Inside Track: Grow Your Business Acumen at October Solo & Small Firm Conference:

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  • Grow Your Business Acumen at October Solo & Small Firm Conference

    The eighth annual State Bar of Wisconsin PINNACLE® Wisconsin Solo & Small Firm Conference includes six plenary and 32 educational sessions. The Oct. 24-26 conference in Wisconsin Dells includes up to 14.5 CLE and 11.0 EPR credits.


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    Sept. 4, 2013 – Use social media to build your practice – learn the habits and systems that help avoid malpractice claims – explore limited-scope representation – blueprint your success. These are just a few of the ideas and techniques covered in six plenary sessions at in the eighth annual State Bar of Wisconsin PINNACLE® Wisconsin Solo & Small Firm Conference from Oct. 24 to 26 in Wisconsin Dells.

    Thursday and Friday Plenary Sessions

    Internationally recognized expert on workplace restructuring, talent management, work/life balance, and the retention and promotion of lawyers Deborah Epstein Henry presents “Blueprinting for Success: Developing Plans for success in Mentoring, Promotion, Flexibility, Networking & Leadership,” on Thursday from 9 to 11 a.m.

    In today’s competitive workplace, it is no longer enough to be a top-notch lawyer. What are the intangibles that differentiate those lawyers who thrive and those who wither? At this program, attendees will learn the five challenging areas where lawyers should focus. These include:

    • mentoring and sponsorship;
    • promotion and self-promotion;
    • work/life balance and flexibility;
    • networking and business development; and
    • leadership and executive presence.

    Henry also presents “How to Capitalize on the Tumultuous Legal Market,” on Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.

    With the shifting legal market, many lawyers are wondering what they should be focus on to be on the cutting edge. Henry will:

    • discuss the changing nature of legal work and legal department expectations;
    • explore trends in client demands, new legal models, billing practices, law firm structure, career paths, compensation, recruiting, and talent management
    • discuss key industry challenges and three areas where employers should innovate. These areas involve making office space fungible, stratifying the legal talent pool, and redesigning work.

    Todd C. Scott, Minnesota Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company, presents “New Trends in Malpractice & Ethics Complaints and 10 Tips to Avoid Top Attorney Errors,” on Thursday morning from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

    The ABA Standing Committee on Lawyers Professional Liability recently published new data showing which lawyers are reporting the most malpractice claims and the type of errors that lawyers are most likely to commit. Scott examines the latest trends in malpractice and ethics matters, and provides top advice on the habits and systems good firms use to keep client matters on track and avoid malpractice claims.

    On Thursday from 12:30 to 2 p.m., nationally known Stephanie Kimbro, Burton Law LLC, Raleigh, N.C., presents “Limited Scope Representation: What is Allowed Under the Supreme Court Rules.”

    In this rapidly changing economic and legal climate, lawyers are seeking new methods for delivering their services efficiently and effectively while attracting new types of clients. For many firms, limited-scope representation may be the solution. By providing representation for a clearly defined portion of the client's legal needs, such as preparing a legal document or making limited court appearances, lawyers may reach an entirely new client base as well as better serve their existing clients and give their firm a competitive advantage.

    Saturday Plenary Sessions

    New Richmond lawyer and former State Bar of Wisconsin President Gary Bakke presents “What I Did Right and What I Did Wrong in My Practice,” 7:30 to 8:20 a.m.

    Vice president for business development and general counsel for Avvo Inc., Joshua King, presents “Being Smart with Social Media: Ethics & Effectiveness When Engaging Online,” from 10:50 a.m. to 12:05 p.m.

    Social Media – blogging, Facebook, Twitter, etc. – offers attorneys many new avenues to reach clients, potential clients, and referral sources. But using these tools for business development requires a different approach than that used with traditional marketing. In this session, Avvo’s general counsel and head of business development will look at how social media can be used effectively to build a practice – and at how ineffective use can lead to a variety of potential ethical problems.

    Choose From Four Tracks

    In addition to the plenary sessions, attendees can choose from 32 educational sessions in four different tracks: practice management, quality of life/ethics, substantive, and technology.

    • The Practice Management Track focuses on social media traps; human resources; virtual practice; pricing your legal services; expanding your practice and adding a partner; professional networking and business development; time management; and health care reform.
    • The Quality of Life/Ethics Track includes sessions on planning for death and disability; ethical issues for the estate planning practitioner; what to do when the Office of Lawyer Regulation calls; life versus the billable hour; dealing with pro se litigants; ethical considerations of law office operations; and what you can learn from Hollywood about ethics.
    • The Substantive Track focuses on the IRS including audits, appeals, and collections; estate planning; governance and transfer terms in LLC operating agreements; tax consequences of deeds in lieu, foreclosure, and cancelled credit card debt; issues facing family farms including succession planning, divorce, and lawsuits; common negotiation mistakes; and an update on Wisconsin landlord-tenant law.
    • The Technology Track includes sessions on the future of office technology; using technology to systematize your practice; tips, tricks, sites, and ways to save; creating forms in Word and Adobe, low-budget/no budget technology survival guide; introduction to Windows 8; hosted services; and going mobile and paperless.

    PINNACLE will record selected presentations and offer them via webcast at a later date at no additional cost to attendees.

    The eighth annual WSSFC is hosted by the State Bar of Wisconsin in partnership with founding sponsor, the Milwaukee Bar Association.

    Tuition (Early-bird Pricing Expires Sept. 26) and CLE/EPR Credits

    Tuition for the three-day conference is $269 for members and $369 for nonmembers, which includes the networking luncheon on Friday. Ultimate Pass Silver holders can register for half the current tuition ($134.50), which includes the Friday luncheon. On Sept. 27 prices increase by $50. Tuition is included in the cost of the Ultimate Pass Gold; the networking luncheon costs $20. Register.

    The conference will be submitted for up to 14.5 CLE and 11.0 EPR credits.

    Special Kalahari Resort room rates, available from Oct. 22 to 28, expire on Sept. 23.