So you want to have your own family law practice? I say yes to you! There is always room for more good lawyers. However, be careful what you ask for. While the benefits definitely do outweigh the burdens, being your own boss is not always easy or sexy. Practicing law, marketing a practice, and running a business requires lots of time, energy, and investment. Here is how I spent my last week.
Friday. I was supposed to spend the day preparing final paperwork for a muli-day trial scheduled to start in a week. Fortunately the case settled yesterday afternoon. Thus this day was freed up for past due administrative tasks, including getting the bills out. With the trial avoided, I am spared having to work on the weekend. The morning also brought an email from London letting me know that I had been granted Fellowship in the prestigious International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (www.iaml.org). This invitation only group is comprised of the best family law lawyers from around the world. The Fellowship is a rare honor and will foster networking relationships with colleagues around the globe. It will dove tail nicely with my Fellowship in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (www.aaml.org), another elite invitation only professional society that lets me collaborate with the best of the best in the U.S. family law bar.
Monday. The work day morning starts at 8 a.m with a networking breakfast with two of my colleagues from Pro Visors, a networking group that I am affiliated with. Once a month my local Pro Visors group meets from 7a.m. to 9 a.m. At the end of that meeting the members are paired into groups of three for a follow-up breakfast or lunch that allows for a more personal meet and great. This month's "troika" -- as Pro Visors has labelled these follow-up meetings -- helps me to introduce my practice to a real estate transaction lawyer and a tax lawyer.
Back at the office I spend a few minutes writing a post to my California Divorce Blawg. Our firm has an active internet presence. We have an outstanding website (www.hardinglaw.com) with an abundance of content relevant to potential consumers of family law services. The blog is a vital component of our website. Of course, the website also includes the usual law firm resume and personnel profiles, but its greater emphasis is on education about family law and divorce. New material is added on a regular basis, including frequent blog posts, to keep the site near the topic of the search engine rankings.
I work through a couple of client meetings, and get some letters out. At 3 p.m. I hop in my car and drive to the Oakland airport, where I catch a flight to Orange County. I spend Monday night at the Orange County Hyatt preparing for a continuing legal education program that I will speaking at Tuesday.
Tuesday. By 8 a.m. I am in a conference room, ready to begin a four hour introduction to divorce class. Twenty-six attendees, 20 of whom are watching via a live internet video feed. At 1 p.m. I am in a cab back to John Wayne Airport. My United Club membership comes in handy, as I can spend a couple of hours in a comfortable lounge checking voice mail, returning calls, checking and replying to emails, and reading some pleadings that have been scanned at the office and emailed to me. By 7 p.m. I am back home.
Wednesday. In the office by 7:30 a.m. Task number one is to surf the web for technology stuff that I can post to this FLLTP blog. Finding nothing I write a post from scratch. I also post to the Hardinglaw.com blog. Then it is on to meeting with clients, dealing with paperwork, managing phone calls and emails. etc., etc. At 4:30 p.m. it is back to the Oakland Airport to catch a flight to Burbank. I spend the night at the Pasadena Hilton preparing for another continuing legal education program that I will be speaking at Thursday.
Thursday. By 8 a.m. I am once again in a conference room, ready to begin a four hour introduction to divorce class. Twenty-five attendees this time, and all in person. Makes for a much more energetic program. I am able to getting on an earlier flight, and am back home by 5. I check my email one last time, and then take a look at a new iPad app. The vendor has sent me a message asking me what I think? I mark it as possible content for FLLTP.
Friday. In the office by 7:30. Go through the mail that I have neglected all week. Review and respond to emails. Spend some time on LinkedIn responding to connection requests, and surveying the posts for the groups that I belong to. I also go to the California Court’s website to review the newly released appellate opinions (which I do daily to insure I am current on the latest case law). Then I take a break, and make a cup of green tea. During my tea break I post to the Hardinglaw blog, and finish writing this piece for FLLTP. A lawyer calls with a referral. We discuss the case and schedule a time to talk to the new client. The rest of the day will be spent paying bills, preparing a law and motion reply, and thanking my lucky stars that the trial that was supposed to start today is now off calendar.
Next week. The Monday previously set for trial have been filled with new meetings. I can also use the time to give extra preparation to a trial that starts the following week. I have two other court appearances next week, and I have to get a brief done for another trial upcoming in June. On Wednesday evening I will be playing in a 9 hole twilight golf tourney, which will give me an opportunity to meet some new people. Of course, I will also be reading the appellate opinions as they hit the internet each day, posting to the blogs, going out to lunch for good old fashioned schmooze marketing, and doing whatever else it takes to run a successful business/practice.
Come on along, it's a fantastic voyage!
Please visit hardinglaw.com for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law
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