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    The Economics of Practicing Law: Nerino Petro

    The State Bar's Economics of Law Practice Survey gives you the comparative data you need to size up your business practices in key areas: time usage, billing methods, overhead, collections, and more.

    Dianne Molvig

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    Wisconsin LawyerWisconsin Lawyer
    Vol. 79, No. 2, February 2006

    Introducing Nerino Petro, LOMAP Advisor

    In January, Nerino Petro came on board as the new full-time advisor to the State Bar's Law Office Management Assistance Program (LOMAP). The Bar launched LOMAP last summer to provide information and support to practicing attorneys in diverse areas of law office management.

    "My primary goal," Petro says, "is to help Wisconsin Bar members run their offices more effectively and efficiently ... and improve the quality of life for attorneys and their staffs."

    Nerino Petro

    Nerino Petro, inspecting the State Bar technology training facility, says "Ultimately, the Law Office Management Assistance Program expects to provide legal software training and face-to-face evaluation services to members."

    That entails answering lawyers' questions about how to incorporate technology, set up trust and business accounts, handle staffing issues, find online resources, and more. He's reaching out to lawyers through seminars, a telephone help line, local bar association meetings, and online forums. "We're also improving the vendors area on the WisBar home page," Petro says, to provide more information about consultants and technology products.

    Petro grew up in Rockford, Ill., where his family has operated local businesses, including a hardware store and other enterprises, for more than 60 years. He's the first in the family to become an attorney.

    He earned his law degree in 1988 from the Northern Illinois University College of Law. After a stint in the army, he began practicing in a small Rockford firm in 1989. Two years later, he opened a solo practice in Rockford. He's also been a technology consultant to other attorneys for the past 10 years.

    His experience feeds directly into his new job at the State Bar. "Because I was a practicing lawyer," Petro says, "when I sit down across the table from someone, I'm not talking from theoretical experience about how things work. I'm talking from 'I've done this before.'"

    LOMAP helps lawyers improve their efficiency in delivering legal services and in implementing systems and controls to reduce risk and improve client relations. It offers resources to help lawyers manage the business aspects of their practices, including the use of technology; business and financial planning; and personnel, facilities, and operations management. "While the program is geared to assist all State Bar members," Petro says, "it is of particular interest to solo and small-firm practitioners who may not have the time or resources to acquire practice management information or best practices."

    Visit the Law Practice Management area on WisBar regularly for links to new materials in LOMAP's growing list of resources. You can reach Petro at (608) 250-6012, (800) 444-9404, ext. 6012, or org npetro wisbar wisbar npetro org.