                                  in QuickBooks is limited, the solo attorney may not have a
When I am making a software recommendation for a law firm,                      need for robust invoicing systems.
one of the first things I want to know is who will be using                •	   Small	2-4	lawyer	firm	using	QuickBooks – Assuming the
the tool. The best accounting software in the world will not                    firm is satisfied with QuickBooks, it may want to look at
be a good fit if the firm’s bookkeeper is not equipped with an                  enhancing it’s billing capabilities by adding Timeslips. If it
understanding of how to use it. Moreover, the bookkeeper may                    is open to using a full-integration program, it should check
be especially adept at using a respected accounting tool such as                out Tabs 3 or PC Law.
Quickbooks by Intuit. Such special knowledge of a particular               •	   Small	2-4	lawyer	firm	using	MS	Word	for	invoices –
accounting tool may take years to learn, so a firm would be                     The amount of work it takes for one or more staff members
wise to identify the knowledge assets of the person whose                       to create invoices from a word processor is so great that the
job it will be to handle the firm’s accounting, and take that                   firm is operating very inefficiently if it continues to do so.
information into account when choosing a software tool.                         The firm is strongly urged to choose an accounting system
My software recommendation also involves a determination                        the bookkeeper can manage. QuickBooks might be a good
of whether the firm has other program applications in place                     start because it is easier to learn and there are so many
that it intends to continue using. For example, if a firm is                    resources available for the employee to learn the program.
already using a basic accounting program but would like some               •	   Firm	with	10	attorneys	using	QuickBooks	and	
flexibility in the way invoices are produced, it is probably not                Timeslips – The combination of these two programs is a
necessary to look at a full-integration accounting program as                   very popular match-up in many small law firms, but the
a replacement tool. An invoicing/time tracking tool that will                   10-lawyer firm is getting to the size where it should be
share data with the accounting program that is already in place                 encouraged to check out a full-integration accounting tool
may be all that the firm needs.                                                 that can handle all of the firm’s needs. QuickBooks and
                                                                                Timeslips share data, but their compatibility is limited.
By examining the other software tools that the firm uses,
sometimes it becomes apparent that certain accounting tools are            •	   Firm with 25 lawyers using PC Law – The full-
the best match. For example, if a firm uses a case management                   integration accounting programs purport to handle the
program such as Practice Master by Software Technology, Inc.                    needs of a larger law firm, but the database capabilities can
(STI) for managing client data and calendar programs, STI’s                     sometimes limit it’s ability to do so. Larger firms should
TABS 3 accounting program would be a logical first step for the                 look into software tools made to handle their database
                                                                                need. Juris by LexisNexis is one such tool. 



     RU@RISK?
     a blawg about risk management for lawyers
                                                         Follow the conversation on “Which Time, Billing and Accounting Software is
                                                        Best for My Firm?” by subscribing to RU@RISK? Upcoming posts will discuss
                                                         some of the top finance software programs used by small to mid-size firms.

       MLM BLOGS A Collection of Conversations                                  Blogs.mlmins.com/ruatrisk

Questions? Contact MLM at:
Minnesota Lawyers Mutual • 333 South 7th Street • Suite 2200 • Minneapolis, MN 55402 • Phone: 800.422.1370 • Fax: 800.305.1510 • info@mlmins.com
4                                                                                                                          THE VIEW • APRIL 2012


                                                                 Providing Solutions to Risk Management Problems
                                                                      Online Conversations | Seminars | Live Webcasts | HelpLine




     Good Question                                                                                                                  RU@RISK?
       Better	Discussion                         Blogs come and go,                                                            A Blawg about Risk
                                            but malpractice is never ending                                                  Management for Lawyers

                                   Recently some changes were made to give lawyers a fresh perspective
                                   into our world of professional liability. Todd C. Scott will now be
                                   blogging with three of his MLM colleagues: Angie Hoppe, Alice
                                   Sherren and Chad Saunders. By having more contributors, we can
                                   share with you our various perspectives on the problems we see every
                                   day. With this set up, Angie will focus on issues involving starting
        Alice Sherren              a law practice, while Alice handles some of the tough questions our
          Claim Attorney           claim adjusters get everyday, and Chad writes about insurance. Todd                             Todd C. Scott
                                   will continue to write about the malpractice that appears in the news                         VP	of	Risk	Management

                                   and carry over the discussion from our monthly webcasts into this
          The Shill
                                   forum. Our goal all along has been to give you a view into our world
     Shameless Promotion                                                                                                        MLM Roadmap
       from Marketing              of legal malpractice and provide helpful advice so you can learn from
                                                                                                                                Planning for Success
                                   the mistakes of others.

