Section Review

Section Review runs practice area-specific articles as part of the MBA's bi-monthly Lawyers Journal.

Issue March/April 2016

March 2016

Your law practice's financial plan 
(and how to protect yourself from failure)

As the great law practice management guru Jay Foonberg once said, "You must have positive cash flow if your practice is to survive." That's a true statement and, unfortunately, a lesson learned the hard way by many lawyers and law firms out there. But the reality of practice is that cash flow is rarely consistent for a lawyer month-to-month, particularly in the first few years of practice and particularly in certain practice areas.

The cost of a law clerk: wages and benefits

As business picks up or as a way to access future associates, law firms often hire law clerks to fulfill their short- and long-term needs. Law clerks can be a way to bring on help instead of hiring a full-time associate, paralegal or legal assistant. Or, it could be a way to test-run a future associate. When deciding to hire a law clerk or summer associate, it is important for law firms to consider federal and state laws, two of which are the Massachusetts Minimum Wage Act and the Affordable Care Act (ACA), when determining whether the time is right to add someone to the firm.

At the intersection of people and technology

There have been amazing developments in technology with applications to the practice of law. Different technologies collect and measure information, manage processes, remind us of what to do and when to act and make it much easier and faster to access and organize information. Tech helps manage client relationships and projects, and can even track the patterns of communication within a group for the purpose of improving performance.

The value of disconnecting

As winter's chill subsides and softer breezes hint of summer, we need to remember something just as important as choosing vacation dates and making travel arrangements: ensuring that the time we take away from the office really is a break from the fast pace and pressured grind of the law. We are fortunate to have achieved the status of learned professionals and have worked hard to earn our clients' trust. But with that standing come immense responsibility and work-related stresses. It is often a daily struggle to meet professional demands while also keeping up with personal commitments to family, friends and community. Critical to our ability to juggle it all, yet at the same time compounding the difficulty, is our technology, which keeps us connected simultaneously to our work and to our personal lives at all times and wherever we go.