“Law” is a system of rules designed to regulate behavior in both public and private society. Social and/or governmental institutions create and enforce these rules. Humans have been making laws for thousands of years. Early examples include ancient Egyptian law, Babylonian law, ancient Chinese law, and Old Testament law. There are many categories of law, including criminal law, civil law, and so on. Why does law matter at all? Here are ten reasons why:

#1 Laws set the standard for acceptable (and unacceptable) behaviors

At its most basic, the law is about mitigating conflict. When creating laws, societies reckon with what drives conflict. Some things – like murder and theft- are obvious and have been included in laws stretching back to ancient times. However, as time goes on and societies change, what’s considered acceptable changes, too. Legal systems adapt so they can provide clarity and context for unacceptable actions. They also offer guidelines for appropriate consequences.

#2 Laws provide access to justice

If it’s against the law to punch someone in the face, someone who gets punched can do something about it other than simply swinging back. In a perfect world, justice is equal. It doesn’t matter who got punched or who did the punching. What matters is that the law against punching was broken. Everyone in a society – and not just a privileged few – must have equal access to justice through the law.

#3 Laws keep everyone safe

Laws don’t only respond to injustices and harm. They work to prevent them. Food safety laws are a prime example. In the past, the food industry was horrendously unregulated. In the 18th and 19th centuries, American food producers went to extreme measures in their quest for profit. They watered down milk and stirred in materials like chalk for color. They mixed dirt into coffee, tea, and spices and added lead to beer and wine. In 1906, President Roosevelt and Congress passed the Pure Food and Drug Act, as well as the Meat Inspection Act. This marked the beginning of modern food safety and monitoring. Today, food safety laws protect the public from potentially-fatal food poisoning.

#4 Laws protect the most vulnerable in society

Many laws are specifically designed to protect certain groups of people. Laws like the Civil Rights Act (the United States) and the Sex Discrimination Act (Australia) make it illegal to discriminate. These types of laws protect what’s known as “negative rights,” which is the right to be free from something, like discrimination. Anyone can be discriminated against, but as history shows, certain people are more at risk. Laws designed to prevent discrimination based on race, sex, gender, religion, and more protect these groups and give them better access to justice.

#5 The process of creating laws encourages civil and political engagement

As societies change, laws must change, too. Advancements in technology are a prime example of why. In recent times, revenge porn has become a major issue. According to one study, around 10 million Americans have had explicit photos shared without consent. While there are state laws, there is no federal law. In Australia, an electronic petition called upon the A.C.T. Legislative Assembly to criminalize revenge porn. The Assembly listened. This is a great example of people engaging with the law-making process and making law matter as issues evolve.

#6 Laws offers people a variety of career options

As a career, law is varied and versatile. Because there are so many different areas of law, there are hundreds of job options. Lawyers can specialize in everything from contracts to immigration to criminal law. A person can also become a professor of law, while there are also jobs for paralegals, consultants, and researchers. The legal system is big, so there is room for all kinds of skills and expertise.

#7 Laws are important to maintain peace

Earlier in this article, we touched on how law is essentially about mitigating conflict. That makes law essential to maintaining peace. This is because injustice fuels conflict. If destructive behaviors are allowed to flourish without remedy, people will suffer and become dissatisfied with their government. If justice is applied unequally, this also fans the flames of conflict. For the sake of peace, societies need to strengthen their rule of law and ensure that it’s fair.

#8 Laws are important for social progress

We’ve discussed how legal systems should adapt and evolve with the times. If laws remained stagnant, so would societies. Throughout history, law has been employed as a tool for social change. It was laws that made slavery, segregation, and apartheid illegal. Laws prevent people from getting fired from their jobs because of who they marry or because of a disability. The concept of law as a mechanism for social change is complicated because if the majority of a community doesn’t agree with the law, it’s likely that the law won’t be enforced. However, having a law on the books gives people more power than if the law didn’t exist at all. It’s an important step (though not necessarily the final step) to real social change.