                                   Let MLM blogger/editors know what you think of the information you
                                   find here. We’d love to have you join the conversation.

                                                               MLM	BLOGS
       Chad Saunders
                                                  A Collection of Conversations
    Specialty	Marketing	Manager
                                                          Blogs.mlmins.com                                                          Angie Hoppe
                                                                                                                                     Claim Attorney




                                   2012 Monthly                                   Risk Management 2012
                                  Webcast Series                               Loss Prevention CLE Seminars
                           MLM offers all its policyholders
                                                                          For updated information on when the CLE events will take
                            three hours of complimentary                  place in your area, visit www.mlmins.com where you can use
                                  webcasts per year.                      our easy online registration process to check availability and
                                                                          reserve your seat. Remember to register early — venues fill up
                           A $120 value!                                  quickly!
      (Complimentary code is valid from July 1 thru June 30)                                            PENNSYLVANIA
                                                                          Pittsburgh, PA ....................................................... April 24, 2012
                              Schedule                                    Grantville, PA ........................................................ April 25, 2012
                                                                          Philadelphia, PA.................................................... April 26, 2012
    April 26     Creating a Business Plan for a
                 Start-Up or Small Firm                                                                        IOWA
    May 31       After Treatment: Working with                            Council Bluffs, IA ..................................................... May 1, 2012
                 Recovering Lawyers                                       Des Moines, IA ........................................................ May 2, 2012
                                                                          Cedar Rapids, IA ..................................................... May 3, 2012
    June 29      Ten Rules of Advice for Defense
                 Counsel
              All programs are scheduled for one hour
                                                                                                      Have a risk management
             and start at 9:00 AM CST, 10:00 AM EST.                                                   question or concern?
             Program times may be subject to change.                                                      Contact MLM’s Risk Management
                                                                                                                 HelpLine, toll-free
    Webcast registration at www.mylawyersmutual.com
                                                                                                                     (855) 692-5146
Questions? Contact MLM at:
Minnesota Lawyers Mutual • 333 South 7th Street • Suite 2200 • Minneapolis, MN 55402 • Phone: 800.422.1370 • Fax: 800.305.1510 • info@mlmins.com
THE VIEW • APRIL 2012                                                                                                                        5

  Good Question                                            Want a sounding board for general, specific or
  Better Discussion                                         hypothetical risk management questions?
      MLM BLOGS A Collection of Conversations                               Blogs.mlmins.com/goodquestion

Foxworthy was on to something:                                                example, choice of venue, which defendants are named or
                                                                              not named, which experts are selected, etc.), YOU HAVE A
   “If you even have to ask this question,                                    CLAIM THAT SHOULD BE REPORTED, even if you think
   YOU HAVE A CLAIM THAT SHOULD BE                                            opposing counsel is wrong and your client is happy with
   REPORTED!”                                                                 your work!
                          Jeff Foxworthy made a name for                   • If you discover that you may have made a mistake, for
                          himself with his commentary about                  example missing a statute of limitations, YOU HAVE A
                          what “might” make someone a                        CLAIM THAT SHOULD BE REPORTED, even if opposing
                          “redneck.” One observation is that                 counsel did not realize your mistake, and even if you think
                          if you suspect you “might” be a                    you can fix the problem!
                          “redneck,” you probably are. The
                          same holds true for whether you have             • If your client tries to get out of paying his bill by disparaging
                          a “claim” that should be reported to               your work or the outcome of the case, YOU HAVE A CLAIM
your malpractice insurer. If the thought even crosses your mind              THAT SHOULD BE REPORTED, even if you know your
that you might have a claim…you should report to your carrier                client’s allegations about your work lack merit and he is
or risk denial of an eventual claim or even a voided policy.                 simply trying to get out of paying his bill!

