The Law Office Management Assistance Program (LOMAP) is a new
program, created and funded by Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers Inc.,
to improve the business-management skills of Massachusetts
attorneys through multiple means ranging from telephone
consultations, office consultations, educational programming,
coaching services, publication of educational materials, and group
meetings focused on office start-up and marketing. We recognize
that even the most talented attorney may have no experience running
a business, and more importantly, no training. Yet, we are
professionals operating businesses and to do so well, we need to
implement proper business practices in operations, management and
finance. It is my belief that LOMAP's efforts to enhance business
practices will allow Massachusetts attorneys to deliver higher
quality legal services, strengthen their client relationships and
enhance the participating attorney's quality of life.
Who Provides the Services?
Due to demand for the services, we now have two full-time law
practice management consultants: LOMAP Director Rodney Dowell (me),
and Law Practice Advisor Jared Correia. I practiced law for 18
years after graduating from Cornell Law School in 1989, to practice
in a large law firm, a medium-sized firm, a small firm and in a
solo practice. Having establishing a small firm, I am familiar with
the day-to-day realities of operating a law office, and best
practices for client management. Correia was also a practicing
attorney in small law firms, where he developed excellent skills
related to the issues facing each one of our clients. Not only does
he have excellent experience, but his intelligence is coupled with
a great deal of common sense. Both consultants are published
regularly in both local and national publications and do CLE
presentations locally and nationally on these critical issues.
Join the Bandwagon
In the three years since the program was started, the demand for
our services has grown dramatically. LOMAP consultants have
traveled from North Adams to Cape Cod to meet with attorneys and
help them improve their business management skills. In 2009, LOMAP
had 165 new clients seeking consulting services, while the numbers
of attorney contacts were well over 5,000 for that year.
Benefits for All Lawyers
LOMAP consults with attorneys starting their first practice,
those who need to improve their mid-career practice, and those who
are closing their practice. We recognize that every attorney at
every stage has different needs and different skills which require
us to approach each consultation as the unique situation that it
is. Ultimately, we seek to provide practical advice that works for
the attorney in front of us.
We start with our Start-Up Crash Course, which includes a
start-up kit. After finishing the course, attorneys can have access
to our reference library, which contains wonderful materials to
help attorneys in marketing, finance and operations. We are also
available for ongoing consultations. For mid-career attorneys, we
offer in-house consultations which usually focus on streamlining
bottlenecks, causing either financial or operational success. These
attorneys seek advice related to one specific management or
operations area, or they may wish to conduct an office-wide audit
with extensive recommendations.
Many attorneys are also surprised at how difficult it is to
transition out of firm/partnership or transition out of practice
completely. We have excellent resources to help attorneys plan to
make this transition go smoothly for the attorney and their
Easily Accessed Resources
LOMAP provides many resources that allow attorneys to easily
access information on which we commonly consult with attorneys.
Most importantly is the Mass.LOMAP blog, www.masslomap.blogspot.com.
We also have an e-newsletter that focuses on law practice
management issues with archived issues, and two podcasts, The
Un-Billable Hour and The Legal Toolbox, which can be downloaded
from iTunes or from Legal Talk Network. Most common questions have
been covered in one or more of these resources. Finally, any
attorney can sign up for our free marketing group which meets
monthly (September through June) and features local experts on
marketing, which we support with a Web site where participants can
communicate and access related papers.
Although Mass.LOMAP works closely with many bar associations and
other entities, it is an independent organization of non-profit
Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers Inc. Of primary importance is that
all communications with LOMAP personnel are confidential as
provided by the Massachusetts Professional Rules of Ethics, Rule
1.6(c). We are not legal counsel, however, if we discover issues
during our audit that may violate the Rules of Professional
Conduct, then we will notify the attorney of our concerns, and, if
appropriate, we will suggest that an experienced attorney be
retained to evaluate and resolve the purported ethical problem, or
notify the attorney of appropriate resources that will help the
attorney resolve any issue. The communications with our attorney
clients are confidential, commensurate with the attorney-client
privilege, and that confidentiality may only be waived as set forth
in Rule 1.6, Massachusetts Rules of Professional Responsibility.
Finally, we will be able to continue to provide services subject to
my discretion and my perception that the attorney is responding to
the concern in a positive manner. If I believe that LOMAP is being
improperly used by the attorney, then I will exercise my discretion
to withdraw as a consultant.
How should lawyers access its services?
They should telephone me at (857) 383-3250, or visit our web site www.masslomap.org.
Is there a charge for its services?
With one caveat, we do not charge for our services. However, we
are in the process of implementing an administrative charge for a
consult at an attorney's office. This will be a flat fee for
administration and to offset some cost of the trip. From a cost
basis, there is no better time than the present to use our
Rodney Dowell, Esq. is director of the Law
Office Management Assistance Program, which assists Massachusetts
attorneys in establishing and institutionalizing professional
office practices and procedures.