#9 Laws make human rights a reality

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor once said, “I firmly believe in the rule of law as the foundation for all our basic rights.” Basic rights are the human rights that everyone is entitled to. This includes the right to life, the right to marry, the right to be free from discrimination, and more. These are listed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but that document is not legally binding. To make human rights a reality, they have to be protected through laws. Without law, human rights would be an abstract concept. If you would like to learn more about human rights, consider studying a masters.

#10 Laws are not always good for society

The fact that law can be used to harm is the last reason why it’s so important. Laws are not always beneficial to society or they’re only beneficial to a select group. Governments often use laws to increase their power and punish critics. Laws can also be problematic when they fail to address the root causes of a problem and even end up making it worse. Fines, which are meant to encourage people to follow laws, can add up to the point of putting people in debt and criminalizing poverty. The war on drugs is another key example of how laws can hurt people. Instead of treating drug addiction as a public health issue, laws have turned it into a criminal one. In these cases, laws end up violating human rights instead of protecting them.Share

getting along with colleagues

Getting along with colleagues can sometimes be easier said than done. While everyone’s job is focused on the practice of law, personal differences sometimes outnumber similarities, and disparities in temperament, work ethic, efficiency, and general work habits can cause friction among colleagues and undermine the success of the law firm.

Although you can’t – and shouldn’t try to – be everyone’s friend, with some effort, it is possible to have a positive work relationship with all members of your legal team. Here are some ways to help facilitate a collaborative law firm work environment:

Make a good first impression

If you are starting a new job, focus on getting off to a good start with coworkers. Everyone has had a “first day,” and it will take time to get to know your coworkers, but a good first impression is the best way to start your relationship. Be friendly and show that you are willing to learn.

Research from Psychology Today discusses “Predictive Outcome Value Theory,” the idea that:

“During an initial conversation, we form a positive or negative judgment about forming a future relationship with a person. The theory argues, and research supports, that if we form positive judgments, then we will communicate more with this person and seek more information. Conversely, if we form a negative judgment, we will restrict our communication.”

This first impression can plant the seed that will hopefully blossom into a collaborative work environment.

Adopt a team mentality

Working at a law firm involves being part of a team. Every role is essential, from the senior partner to the support staff. Make an effort to get along with all employees, and avoid treating one member differently than another according to rank or supposed level of importance.

Be a good listener

Ever wonder how balanced your conversations are? Do others enjoy talking with you or do they feel overshadowed? Try to spend one-third of conversations speaking and two-thirds listening. Remember that listening is an active practice that involves focusing intently on what is being said. Train yourself to pay attention to what your colleague is saying without getting distracted.

Being a good listener at work can give you a boost in productivity, fewer misunderstandings, better progress toward goals, and stronger relationships with your coworkers.

Avoid office politics

Office gossip, taking sides in a dispute and complaining about others happen to some extent in any place where people are working closely together for long periods of time. But you can avoid getting tangled in office politics, and keep from being the person who instigates. Try changing the subject or focusing on the positive if gossip comes up. Avoid sharing personal or job-related issues with colleagues who may not keep the information to themselves. If all else fails, claim a deadline and just walk away.

Welcome diversity

Not everyone looks or thinks the way you do—and that’s a good thing. Today’s law firms employ people who are diverse in background, race, religion, ethnicity, gender, and age. These aspects should always be celebrated and respected, and every employee treated with dignity, consideration, and respect.

According to Entrepreneur, diversity benefits the workplace by driving innovation, increasing creativity, and improving access to the market. When firms can access a variety of ideas and experiences, they are better equipped to understand and anticipate their clients.

Have a can-do attitude

According to Canadian Lawyer Magazine, “Attitude is everything. Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.”

During stressful times at a law firm, you can help reduce friction among coworkers, by demonstrating a willingness to work with everyone and anyone to get the job done. Offer your assistance whenever you can, and show that no task is beneath you.

Aim for harmony at work

Discord at work is, unfortunately, all too prevalent. Discourage negative workplace interactions and do your part to build a harmonious relationship with your coworkers. Show that you are a team player, that you are not interested in generating strife or contributing to bad feelings. Keep in mind that little things, such as a genuine thank you, can go a long way to creating comfort, rapport, and trust in the workplace.

