May 10, 2013 – In the May issue of Wisconsin Lawyer magazine, available online and in mailboxes soon, three seasoned solo attorneys explain the challenges of starting a law practice, with insider tips to avoid the most common mistakes lawyers make.
“Starting your own law firm is one of the most exciting and frightening things you can do in your legal career,” write Milwaukee lawyers Daniel Davis, Mark Goldstein, and Coral Pleas. “No matter how much you prepare, mistakes will be made.”
From financial planning to marketing, from technology to client-selection, these lawyers use the benefit of hindsight and experience to help guide others down this road in “Swimming Upstream: 20 Mistakes to Avoid When Staring Your Practice.”
Different forms of mediation exist, and in “Taking a Different View: Explore Mutual Interests with Facilitative Mediation,” two lawyers explore the benefits of facilitative mediation, a sort of mediation “hybrid” that lawyers can employ to resolve disputes.
When clients seek help resolving disputes, put another option on the table. Facilitative mediation can leave them more satisfied than litigation, and at a lower cost.
“The facilitative mediator helps the parties explore desired compensation or restitution but also expands the scope of interests to include things such as reputation, employee morale, risk preference, contingent payments, the desire to continue the relationship ...” write Michael Moore and Barbara Block Paterick.
Also on Ethics, Marie A. Stanton writes, “Three ethical issues commonly pointed to mediators are maintaining neutrality, keeping confidences, and ensuring that the process produces a settlement that is knowing, informed, and voluntary,” in “Ethical Issues In Mediation.” According to Stanton, it’s the mediator’s role to maintain an even playing field that allows productive learning and the progress required to reach a settlement.
Employers that use noncompetition agreements should not rely on a recent appellate decision that gave the employer-litigant wide berth to restrict an employee’s postemployment activities. J. Nels Bjorkquist writes, “The opinion’s nonprededential status and its conflict with published Wisconsin cases make it a shaky and likely short0live leg on which to stand,” in “Noncompete Agreements: A Suspect Expansion of Employers’ Rights.” Don’t miss the webXtra on restrictive covenant provisions, available online only.
What Else Is Inside the May Issue?
In the 101 column, 101: Kurt Carlson and Jim McNeilly explain the legal process for collecting a debt in “How to Collect a Debt.” Successful debt collection requires knowledge of the relevant rules and regulations. It also requires gathering and assessing all relevant information about the debt, a process that presents opportunities for collecting the amount owed without having to resort to litigation. Collecting a debt can be one of the easiest activities an attorney undertakes or one of the most complicated. Don’t miss the webXtra with McNeilly and Carlson, available online only.
Ken Streit and Jon Chisholm propose options for greater flexibility when sentencing 17- to-24-year-old offenders in appropriate cases in the As I See It column “Expand Sentencing Options for Young Adults.” Because Wisconsin’s truth-in-sentencing system can lead to unnecessarily harsh and expensive dispositions for certain young-adult offenders, the state Legislature should create another option for use in appropriate cases. Streit and Chisholm suggest a non-truth-in-sentencing option should be developed.
Dean Dietrich’s Ethics column, “Protect Client Confidentiality When Seeking Advice.” Dietrich, former State Bar Professional Ethic Committee chair, says not to breach client confidences when discussing specific legal matters on electronic lists and in other settings. Dietrich writes, “There is a fine line between giving general legal advice or practice tips to another lawyer and giving advice to another lawyer on how to handle a particular representation. Lawyers must limit their discussions to general information about client representation.”
In the Your Practice – On Balance column, Paula Davis-Laack says the lack of progress for women lawyers in leadership roles can have a negative impact on your business’s bottom line in “5 Ways to Retain and Promote Women Lawyers.” Although nearly as many women as men graduate from U.S. law schools, men still heavily dominate the profession’s top tiers. Laack makes five recommendations to rectify this imbalance.
Judge Rick Sankovitz pens this month’s Final Thoughts column. Sankovitz writes, in Great Mentors, “Attorneys who cherish the profession and owe their place in it to a mentor owe it to our newest members to pass it along. And, we who have been mentored well are also obligated to put into practice what we learned.”