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  • WisBar News
    December 13, 2016

    Sneak Peek: Cool Holiday Gifts, Top Court Decisions, a New Law Firm Business Model

    The December Wisconsin Lawyer™ is packed with analysis of recent top court decisions and tips to make the most of business development opportunities, including marketing to millennials and reinventing law firm business models. And, if you’ve put off your holiday shopping, we’ve got some great gift ideas.

    Dec. 13, 2016 – The print December Wisconsin Lawyer is now hitting mailboxes. But why wait? Check out the issue online for cool holiday gift ideas, analysis of recent top court decisions, tips to make the most of business development opportunities, including marketing to millennials and reinventing law firm business models, and so much more.

    Cool Holiday Gift Ideas

    Whether you’re in need of gift ideas for yourself or others, we’ve got you covered in “41 Cool Ideas for Your Holiday Wish List.” Have you procrastinated until the 11th hour and now need gift ideas? Here you go. Tison Rhine, advisor to the State Bar of Wisconsin Law Office Management Assistance Program, has done the leg work for you. The cool stuff he lists here is some of the very best tech and non-tech toys available today.

    Annual Review: Top Court Decisions

    The Wisconsin Supreme Court issued more than 40 substantive decisions, in 21 civil and 19 criminal cases, during the 2015-16 term. Although all those decisions are important to Wisconsin law, Lisa Lawless, in “Top 9 Recent Wisconsin Supreme Court Decisions,” analyzes the holdings in what she believes are the most notable decisions from last term. Topics covered in the civil area include the method of service required under the notice-of-claim statute, application of the modified rate of statutory interest, grandparent visitation, residency requirements for municipal public employees, and more.

    The notable criminal cases covered the status of an apartment underground parking garage under the Fourth Amendment, the community caretaker function exception to the warrant requirement, review of a postconviction challenge to the defendant’s competency to stand trial, and the use of the COMPAS risk assessment tool in sentencing.

    Federal court interpretations of Wisconsin law are of persuasive value to, but not binding on, Wisconsin courts. Yet, they affect how Wisconsin law is argued and develops. Michael Brennan, in “Top 9 Recent Wisconsin Federal Court Decisions,” looks at significant Wisconsin federal court decisions interpreting Wisconsin law in 2015 and 2016. The decisions touch on a variety of subjects, including a negligence claim involving medication guidelines, fraudulent inducement of a contract, enforceability of an agreement, and promissory estoppel, among others.

    Business Development: A New Model

    To drive long-term business growth in a changing legal marketplace, law firms need to re-envision their business model – from the services they offer to the clients they serve. William Josten and Ian Turvill, in “Reinventing the Law Firm Business Model,” look at the four key dimensions of designing a practice tailored to fit today’s marketplace: client selection, pricing and profit model, scope of activities, and winning and keeping the business. They provide examples of firms successfully incorporating the key dimensions into their business models, and ask questions you should consider when examining your firm’s business model with an eye to future profitability.

    Then, in the Marketing column, “Build Your Law Practice: Market to Millennials,” Larry Bodine asks, could there be a better target market for law firms than a generation of 75 million tech-savvy 30-somethings who are buying cars, starting families, and launching companies? Numbering about a quarter of the U.S. population, millennials will have a spending power projected to reach $1.4 trillion in just four years. Here are the tips you need to tap into this powerhouse market.

    Other Columns: How Change Impacts Lawyers, Family Law Practice – Beware the Danger Signs, Proud to Be a Lawyer

    On Balance: In “Innovation and the Law: How Change Impacts Lawyers,” Paula Davis-Laack offers tips for identifying change, lessening its negative effects, and trying new approaches.

    Managing Risk: In “Family Law Practice – Beware the Danger Signs,” Tom Watson says family law has become a more hazardous practice area, at least as measured by one insurer’s record-keeping. Here’s the information you need to increase the likelihood of having satisfied clients who understand their cases and willingly pay your fees.

    Final Thought: Michael Zaleski, a recently retired civil litigator, is “Proud to Be a Lawyer.” He says don’t believe everything you read about lawyers and the legal system: they play a vital role in protecting rights and maintaining order and civility.

    Your State Bar: In “Demolition by Neglect?,” George Brown, State Bar executive director, asks if the powers that be are simply unaware of the harm they are causing to our court system and consequences that are likely to occur because of underfunding, or is this demolition by neglect?

    Check out the December Wisconsin Lawyer.

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