Minnesota Lawyers Mutual insurance policies are “claims-                   • If anyone, client or not, says that your legal work caused
made” policies, which means an insured must report not only                  him harm, for example an opposing party in a divorce or
malpractice threats or lawsuits but also events that could                   custody case, YOU HAVE A CLAIM THAT SHOULD BE
develop into malpractice threats or lawsuits in the future. When             REPORTED, even if you know his allegations lack merit and
in doubt, it is always better to report a situation because failure          can prove it!
to do so could result in a denied claim or a voided policy.
                                                                           • If a client says that he is unhappy with your work and will
The policy states: A CLAIM is deemed made when:                              sue you for malpractice, YOU HAVE A CLAIM THAT
                                                                             SHOULD BE REPORTED, even if you believe your work
  (1) a demand is communicated to the INSURED for                            was above reproach!
      DAMAGES or PROFESSIONAL SERVICES;
                                                                           One very important thing to remember is this: You, as the
  (2) a lawsuit is served upon the INSURED seeking                         attorney, do not get to decide whether there is a claim. The
      DAMAGES; or                                                          standard is not whether you personally think you have a claim,
                                                                           whether the claim has merit, or whether the claim may never
  (3) an act, error or omission by any INSURED occurs which                be pursued. The standard is whether facts exist that could
      has not resulted in a demand for DAMAGES but which                   reasonably develop into a claim. If you find yourself asking, “I
      an INSURED knows or reasonably should know, would                    wonder if I should report this?” ‒ the answer is always “YES!” 
      support such a demand.

This means that you have a “claim” that should be reported
any time you think you might have made an error, or any time
someone else says you may have made an error. This is so even              If you have a specific situation you are unsure about whether to
if you think you can fix the problem, even if your client still            report, please contact the Risk Management HelpLine, toll-free
seems happy with you or doesn’t know about the problem, and                at (855) 692-5146.
even if you know you did not err but someone else says you
did. The fact that a claim lacks merit, or that you have great
defenses to a claim, does not change the fact that there is a                                  Alice Sherren, MLM claim attorney,
claim that must be reported. And it is essential to always report                              addresses common (and not so common)
a claim as soon as possible, before trying to fix it on your own.                              questions MLM receives from insureds
Don’t jeopardize your insurance coverage by waiting to report                                  through its Risk Management HelpLine
a claim until suit is filed and your options are limited.                                      and invites insureds to weigh in via the
                                                                                               comments section.
Here are some “Foxworthy style” examples of when you have
a claim that should be reported:                                                               Join the “Good Question, Better
                                                                              Good Question    Discussion” Conversation at
• If opposing counsel makes a motion to dismiss your client’s                    Editor        Blogs.mlmins.com/goodquestion/
  case because of something that was your decision (for

Questions? Contact MLM at:
Minnesota Lawyers Mutual • 333 South 7th Street • Suite 2200 • Minneapolis, MN 55402 • Phone: 800.422.1370 • Fax: 800.305.1510 • info@mlmins.com
6                                                                                                                  THE VIEW • APRIL 2012


    MLM Success
    Planning for
                 Roadmap                                           Ever wish there was a straightforward roadmap
                                                                  one could follow to start and run a safe practice?
      MLM BLOGS A Collection of Conversations                                  Blogs.mlmins.com/roadmap