Customer service accuracy and dependability can make or break your reputation. Fortunately, there are many ways you can earn and maintain a reputation for accurate, dependable service.

Below are five customer service best practices to help you get started.

4 Top Ways to Maintain Consistency in Customer Service

1. Keep Information Flowing Both Ways

Communication is key for your team to represent your company competently.

Schedule regular meetings with your representatives to keep them up to date on changes or use software that allows you to share developments in real-time. For example, tools like Slack help teams share information inaccessible, convenient ways.

By making sure that everyone – and I do mean everyone – is in sync, you ensure that your team can answer incoming questions quickly and accurately. And if they don’t know the answer immediately, they won’t be afraid to find someone who can.

Keeping communication lines open can also reduce “ping-ponging” – what happens when a service ticket, or other customer request or issue, is passed back and forth and no one takes real responsibility for fixing the problem. Since ping-ponging results in frustrated customers who don’t receive the assistance they need, it’s important to equip your team with adequate communication tools to resolve the situation.

Finally, it’s important to constantly collect feedback from your team. Have they noticed inquiries cropping up about the same problems, or identified a gap in communications? Listening to and incorporating their feedback will not only help identify customer pain points but can also yield solutions to those problems.

These communications solutions ultimately provide the insight and tools you need to provide a better service to your target audience.


2. Manage Customer Expectations Preemptively

Everyone’s had those customers. The ones who just don’t understand that no, your IT services don’t include washing their dishes, too.

Sometimes, customers ignore what your product can and cannot do, and still give you a bad review for something you just don’t offer. While some are just contentious, many customers are upset because of an honest misunderstanding.

For example, having a sales rep who claims your product can go to the moon and back (when it can’t) is only setting up customers for disappointment. Disappointed customers mean negative reviews, higher attrition, fewer word-of-mouth referrals, and, ultimately, decreased revenue.

Clarifying communication around product and service capabilities can go a long way in preventing these situations.

Here are a few things you can do to ensure that customer perception is close to their expectations:

  • Make product and service specs readily available on your website
  • Review sales materials to ensure information accuracy
  • Train your team thoroughly in product specs
  • Identify common misconceptions and address them in your FAQs page
  • Offer resources and referrals to customers whose needs cannot be addressed by your products and services

These steps can make a huge difference in your customer’s evaluation of your ability to deliver as promised. The last one is especially effective at engendering goodwill and glowing word-of-mouth referrals.

When things do go wrong, make it easy for your customers to find help: prominently locate your FAQs, your hours of operation, and all types of contact information for customer support on your website.


3. Stay on Task with Checklists and Templates

Dependability and consistency go hand in hand. Checklists can help your employees perform each task consistently to produce the desired outcome.

Without a checklist, it’s easy to miss a crucial step that causes major issues later.

Checklists are commonly employed in professions where lives are on the line (we’d prefer our pilots remember to lower the wheels before landing, thanks), but they can be used to standardize any routine procedures.

Your team will remember what needs to be done while feeling accomplished as they check each item off the list.

At our agency Pronto Marketing, we built custom checklists for each of our services into our dashboard to ensure our team members complete the necessary tasks each time. This could of course be accomplished through different methods, such as a Google spreadsheet or productivity app like Trello.

Pronto Marketing’s digital checklist for setting up call tracker software.

Similarly, you can create templates for jobs that follow the same pattern. Filling in a form is much easier than doing something from scratch every time, and checking things off the list is much easier than trying to remember everything or resorting to a thick company manual each time you need information.


4. Check in Regularly with Customer Feedback

We can all improve the services we offer, so it’s important to listen to what our customers want and need. In addition to keeping in touch with your employees, it’s important to make sure you’re meeting customer needs as expected.

Having a satisfaction tracking system for successful ticket resolution, such as ones powered by helpdesks like Zendesk or Groove, helps you make sure that your team is providing the needed solutions. And when they do, celebrate their successes!

Celebrating customer praise in an internal company Facebook group.

People are motivated by praise and will learn from what they’ve done well better if you tell it to them. Use successful teams as a teaching example to help everyone in your company improve their performance.


