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  • WisBar News
    February 12, 2018

    Sneak Peek: What's Hot/What's Not – Trends in Law, Economics of Practice

    The print February Wisconsin Lawyer is hitting mailboxes now. But why wait? Find out how you and your practice stack up to other Wisconsin practices. Learn if you’re positioned to capitalize on state and national trends in the legal profession.

    February 2018 Wisconsin Lawyer magazineFeb. 12, 2018 – Are you positioned to turn pressures on the legal profession into opportunities for growth? Learn which practice areas are trending hot, hotter, and red hot, and which are cooling down on the state, national, and global fronts. What does the Economics of Practice Survey reveal about Wisconsin law firms? How do you compare? The February Wisconsin Lawyer contains a wealth of content to evaluate your practice.

    Trending on the Legal Front

    For more than 40 years, Robert Denney and his colleagues have kept a close watch on the legal profession and where it is headed. That’s a lot of data that he distills annually for your use.

    What’s Hot, What’s Not: National & Global Trends 2018” presents the big picture – a montage of a legal profession that will continue to change for years to come. For 2018, Denney believes red hot practice areas are health care, immigration, and cybersecurity. Other hot practice areas include financial services, food and beverage, bitcoin, elder law, sports, and real estate and construction. The article covers trends in business development, issues affecting law firm management, and challenges such as competition from alternative legal services providers.

    What’s Hot, What’s Not: Wisconsin Practice Trends 2018” borrows a page from Denney’s global look at trends in the legal profession. Activities on the national political scene can have significant effects on Americans’ day-to-day lives and on lawyers’ practices. Health care, taxation, immigration, and elder law all continue to grow. And new practice areas – bitcoin and e-gaming – have not only emerged but have become hot. Wisconsin and regional attorneys and practice management experts weigh in on practice and marketing trends in the Dairy State.

    You not only need to understand what’s happening in the legal market locally and nationally, you need to know how these trends may be affecting your firm’s bottom line. “Prioritize Efficiency, Maximize Time: The Economics of Law Practice” reports on the State Bar’s 2017 Economics of Law Practice Survey and provides insights into how Wisconsin law firms are faring.  The survey collected data on business practices in various types of practice settings, revealing changes law offices have made to address client demands and the pressure of new types of legal services providers. Read about time-use patterns, billing methods, net incomes, overhead expenses, marketing practices, and more.

    Data reported in both the “What’s Hot, What’s Not” features and in the “Economics of Practice” article can help guide you in making independent decisions about the business side of your law practice.

    As I See It: Two Perspectives on Judicial Recusal

    In “Fear of Favor: Judicial Elections and Campaign Finance Law,” authors Brendan Fischer and Nick Harken suggest that, to preserve due process guarantees, the Wisconsin Supreme Court should revisit its recusal rules in light of changes to the state’s judicial campaign finance law. A companion article by Rick Esenberg, “Protecting Free Speech and Independence: Voluntary Recusal,” suggests the legislative changes to the judicial campaign finance law do not necessitate a mandatory recusal rule.

    Other Columns

    • Ethics: In “Proposal Modernizes Lawyer Advertising Rules,” Aviva Meridian Kaiser discusses proposed changes to the ABA Model Rules on lawyer advertising, which are meant to improve how lawyers communicate to legal service consumers.

    • Reflections: In “Margo Melli: A Trailblazer for Women,” the Hon. Joan F. Kessler writes Margo showed women law students, in real life, the possibilities that were opening to women. Margo passed on Jan. 6, 2018. She was 92.

    • Ethics: In “Link to Business Websites? Yes, With Caution,” Dean Dietrich says lawyers can link to businesses on their websites but, to protect lawyer-client relationships, should make clear who owns those businesses.

    • Managing Risk: So you can determine where to improve your practice, in “Reduce Your Malpractice Risk in 2018,” Tom Watson reviews 2017 malpractice claims.

    • On Balance: In “5 Things Resilient Lawyers Do Differently,” Paula Davis Laack says it’s possible to increase your capacity to withstand change-related stresses and preserve or increase your well-being. Here’s how.

    • Final Thought: In “The Disappearing Asian J.D. Student,” Amesia Ngialah Xiong says law is becoming a more diverse profession but Asian American lawyers face remaining barriers in law firms.

    Check out the February Wisconsin Lawyer.

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