Third Annual Sole Practitioner and Small Firm Symposium focuses on smarter, better, cheaper ways of running a sole practice or small firm

Thursday, Apr. 25, 2013
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Images from the April 24 Third Annual Sole Practitioner and Small Firm Symposium. Photos by Philip-Lauren Photography.

The Massachusetts Bar Association's Sole Practitioner and Small Firm Section hosted its third annual symposium at Lombardo's in Randolph on April 24. The theme of this year's program was "smarter, better, cheaper ways of running a sole practice or small firm. " Symposium co-chairs Scott D. Goldberg, Beth M. Padellaro and Frank J. Riccio moderated the symposium throughout extensive programming.

Jay Shepherd, a self-proclaimed "recovering lawyer" and current author and public speaker, kicked off the symposium with a lively presentation on how lawyers can pursue the work they are passionate about. Shepherd said that only by discovering one's "outstandingness, can lawyers be truly happy in the work they do and effectively market their value to clients." Shepherd also warned program attendees not to undersell themselves to clients.

"Clients like to feel they have received value rather than a discount," Shepherd said.

Following Shepherd's presentation, panelists with varied practice backgrounds offered practical tips on marketing, office management and technology. Jared D. Correia, senior law practice advisor for the Massachusetts Law Office Management Assistance Program, stressed the importance of lawyers having systems in place to manage cases and clients.

"Lawyers need to have strong business acumen. Client expectations and the standard of professionalism force lawyers to do more than those in other professions," Correia said.

Other highlights included the Chris Kenney and Adam Phipps panel, where the presenters tag-teamed the importance of joining and being active in professional associations. Jeffrey J. Clark gave an enthusiastic presentation on how to best equip a law office with technology to lower overhead, streamline workflows and raise revenue. Former MBA Vice President Jeffrey N. Catalano was joined by Assistant Bar Counsel Anne Kaufman and spoke to attendees about how to deal with difficult clients, and the importance of managing client expectations to stay out of trouble. Andrew D. Kang of Boston Professionals Counseling and Heidi Alexander of Law Office Management Assistance Program concluded the programming, explaining the importance of managing stress, and setting and achieving professional goal.

"I think the people who took the time to be here today really benefitted and took away great information that will improve their practices," Padellaro said.

Goldberg agreed saying, "the symposium was a success for the people who attended."