5. Build a Supportive Company Culture

Lastly, a happy team with a sense of direction does the best work.

Make sure your team’s needs are being met, particularly ones who are struggling to meet standards. You may find that the receptionist you hired was never given a copy of the company handbook and has been winging it for the last two weeks, or that your previously buoyant sales rep has been sagging due to problems at home.

Build a culture that’s open enough for you to have conversations with employees about what’s hindering them. Give them a comfortable avenue to approach you or other leaders when there’s a problem. Look for ways to ‘cut the red tape’ so that they can focus extra time and energy on delighting customers.

In companies where your team members wear multiple hats, you can work marvels simply by re-emphasizing the primacy of customer service, then empowering them with the freedom to put it first.

Finally, if you push too hard for quantity over quality (“I want you to help x customers this hour!”), your team may sacrifice the quality of their customer interactions in order to meet your demands. People who aren’t rushing to meet a quantity quota will do a better job the first time around. Overall, you’ll have happier customers and you won’t spend precious time sending someone to fix the mess.

Ultimately, dependability and accuracy in your services result from the systems you have in place to empower your team and keep them focused on the customers. Building up a positive culture and resources for your team will take some time, but will have the longevity and constancy you need to be reliable. Contact us for more information.

4 Reasons To Choose a Small Personal Injury Law Firm

Choosing a lawyer for your personal injury or wrongful death case is a decision that is similar to picking a partner for marriage. It may be a long relationship and it is always one that commands the two parties, the attorney, and the client, to trust each other. If one party does not trust the other, the common goal of justice cannot be obtained. This is because justice without trust in the result is no justice at all.

I am writing this entry to encourage face-to-face interaction with those seeking legal representation and the actual lawyer who would be trusted with that case. My biggest competitors are out-of-town, big-city lawyers who, in my estimation, rarely actually meet with the injured/aggrieved parties in my area. So it is no surprise that I often get calls from nearby clients of these lawyers telling me that they are not happy with their lawyer because they don’t know what is going on with their case and they do not trust in what they are being told. I always encourage these folks to try to work it out with these lawyers and I do press them to seek a face-to-face meeting, as that nearly always satisfies client concern, at least for the short term.

Personal Injury Attorney in Springfield, Vermont - Brady / Donahue — Brady  / Donahue

I know a lot of my competitors, and I will say that most of them are very good lawyers and that their firms are usually reputable. But, to me, there is no substitute for the old-fashioned face-to-face meeting. And I do believe there is still something important in the ability to look someone in the eye.

“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.” – Albert Einstein

Before I talk about the benefits of personal interaction for personal injury clients, I want to stress the benefit of the lawyer to meet with the client. I nearly always demand to meet with my potential clients face-to-face before my attorney-client relationship begins. I’ve been doing this long enough to be able to identify most potential trust issues early on. For example, when I ask a potential client if they’ve ever had the medical condition that they are complaining of now and they either look down or away, fidget, leave moisture on my glass table, and they answer “no,” then I know to pause and inquire further. I advise them that it does not usually matter if they did have prior issues and that I value trust over preexisting injuries in my clients. If they persist in their denial, I have other methods of verifying the truth, but if I get a bad feeling about a potential client, I will turn down cases on that alone. If I can’t trust my client in the initial meeting, I realize that a jury may have a hard time trusting them at trial.

For injured victims of negligence in Ohio, choosing a personal injury lawyer is easy. If you are in a car accident, your mailbox will likely be flooded with mailings with catchy phrases, DVDs, and all kinds of letters from lawyers all over the state. You can be in Portsmouth, call a lawyer in Toledo, and have a lawyer at your doorstep in a matter of a few hours, or less. But choosing a personal injury lawyer you trust is something entirely different. In the instance of this traveling Toledo lawyer, you will likely never see this person again. He or she is probably just a runner, paid to sign you up as a client. Who is actually handling your case – – at all stages, is a whole other story. While you may still get quality representation, you won’t be able to lock in trust because you will likely feel a void in the relationship.

