Posted inNewsTexas Young Lawyers Association

The State Commission on Judicial Conduct releases annual report

The State Commission on Judicial Conduct has released its fiscal year 2017 annual report, which covers its activities from Sept. 1, 2016 to Aug. 31, 2017. It is available online at scjc.texas.gov/about/annual-reports/.

The State Bar of Texas’ annual report can be found on the bar’s website. The Texas Young Lawyers Association has also released its annual report. The Commission for Lawyer Discipline released its annual report, which can be found online.

Posted inGuest BlogMember BenefitsState BarTexas Lawyers' Assistance Program

Stories of Recovery: It’s a Disease, Not a Character Flaw (And It Won’t Get Better on Its Own)

Editor’s note: This post is part of the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program’s Stories of Recovery series. TLAP offers confidential assistance for lawyers, law students, and judges with substance abuse or mental health issues. Call TLAP at 1-800-343-8527 (TLAP) and find more information at tlaphelps.org.

There is no doubt that I am an alcoholic, and there is no doubt that I was an actively drinking alcoholic for years but didn’t recognize or admit it. It did great damage to my life and the lives of those around me. So how could it be that I, a longtime successful trial lawyer handling complex cases for national and international companies, could have failed to see or understand this crucial fact that is now so obvious to me and to those around me? Continue Reading

Posted inNews

Update: Ongoing job scam targets law offices

A job scam related to fraudulent job postings for an office assistant position with a law firm on Indeed.com and other job listing sites first reported in September 2017 is ongoing.

Applicants to the fake job posting received an email response from the poster that said, “Thank you very much for your application. We really appreciate you taking the time to consider us as a potential employer. However, the position you applied for has been filled, but you have been offered another position at our client’s company as a Personal Assistant due to your exceptional resume.”

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Posted inState Bar

Comments sought on proposed rule revisions by February 8

The State Bar of Texas is seeking comment on proposed rule revisions. As a result of legislation passed following the Sunset Review process, changes to attorney disciplinary process are required through rule revisions proposed by the Chief Disciplinary Counsel (CDC) and adopted by the Texas Supreme Court.

The primary objective of the legislative mandates is to promote earlier resolution of complaints and increased consistency in the process.

Click here to learn more about the proposed revisions and provide comment.

The State Bar will collect comments through February 8, 2018.

Posted inNews

DBA and DVAP establish legal aid endowment fund

The Dallas Bar Association and the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program have established the DVAP Endowment, which will help fund legal aid to the indigent in Dallas. The endowment was created by DBA President Michael K. Hurst to secure long-term aid should DVAP lose traditional funding methods.

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Posted inNews

Andrew Oldham appointed to the Texas Access to Justice Commission

Andrew Oldham, general counsel to Gov. Greg Abbott, will serve as liaison to the Texas Access to Justice Commission.

Oldham was appointed by Abbott, whom he advises on federal and state law issues. He currently manages litigation in which the governor is an interested party and is a lecturer on the rule of law, the U.S. Constitution, administrative law, federal courts, and federalism.

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Posted inGavel AwardsNewsSpecial Event

Entries sought for Texas Gavel Awards

Submissions are being accepted for the 2018 Texas Gavel Awards!

The awards recognize excellence in print, broadcast, or online journalism that educates the public about the rule of law, the legal profession, and the judicial branch of government; and discloses practices or procedures needing correction to improve the practice of law, the courts, or the justice system. The awards are given out yearly by the State Bar of Texas Public Affairs Committee.

To view eligibility requirements, submission guidelines, and submit an entry, visit texasbar.com/gavelawards.

The deadline to submit a story or series of stories for consideration is 5 p.m. March 30.

Go here to see the 2017 winning stories.

Posted inAbout The BarEthicsSocial MediaTexas Center for Legal Ethics

A Lawyer’s Duty of Confidentiality When Using Social Media

We all know that an attorney has a duty to protect confidential client information, but it’s easy to forget that duty when posting on social media or responding to online reviews related to a lawyer’s services. The proper analysis under the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct will involve Rule 1.05, which generally defines the scope and extent of a lawyer’s duty to protect confidential client information.

Rule 1.05(a) broadly defines “confidential information” to include information protected by the lawyer-client privilege, as well as “all information relating to a client or furnished by the client” that a lawyer acquires during the course of or by reason of the representation. Rule 1.05(b) prohibits a lawyer from revealing confidential information of a client or former client absent an applicable exception and also extends to the use of confidential information to the disadvantage of a client or former client. Continue Reading

Posted inSponsored Content

Sponsored Content: 6 Realistic New Year’s Resolutions for Lawyers

CLIO
The best-run law firms use Clio. Learn more at clio.com.

Just 8% of people are successful at keeping their New Year’s Resolutions. However, taking care to set  resolutions you’ll actually keep can help you achieve success.

Here are six resolutions to help you improve your practice this year.

1. Network more

The 2017 Legal Trends Report found that when looking for a lawyer, 62% of consumers seek referrals from friends or family, and 31% get a referral from another lawyer. In other words, you need to go to more networking events, both to meet other lawyers and to meet new clients.

These events don’t have to be boring either. The Clio Cloud Conference is an event for gaining inspiring ideas to make your practice more profitable—while connecting with innovative legal professionals. You don’t want to miss it!

To connect with potential clients, give talks at non-legal-specific events, get involved in your local community, and don’t forget to mention to new connections that you’re a lawyer available for hire.

2. Prepare your client intake before you meet your next client

A streamlined client intake system will save you time, plain and simple. More importantly, it will eliminate the potential for human error that comes with manual data entry.

To get you started, here are 3 ways to automate your client intake process.

3. Start accepting credit cards

Nearly 85% of solos and small firms haven’t set themselves up to accept online credit card payments. But, according to the 2017 Legal Trends Report, lawyers who accept credit cards get paid 39% faster than those who only accept payment by cheque.

Also, 28% of consumers surveyed said they wanted to pay law firms via credit card, and that this was a key factor for them when choosing a lawyer.

To get you started, here’s some information on choosing a credit card processor for your law firm.

4. Take better care of yourself

If you’ve been working long hours and neglecting self-care, use the new year as a turning point. Eat well, get enough sleep, and take care of yourself.

Don’t forget your mental health either. Try mindfulness exercises—meditation, even for just a few minutes each day, can clear your mind and set yourself up for success at work.

5. Manage your time more wisely

As mentioned above, according to the 2017 Legal Trends Report, lawyers log just 2.3 billable hours per day, based on an eight-hour workday.

In the new year, resolve to start managing your time better, so that you spend more time on billable work and less on administrative tasks. We’ve got a few time management tips for lawyers to start you off, but don’t try to do it all yourself—a robust practice management solution like Clio can help minimize time spent on non-billable work.

6. Bring technology into your practice

Legal tech is changing fast—firms that have implemented technology already are reaping big rewards, and those that don’t risk being left behind.

Make 2018 the year to adopt technology in your practice. The first step is to start using practice management software, if you haven’t already. Then, keep an eye out for new tools that could help you become even more efficient and profitable. If you’re not sure where to start, read about how Patrick Palace and Jordan Couch successfully implement new technologies at Palace Law.

Choose at least one of these New Year’s resolutions, and you’ll be on your way to a more balanced and successful practice in 2018.

Start the new year off right—Clio can help make your practice more efficient than you ever thought possible. Try it for free today.

Teresa Matich writes about legal technology and the business of law for Clio’s blog. She has previously worked as a reporter in the financial sector, and prior to that, she was an office clerk at a Vancouver real estate law firm.

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