My Shingle

Dealing With Clients

Don’t Poach on Me

April 7, 2011 by Carolyn Elefant

Earlier this week, I dropped a few hundred dollars to attend one day of an industry conference.  I didn’t do it for the CLE.  Rather, I  had to guard against other lawyers poaching my client.  Even with my oversight, at least one consultant made an overt, brazen play for my client as I stood by. […]

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HALO – Help a Lawyer Out

December 21, 2010 by Carolyn Elefant

Professional courtesy. When is the last time you’ve used that phrase, or heard it as anything other than the punchline of a lawyer joke? For me, professional courtesy is one of the aspects of being a lawyer that I most enjoy. Like giving a free consultation to a client sent my way by a colleague. […]

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Why Should Your Clients Care That Their Lawyers Don’t Work Weekends?

October 9, 2010 by Carolyn Elefant

There’s a small law firm in South Carolina with a Client Expectations policy that’s made a big splash online.  The policy, which bluntly states, “We do not work weekends and do not provide emergency numbers for weekends….We make mistakes…” attracted notice from the ABA Journal and generated discussion at several blogs, including Jim Calloway’s Practice […]

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Why I Won’t Let My Clients Set My Fees: It’s Not Their Job to Do My Work

August 20, 2010 by Carolyn Elefant

Over at, one of my very favorite bloggers, Jordan Furlong, offers up a couple of innovative alternative billing ideas, including a recent and somewhat controversial initiative of 300 lawyer, UK-based CMS Cameron McKenna: letting clients decide what to pay. Though many might assume that if left to their own devices, clients would pay their […]

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What If Your Retainer Agreement Could Look Like This?

August 18, 2010 by Carolyn Elefant

Credit Card Agreement After reading this post at the Public Citizens Law & Policy Blog (H/T Legal Blogwatch) about simplicity guru Alan Siegel’s efforts to cleanse the gobbledygook from consumer agreements, my first thought was that if Siegel succeeds, then Minneapolis, Minnesota solo lawyer and bloggerGraham Martinwill have to find another topic to replace his […]

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Lindsay Lohan: Dream or Nightmare Client for Newbie Solo?

July 9, 2010 by Carolyn Elefant

So here’s a practice management issue that law school doesn’t teach: You’re a newbie solo who passed the bar nine months ago and opened a law firm right afterwards.  Suddenly, the phone rings:  it’s a Hollywood superstar on the line, she’s  looking for a criminal defense lawyer to represent her and she’s picked you!  Trouble […]

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Warning Our Clients About the Dangers of Oversharing on Social Media

May 27, 2010 by Carolyn Elefant

A while back, a colleague of mine had to deal with a client who fell squarely into the “with clients like these, who needs enemies” category.  This client had shared copies of all of my colleague’s emails to him  with of the opposing parties in the case.  Worse, my colleague didn’t learn about the disclosure […]

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Supreme Court Says Lawyers Must Advise Clients of Consequences of Guilty Plea

March 31, 2010 by Carolyn Elefant

What sets us lawyers apart from computers or services like LegalZoom is our ability to counsel clients and help them make decisions.  Counseling clients is the very essence of what we do as lawyers — so much so that failure to advise clients on obvious consequences of a decision to plead guilty — such as […]

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Lawyers: Fear Ye Not the Freeloader, for I Myself Have Been One

September 28, 2009 by Carolyn Elefant

Surely you’re familiar with the freeloader, that ne’er do well who stands as an obstacle to change in the practice of law.   The freeloader is the reason why most lawyers won’t offer free consultations (those freeloading prospects just want advice, they don’t want to pay to hire me) or comp short phone calls (what happens […]

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Do They Always Dance With the One Who Brought Them?

April 29, 2008 by Carolyn Elefant

Many small firms wonder whether they should offer free or low cost legal services to start-up companies or small businesses in the hopes that those companies will generate more lucrative business as they grow.  Sounds great in theory, in many cases, once those baby start-ups mature, they may dump you for a more established law […]

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