Legal Resume Objective | A Comprehensive Write-up For Freshers

When new clients don’t meet with the actual lawyer will end up handling their case, they are many times deprived of judging sincerity, which goes directly towards how that person can rely on the lawyer. Meeting with the actual lawyer on your case can also give you the opportunity to judge for yourself that lawyer’s commitment to your case, which goes hand-in-hand with whether you believe that person has integrity. Lastly, by meeting face-to-face with your lawyer, you can judge for yourself their competency and whether you feel they will be consistent in providing results.

If you don’t like the lawyer you meet with, move on to the next one. Because if you don’t like them, a potential juror might not, either, and it is important that you find someone you feel comfortable talking to. And to me, there is no substitute for sharing a cup of coffee with the folks I’ve asked to trust me.

What does DDLA do? | Darcy Doyle Loss Assessors

As an attorney whose practice is exclusively dedicated to family law, I have learned that maintaining a good working relationship with a client is critical to the ultimate success of the case – and an essential component of achieving the client’s goals during the representation. The importance of establishing and maintaining a good working relationship with your client, from commencement through to conclusion, cannot be overstated.

Establishing a good attorney-client relationship starts during the initial consultation. At the outset, the attorney should create an atmosphere of trust, identify the potential legal issues involved in the case, elicit facts and circumstances from the client that is relevant to the legal issues, and most importantly, assess the client’s credibility and make a determination as to whether the attorney and client can work well together to achieve the client’s goals. Trust is earned; it takes time to build trust and create a comfort level for the client, and that process starts at the commencement of the engagement.

Creating a Good Attorney-Client Relationship: Start with the Initial Consultation

The initial consultation provides an opportunity for both the attorney and prospective client to get to know one another and decide whether the relationship will be effective and productive. Attorneys have different styles and “bedside manners” in terms of how they interact with their clients and work with them on legal matters. Not every attorney is a good fit for every client, and not every attorney will share the same opinion or perspective on how best to handle the client’s matter. It is critically important – both during the initial consultation and throughout the case – to set and continue to manage the client’s expectations as to the outcome of contested issues.

During the initial consultation, clients often ask the attorney to render a legal opinion regarding specific issues in their matter. An attorney can provide a general framework of potential outcomes, but at the inception of a case, it is difficult (if not impossible) to render a legal opinion with certainty as to the ultimate outcome. Clients will rely on their attorney’s opinions and analysis, so be judicious when discussing possible outcomes. There is no benefit to anyone in the process if you simply tell the client what he/she wants to hear and fail to fully explain possible outcomes – and what it may take in terms of time and money to pursue the client’s goals. The attorney’s obligation is to assess the issues and to provide the client with the most accurate analysis possible, including an honest assessment of all the potential outcomes in their case –favorable and unfavorable. Tread lightly, but honesty really is the best policy.

Technology and Divorce

The technology boom has had a significant effect on how clients choose their attorneys. Prior to a prospective client even stepping foot in your door for a consultation, he/she has likely already conducted legal research online concerning his/her case, consulted with other attorneys and/or family and friends about the case, and learned about your professional background and experience practicing law. This can result in the client already has a specific opinion as to how you should handle the case. You need to manage the client’s expectations regarding how you intend to handle issues in their matter – and ensure that your client understands and agrees with your strategy.

Much of what can be found on the Internet by way of attorney websites, legal blogs, and open forum discussions are effective in providing a general overview and framework concerning a legal issue or body of law, but lack specificity in regard to the variables and different facts and circumstances that ultimately dictate the outcome of a client’s particular legal issues. Given that there is easy access to this kind of general information, today’s litigants self-educate more than ever – but the attorney still has the ultimate responsibility to make sure the client fully understands the issues in their case and the relevant statutory authority and case law that will impact the determination of these issues.

Consider providing clients with specific references to statutory authority and/or relevant case law concerning their matter so they have an opportunity to read and review some of the authority and information you may be relying upon in assessing their case. I encourage clients to be invested in their case: to educate themselves and to ask questions whenever they are uncertain about any aspect of their case. You should always keep an open line of communication with your client.

