Nov. 14, 2016 – Could artificial intelligence help make legal research easier and less frustrating? How could you create a legal help desk when the people who need it are scattered statewide? How would you set up a law practice that appeals to talented lawyers who wish to work outside the typical law firm model?
Legal innovators in Wisconsin are answering these questions. The November Wisconsin LawyerTM, available online and in mailboxes soon, is packed with inspiring examples of innovation from lawyers around the state, but that’s not all.
This issue also has practical information on laws that protect trade secrets, tips to craft motions and briefs for reading on electronic devices, how to use LinkedIn as a marketing tool, legal malpractice trends, and so much more.
Who are Wisconsin’s Innovators?
Meet five lawyers who put new ideas to work to solve problems and improve the delivery of legal services to their clients and communities, in “2016 Wisconsin Legal Innovators.” This year’s State Bar innovations initiative spotlights the creative folks behind: an online helpdesk to help pro se parties navigate the appeals process; an interactive web app to help people with discrimination claims file a timely complaint; a cloud-based firm that engages lawyers on a project basis; and more.
Innovation is occurring in law offices statewide, but sometimes it goes unrecognized. This initiative, now in its third year, aims to inspire change by showcasing new ideas and practices that solve problems, improve the delivery of legal services to clients, or help create efficiencies and streamlined processes. This year’s innovators are Colleen Ball, William Caraher, Sam Owens, Rebecca Scheller, Sam Strauss, and Mary Turke.
Think You Know What Legal Malpractice Is?
Think again. Jeffrey Aiken says lawyers who fail to recognize legal malpractice might, even with the best of intentions, end up committing it in “Legal Malpractice: What Is it, Really?” Learn how to identify and adhere to the applicable standard of care for your legal work.
In a sidebar on defining legal competence, State Bar Assistant Ethics Counsel Aviva Kaiser looks at some Wisconsin Supreme Court and Office of Lawyer Regulation decisions that clarify the differences between the definition and determination of “competent representation” in malpractice actions and in disciplinary actions.
Shhhhh. I’ve Got a Secret; You, Too?
Anyone contemplating misappropriating or stealing intellectual property had better listen up! Maria Kreiter, Brian Spahn, and Maggie Cook, in “Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016: Protecting Trade Secrets,” explain how this new federal law significantly increases the potential costs and penalties of stealing trade secrets.
The authors describe the law’s key provisions and identify relevant case law developments since its enactment in May 2016. And they suggest ways lawyers can use the new law to protect their clients who own or use trade secrets.
Know How to Format for E-filing?
It’s not just the facts, Ma’am. In the real world, the look of motions and briefs, especially ones that are e-filed, can affect a judge’s reaction to a case. In “E-filing: How to Craft Effective Motions and Briefs in the Digital Era,” Chad Baruch and Laura Lavey explain how reading on a computer screen differs from paper reading and why you should format differently for e-filing. They provide practical, easy-to-implement ways to do it.
Are You Getting the Most from LinkedIn?
LinkedIn, like other social networks, can bring together people around the globe, but Larry Bodine, in “Using LinkedIn as a Marketing Tool,” says it’s most useful to lawyers when used to connect with other professionals who work nearby and might be sources of new business. Read how to get the most out of your marketing efforts using your local LinkedIn contacts.
Other Columns: Municipal Home Rule Powers, Succession Planning, Relishing New Ideas
As I See It: In “Rejected: Municipal Home Rule Powers in Milwaukee Cases,” Michael May looks at two supreme court rulings that rejected Milwaukee’s exercise of its authority under the constitutional home rule amendment for municipalities.
Solutions: In “Succession Planning: Rewarding the Senior Lawyer,” Roy Ginsburg says succession planning works best when retiring senior lawyers receive the proper monetary incentives to transition their clients to other lawyers in the firm.
Final Thought: Jeff Mandell, in “Relish New Ideas,” says current political and judicial developments illustrate that lawyers need an innovative mindset for the business and substance of law.
Ethics: Dean Dietrich warns “Watch Your Words While Litigating.” Poor behavior in the courtroom might subject a lawyer to discipline by the presiding judge.
Managing Risk: In “Malpractice Trends: Claims Decline with Proper Technology Use,” Tom Watson says technology may help lawyers reduce administrative errors, but if your record keeping is sloppy, a malpractice claim might be near.
Check out the full November Wisconsin Lawyer.