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  • WisBar News
    February 08, 2017

    Sneak Peek: What are Hot, Hotter, and Red Hot Practice Trends?

    Are you positioned to turn pressures on the legal profession into opportunities for growth? The February Wisconsin Lawyer looks at national and global practice trends as well as trends in the Badger state.
    February 2017 Wisconsin Lawyer magazine

    Feb. 8, 2017 – The print February Wisconsin Lawyer is now hitting mailboxes. But why wait? Check out the annual What’s Hot, What’s Not issue online for practice trends affecting law firms of all sizes in Wisconsin and the nation; professional conduct rules that may affect a lawyer’s participation in virtual marketplaces; practice areas that produce the most malpractice claims, and more.

    Getting the Low Down: Trends Affecting the Practice of Law

    Are you positioned to turn pressures on the legal profession into opportunities for growth? In “What’s Hot, What’s Not: National and Global Practice Trends 2017,” law firm consultant Bob Denney reports which practice areas are trending hot, hotter, and red hot, and which are cooling down on the national and global fronts. Cybersecurity and health care are red hot. Hot practice areas include intellectual property, immigration, elder law, regulatory, energy and environmental, technology, financial services, and real estate and construction. Denney expects the Trump administration will have a greater impact on the legal profession than any of the last three changes of administration.

    What are your colleagues experiencing? In “What’s Hot, What’s Not: Wisconsin Practice Trends 2017,” Wisconsin and regional attorneys and practice management experts weigh in on practice and marketing trends identified in Denney’s national report. They predict lawyers will see drastic policy changes in immigration, energy, environmental protection, government regulations, health care, and more.

    Use the information in both articles to gauge your own firm’s position and plan for the future.

    Correlating Ethics and Virtual Legal Marketplaces

    Contracting for legal work through a virtual marketplace, such as Avvo or LegalZoom, doesn’t require merely making sure your office is fully equipped and your insurance is up to date. In “The ‘Uberization’ of Legal Services: Consistent with Ethics Rules?,” State Bar ethics counsel Aviva Kaiser discusses difficult issues that persist concerning a lawyer’s ability to comply with the Rules of Professional Conduct. Within the framework of three recent ethics opinions from other jurisdictions, Kaiser analyzes some of the most relevant ethics rules: ones concerning fee splitting, advertising, lawyer recommendations and referrals, limited-scope representation, and advanced or unearned fees.

    Other Columns: Benefits to E-filing, Top 2016 Malpractice Claims, Traits That Slow Your Career Success

    Managing Risk: Looking back to what went wrong for some Wisconsin lawyers in 2016 might help others avoid making those same or similar errors. In “Top 2016 Malpractice Claims: Resolve to Reduce Risk,” Tom Watson identifies WILMIC’s top five practice areas generating the most claims: bankruptcy and collections; estate, probate, and trust; real estate; family law; and personal injury.

    Solutions: In “9 Benefits to E-filing: The Dog Can’t Eat Your Homework,” Jennifer Collins says you have to e-file anyway, but there are plenty of reasons to embrace doing so. Reason #5: The dog can’t eat the court’s e-filed homework; an electronic copy is always just a few clicks away.

    Ethics: In “Client Files: Good Business Practices = Good Ethics,” Dean Dietrich says although the Rules of Professional Responsibility do not explicitly require providing current clients with their files free of charge, doing so might be part of lawyers’ core ethical duty to communicate with clients.

    Ethics Opinion:EF-16-03: Surrender the Client File upon Termination of Representation” discusses the ethical obligation of the lawyer to surrender the file to the former client or successor counsel upon termination of the representation.

    On Balance: Some qualities that lawyers credit with their achievement in school and on the job might actually be hindering their ability to move higher in the law. Read Paula Davis-Laack’s column, “10 Traits That Slow Your Career Success,” to learn what they are.

    Final Thought: In “Growing Up Is Overrated,” retired judge Tim Vocke urges lawyers to do fun stuff now; don’t wait until “retirement” (whatever that is).

    President’s Message: In “Wisconsin’s Dispiriting Incarceration Rates,” Fran Deisinger bemoans our state’s high incarceration rates for racial and ethnic minorities and discusses a new initiative to find ways to address this equal justice issue.

    Your State Bar: In “Suspended Animation,” George Brown asks: what happens if your law license is administratively suspended? The answer: A lot, none of it good.

    Check out the February Wisconsin Lawyer.

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