Developing and Maintaining a Good Attorney-Client Relationship

client relationships

After the client has retained you, the focus shifts to further developing and maintaining a good attorney-client relationship. Maintaining the relationship requires diligence on the attorney’s part, and also on the part of the attorney’s staff. Your staff serves as an extension of you, and your client expects the same professionalism, courtesy, and respect from your office as they do from you. When your staff falls short of meeting these expectations, this reflects poorly on you. Having a good support team is critical to effectively representing and keeping clients happy.

I am often interviewed by clients seeking to hire new counsel to represent them. The principal complaints I hear from clients relate to their frustration in not being able to communicate directly with their attorney, the lack of timely response(s) by the attorney, and difficulty in gaining access to the attorney. Clients expect that their attorney and his/her staff will respond promptly to inquiries or questions, including providing correspondence and/or pleadings received, and keeping them apprised of the status of their case. With the proliferation of email and text messaging, clients expect a rapid response to their inquiries.

Set ground rules with your clients regarding how you will respond to their queries; establish an easy and expedient method of communication between counsel and staff, and specify the manner in which your office will provide correspondence, pleadings, and other written materials received during the pendency of the case. Setting expectations as to how communication will be handled will greatly reduce the possibility of misunderstandings – and help prevent clients from looking for a new attorney.

You need to remember that clients often come to a family lawyer’s office at the worst of times. They are nervous, anxious, looking for guidance, and paying for effective legal counsel. To create an effective and productive attorney-client relationship, you need to foster an atmosphere of mutual trust and honesty, establish ground rules for communication, and manage the client’s expectations regarding the potential outcome of their case. Ultimately, your responsibility is to advocate on behalf of your clients, provide guidance and recommendations to them, and formulate a plan to achieve all realistic goals. Successful representation requires establishing and maintaining a good working relationship with your clients.

Advantages of Working in a Large Law Firm

The legal industry offers a wide range of job opportunities for attorneys across both private companies and government institutions. Many attorneys have a targeted plan for the sectors they seek to work in but others may be open to different varieties of work. Regardless, there are several characteristics and unique benefits that can come with getting a foot in the door at a big law firm.

Large law firms (also known as mega-firms or big law) are typically the most competitive when it comes to hiring. As such, these firms are also known to offer some of the greatest perks.

Read on for some of the top benefits and advantages gained from working in a large law firm.

High Salaries

Big law firms are known for paying the most. In 2018, the median annual salary for a lawyer was $120,910, according to the Department of Labor. In 2019, big law firms exceeded that level by approximately $35,000 for first-year associates. Big law firms often also have the resources to offer more comprehensive and substantial compensation packages including health care plans, wellness plans, reimbursements, and stock options.

Well-Credentialed Colleagues

Competitive hiring at large law firms means a collective workforce of highly accomplished, successful, and credentialed colleagues. Large law firms have shown they are willing to pay employees more and this filters to all levels of the firm often resulting in some of the most talented lawyers, paralegals, administrators, and operational professionals in the industry. Typically, large law firms will recruit from the best law schools in the world resulting in a full roster of lawyers and employees with prestigious credentials.

Sophisticated, Challenging Work

Large law firms are known for winning some of the most elite cases. This often results in high profile representation on sophisticated, complex matters. This can give lawyers at large law firms a wide range of superior experience. This also provides an intellectually challenging environment for law firm attorneys and paralegals. These firms attract high profile class action suits that require strong, large staffs to manage and try in court.  

Large, Diverse Client Bases

The clients of large law firms tend to be more plentiful and diverse than those of smaller firms. A large, diversified client base makes it less likely that the firm will encounter financial difficulty if a client takes its business elsewhere.

Diversity can also add to a broader range of experience and knowledge. Moreover, many of the mega-firms have multi-jurisdictional practices and multiple locations across the globe, allowing lawyers and paralegals to serve international clients as well.

Extensive Firm Resources

Large law firms are usually built out with a very robust infrastructure of resources from both a technological and collective networking perspective. Advantages may include mentoring, cross-referenced advice, comprehensive on-site copy and mailing centers, and in-depth research access.

