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Solo & Small Law Firms

How to Use the Bars Reviewed: A Practical Guide

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Last week, I unveiled the Bars Reviewed 2009, which surveys the services that bar associations are providing to solo and small firm practitioners.  I’ve received really valuable feedback in the comment section and I’ve been working to continuously incorporate the comments into the chart.

But the survey isn’t just a vanity tool to generate visibility for my site.  Rather, it’s a useful tool that lawyers and bar administrators will want to bookmark, link to and visit frequently. Here are some thoughts on how to use the Bars Reviewed, Table:

1.  Solo and small firm lawyers: Use the table as a short cut to click through to your bar’s features and more importantly, to locate applicable ethics rules and opinions.  And, why not explore the features that other bar associations are offering.  Many bars offer forms and templates that can be adjusted and utilized in your jurisdiction – so take advantage of resources beyond what your bar has to offer.

And here’s a tip – if you find a bar that offers a service, such as free legal research or an interesting conference that is only available to members, you might consider joining that bar anyway.  Most voluntary bars don’t require that you hold a license in that state, so it might be worthwhile, for example, to pay $250 to join another bar if it can get you access to a free legal research service or a substantial discount on malpractice insurance.

2.  Those contemplating solo practice: Many of the states listed have online bar guides and checklists which will give you some ideas on what to expect if you decide to start your own firm.  Many of the guides are general enough that they provide an overview of tasks involved in startig a firm that are common to all jurisdictions.

3.  Bar administrators and LPM advisors: This chart is intented to make your lives easier.  Many of the bars do offer valuable materials – this will give bar administrators an idea of what other bar associations are doing and perhaps serve as a springboard for future collaboration.  Information wants to be free, as they say!

Have you found the Bars, Reviewed useful?  How do you plan to use it?  Please send your comments below.

[by the way, the Bars Reviewed isn’t intended to replace that other MyShingle flagship, Soloformania.  We’ll be updating that feature as well].


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