Growing Ranks of Solo Practitioners                                          “They still need resources,” Harris said. “By developing
                                                                             tools and resources in tandem with bar associations and other
Underscore the Need for Resources                                            groups, together we can provide some cost-effective solutions
                      By Dan Heilman, Minnesota Lawyer
                 Reprinted with permission of Minnesota Lawyer,
                                                                             and put them at reduced risk of malpractice.”
                        Solo Contender, March 20, 2012
                                                                             The MLM modules are free for MLM members and were
                                                                             scheduled to go live at the end of March. Free access to the
Recent surveys suggest more and more freshly minted lawyers
                                                                             site will also be offered to Minnesota State Bar Association
are bypassing the temptation to work at a law firm straight
                                                                             members via its PracticeLaw Web portal.
out of law school and are instead hanging out their shingles as
solo practitioners. A recent survey of the Minnesota Lawyers              One way Hoppe has been working toward that goal has been
Mutual Insurance Co. (MLM), which provides malpractice                    by dropping in on a relatively new resource MSBA is offering
insurance along with risk management services, found that                 its members: monthly meetings and online discussion groups
more than 19 percent of solo practitioners polled                                          aimed at solos trying to establish their practices.
have five or fewer years of practice experience,       Angie Hoppe, an MLM
                                                                                           PracticePack (www.practicelaw.org/432) is
with 9 percent having two years or fewer.              claim attorney, said the            focused on lawyers going straight from law
                                                       goal is to create a platform        school to solo or small firm practice, discussing
The seeming surge in solos highlights the fact
                                                       that is responsive to               the process of moving on after graduating and
that going it alone isn’t easy for any lawyer, let
                                                       the needs of new solo               the trials of job searching.
alone an inexperienced one. Handling billing,
                                                       practitioners. “It’s great to
office administration and client development can                                           Started in late 2010, PracticePack usually meets
                                                       have all this information
be overwhelming. For that reason MLM and the           put together, but we don’t
                                                                                           the third Tuesday of the month from about 8
Minnesota State Bar Association are working            want it to be just a flat           to 10 a.m. Andrea Hable, MSBA’s attorney
together and separately to provide support and         static resource,” she said.         editor and proprietor of her own practice, said
resources for the swelling ranks of solos.             “We want it to grow.”               attendance at the meetings is usually between
                                                                                           five and 15 young lawyers.
MLM recently debuted Roadmap to Start a Law
Practice, a series of web-based modules designed to show young            “It was an acknowledgment by the bar association that there
lawyers some of the nuts and bolts of starting and growing                are a lot of new lawyers out there who need some support,”
a practice. Many of the modules are focused on avoiding                   she said. “It started with the hope that we could offer new
malpractice problems, but a number of others zero in on general           solos some tech assistance and help them get some discounted
topics, such as essential practice components and key areas to            services, but the biggest benefit has been the camaraderie of
consider when establishing a practice. The site also contains             getting together monthly.”
downloadable law practice management booklets; workbooks                  Hable said the meetings, which are free for MSBA members,
for business financials and budgets; and various forms, templates         are informal, and carry no CLE credit. While there’s often
and checklists.                                                           a speaker or a main topic, there’s usually time at the end for
Jayne Harris, MLM’s vice president of business development,                  practice-related questions.
said the group compiled the resources in response to mounting                “There are numerous issues discussed,” she said. “How do
evidence that while the number of young solos was growing,                   ethics rules apply to real practical things we deal with? How
many of those baby lawyers weren’t armed with the skills and                 does solicitation rule apply if I’m at a networking event? How
resources needed to establish a successful practice.                         do I deal with clients? How do I set fees? How do I define the
“The profile of a solo firm had really changed in last few                   scope of my recommendation? Where do I find a mentor? 
years,” Harris said. “The Carnegie Report and other studies
show that there are key competencies that new lawyers tend                                     Angie Hoppe, MLM claim attorney, is actively
to lack, such as procedural law, organizing and management                                     involved in helping attorneys start a practice as
of legal work — all things that tie into the things we’re really                               the MLM Roadmap’s editor, and by leading the
concerned about from a practice perspective.”                                                  ongoing development of MyLawyersModules.com,
                                                                                               an online environment to assist attorneys start and
She pointed to 2010 findings from the Association for Legal
                                                                                               run a safe and successful practice.
Career Professionals that pointed out that 5.9 percent of new
law school graduates are pursuing solo practice. But while                                     Submit your question on starting a practice and
setting up shop, they’re dealing with huge debt and probably                                   Angie will do her best to divulge practice pointers
don’t have spare money to spend on CLE courses.                               Roadmap Editor   that are both useful and practical.
Questions? Contact MLM at:
Minnesota Lawyers Mutual • 333 South 7th Street • Suite 2200 • Minneapolis, MN 55402 • Phone: 800.422.1370 • Fax: 800.305.1510 • info@mlmins.com
THE VIEW • APRIL 2012                                                                                                                                                                           7


   The Shill
   Shamelesspromotion from marketing
   Shameless promotion from marketing
                                                                                            How much do you really know about
                                                                                             professional liability insurance?
        MLM BLOGS A Collection of Conversations                                                              Blogs.mlmins.com/theshill