Lawyers at big law firms also usually have the benefit of a comprehensive support staff for assistance including administrators, secretaries, proofreaders, project managers, paralegals, marketing specialists, documentation clerks, and more. 

Luxurious Offices in Prime Locations

Large law firms often invest in luxurious offices, usually located in many of the world’s legal and business hubs. Buildings are typically spacious, easily accessible, and built with many added amenities such as full-service cafeterias, in-house gyms, restaurants, and elaborate meeting rooms for clients and recruits.

Well-Developed Training Programs

Large law firms often invest in comprehensive training and mentoring programs for all of their employees and specifically the lawyer base. Examples of these training programs may include elaborate summer associate programs, new employee onboard training, in-house educational programs, support for continuing education, groups for various initiatives, and a variety of sessions for continued growth and learning opportunities.

Significant Advancement Opportunities

Many large law firms are based on clear organizational hierarchies with defined opportunities and milestones for advancement. This can lead to more opportunities for growth as well as clearly defined steps for promotion. Many lawyers enter a big law firm with a long-term career plan that includes a progression from several associate and partner levels, ultimately becoming a senior partner. 

Pro Bono Initiatives

Large law firms frequently establish pro bono and public service programs that encourage lawyers and paralegals to commit a certain number of hours to help the community and under-served populations, such as children and the elderly. This can be helpful because many bar associations require ongoing pro bono participation for membership.

Name Recognition

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Large law firms get a lot of attention in the legal industry and their company names are associated with a certain level of prestige. This is usually justifiable given the sophisticated caseloads, credentialed case teams, superior training, and publicized thought leadership.

Oftentimes, large law firms are highly regarded for their name brand as well as the many high-profile clients and complex cases they are involved with. Comprehensively, name recognition can look very good on a resume if lawyers decide to move on to other opportunities.

If your business is depreciating over a 30-year period the entire cost of constructing the building that houses your operation, you should consider a cost segregation study. It might allow you to accelerate depreciation deductions on certain items, thereby reducing taxes and boosting cash flow.

And under current law, the potential benefits of a cost segregation study are now even greater than they were a few years ago due to enhancements to certain depreciation-related tax breaks.

Fundamentals of Depreciation
Generally, business buildings have a 39-year depreciation period (27.5 years for residential rental properties). Usually, you depreciate a building’s structural components, including walls, windows, HVAC systems, elevators, plumbing, and wiring, along with the building. Personal property — such as equipment, machinery, furniture, and fixtures — is eligible for accelerated depreciation, usually over five or seven years. And land improvements, such as fences, outdoor lighting, and parking lots, are depreciable over 15 years.

Often, businesses allocate all or most of their buildings’ acquisition or construction costs to real property, overlooking opportunities to allocate costs to shorter-lived personal property or land improvements. In some cases — computers or furniture, for example — the distinction between real and personal property is obvious. But the line between the two is frequently less clear. Items that appear to be “part of a building” may in fact be personal property, like removable wall and floor coverings, removable partitions, awnings and canopies, window treatments, signs, and decorative lighting.

In addition, certain items that otherwise would be treated as real property may qualify as personal property if they serve more of a business function than a structural purpose. This includes reinforced flooring to support heavy manufacturing equipment, electrical or plumbing installations required to operate specialized equipment or dedicated cooling systems for data processing rooms.

Classify Property into the Appropriate Asset Classes
A cost segregation study combines accounting and engineering techniques to identify building costs that are properly allocable to the tangible personal property rather than real property. Although the relative costs and benefits of a cost segregation study depend on your particular facts and circumstances, it can be a valuable investment.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) enhances certain depreciation-related tax breaks, which may also enhance the benefits of a cost segregation study. Among other things, the act permanently increased limits on Section 179 expensing, which allows you to immediately deduct the entire cost of qualifying equipment or other fixed assets up to specified thresholds.

The TCJA also expanded 15-year-property treatment to apply to qualified improvement property. Previously this break was limited to qualified leasehold improvement, retail improvement, and restaurant property. And it temporarily increased first-year bonus depreciation to 100% (from 50%).