               I HEART PASSWORDS                                                                       password. We use passwords for MyLawyersMutual.com, our
                                                                                                       online Risk Management Website.
I am stuck in a password maze. My 15-year-old Hotmail
account with its 15-year-old password was breached. Nothing                                            There are acknowledged kinks. Currently, the logins for our
that I know of was lost; Hotmail stopped being my primary                                              CLE webcast and for MyLawyersMutual.com are different.
e-mail account years ago. I did have to assign a new password                                          There’s a technical reason for the separate login that doesn’t
under the new password regime. A regime that’s much, much                                              matter to a frustrated policyholder. Also, every individual
harsher than it was 15 years ago. This process was repeated for                                        policyholder has a unique login to MyLawyersMutual.com.
all online accounts that may have been touched by the Hotmail                                          This is to keep confidential the policy portion of our web site.
breach. Facebook, online banking, my family’s health plan,                                             Again, the reasons don’t matter if it causes frustration. (Please
iTunes & many others need new passwords. The trouble with                                              call us! You’ll get an actual person who can help.)
new a password is that I won’t remember it unless it has some
variation of my 15-year-old password. I’ve tried more secure                                           The most recent offering on MyLawyersMutual.com is
password tricks but I’m forgetful. I forgot the new Hotmail                                            MyLawyersModules Roadmap to Start and Run a Law
password almost as soon as I signed out, which meant I had                                             Practice. It’s a terrific resource for lawyers who are starting,
to get a new one. Apparently, you can’t request your current                                           contemplating starting, or have recently started a law firm. I
password if you forget it. You can only assign a new one, one                                          suspect it would be useful to attorneys of all experience levels.
that hasn’t been used in a year. Which means I’m going to                                              Resources like this take a level of effort we can only offer to
forget it because it is not familiar to me. It’s all very secure.                                      our policyholders. It’s password protected. If you don’t have
                                                                                                       your password, please give me a call. I can help. 
We use passwords here for many parts of our online system.
If we have put anyone through an ordeal like this I apologize,
sincerely, from the bottom of my heart. But there is a reason
we use passwords. We use passwords to protect the sensitive
and often confidential information we request. Moreover,                                                                         “The Shill” is written by Chad Saunders, MLM
passwords allow us to offer additional services to our                                                                           specialty marketing manager. Chad may be
policyholders. We require passwords for online & in-person                                                                       reached at (800) 422-1370 x9672
                                                                                                                                 or csaunders@mlmins.com.
CLE. The online registration process, payment processing
and proper recording of CLE credit depends in large part on a
                                                                                                          The Shill Editor



NOTE: The material in this newsletter should not be considered legal advice and as always, you will need to do your own research to make your own conclusions with regard to the laws and ethical
opinions of your jurisdiction. In no event will Minnesota Lawyers Mutual be liable for any direct, indirect, or consequential damages resulting from the use of this material.



                                                                                                                                                    THE VIEW - APRIL 2012
                                                                                                                                      Managing Editor:
                                                                                                                                         Jayne M. Harris, VP of Business Development
                                                                                                                                      Technical Editor:
                                                                                                                                         Michelle Lore, Claim Attorney
              Looking for checklists, law practice management booklets and                                                            Assistant Editor and Layout Designer:
               risk management CLE resource materials? Look no further!                                                                  Karen J. L. Scholtz
                                                                                                                                      Featured Article Author:
                                    www.MyLawyersMutual.com                                                                              Todd C. Scott, VP of Risk Management
                        Haven’t received your Username and Password?                                                                  Good Question Author:
  E-mail info@mlmins.com with your identifying information and preferred e-mail                                                          Alice Sherren, Claim Attorney
  address to receive your login and password within 24-hours or call 800.422.1370 and                                                 Roadmap Author:
  your MLM Account Manager will provide you with your login and password over the                                                        Angie Hoppe, Claim Attorney
  phone.
                                                                                                                                      The Shill Author:
                                                                                                                                         Chad Saunders, Specialty Marketing Manager



Questions? Contact MLM at:
Minnesota Lawyers Mutual • 333 South 7th Street • Suite 2200 • Minneapolis, MN 55402 • Phone: 800.422.1370 • Fax: 800.305.1510 • info@mlmins.com

				
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