The Savings can be Substantial
Fortunately, it isn’t too late to get the benefit of speedier depreciation for items that were incorrectly assumed to be part of your building for depreciation purposes. You don’t have to amend your past returns (or meet a deadline for claiming tax refunds) to claim the depreciation that you could have already claimed. Instead, you can claim that depreciation by following procedures, in connection with the next tax return that you file, will result in “automatic” IRS consent to a change in your accounting for depreciation.

Cost segregation studies can yield substantial benefits, but they’re not right for every business. We can judge whether a study will result in overall tax savings greater than the costs of the study itself. Contact us to find out whether this would be worthwhile for you.

hands holding scale

Practicing law is a very serious business.  But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot about it that’s quite interesting, fun, and even sometimes funny.

Every once in a while, it is a good idea to step away from the solemnity of it all and think about the lighter side of our business. Accordingly, we’ve compiled the top 10 fun facts about lawyers and the practice of law.

#1: How many lawyers does it take?

There are currently 1.34 million lawyers in the United States. The entire population of the U.S. is 327,522,508. That means that there is roughly one lawyer for every 240 people in this country. With numbers like that, you wouldn’t think it would be so hard to find clients.

#2: The first lady … lawyer

The first woman in U.S. history to become a lawyer was an Iowan named Arabella Mansfield. She had to sue the State Bar of Iowa in order to sit for its bar exam – a privilege that had been exclusively reserved for males. Born in 1844, Ms. Mansfield passed the bar exam and was admitted to the Iowa Bar in 1869. Though the law had always been the province of men, women began to study and teach the law during Ms. Mansfield’s era because so many men were called off to fight in the Civil War.

#3: Out of the mouths of babes

Nearly 150 years later, another female is poised to shatter barriers within the practice of law. A 15-year old girl from Ohio named Danya Hamad is reportedly on track to become the youngest lawyer currently practicing in the United States. Ms. Hamad has modest goals. In her own words, “My goal is to become the youngest lawyer in America and from there I want to change the world.”

She will not, however, be the youngest lawyer to ever practice law in the States. That distinction belongs to a man named Stephen Baccus who graduated from Miami Law in 1986.

#4: That’s not fair

Since 2002, the Institute for Legal Reform has surveyed corporate litigators and senior executives to rank the litigation climate in each state within the U.S. The survey is aimed at determining the reasonableness and fairness of litigation practices. The five states that rank as the most reasonable and fair? South Dakota, Vermont, Idaho, Minnesota, and New Hampshire. And the least? Florida, California, Illinois, Missouri, and Louisiana.

#5: Any correlation?

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Interestingly, the state that was determined to have the most fairness and reasonableness in its litigation climate nearly has the fewest number of lawyers per capita of any state. Only Arizona and South Carolina have fewer attorneys per capita than South Dakota, which boasts just 22.2 lawyers for every 10,000 residents.

In case you’re wondering, the District of Columbia has the highest number of lawyers per capita. In fact, Washington, D.C. has 788.1 lawyers per 10,000 residents.

#6: Who said lawyers are dramatic?

There are a surprising number of celebrities who attended law school. Among them are John Cleese (Monty Python), Geraldo Rivera, Ben Stein, Gerard Butler, Jerry Springer, Ozzie Nelson (Ozzie & Harriet), Jeff Cohen (Goonies), and John Saviano (The Wonder Years). Imagine having your closing argument delivered by Geraldo and Jerry Springer!

#7: Worth their weight in gold

Lawyers in America earn vastly different salaries depending on where they live. While top attorneys are reportedly charging upwards of $1,500 per hour, that is certainly not the norm. Across the country, lawyer salaries are highly dependent on location.

The highest wages for lawyers are, not surprisingly, earned in California, New York, and Washington, D.C., where attorneys average $168,693 per year. The lowest wages for lawyers are in Montana, where attorney salaries average $83,330 per year. Per-hour rates also vary wildly within states. For example, in Arizona, attorneys in the Phoenix metropolitan area earn an average of $65.44 per hour, while lawyers across the state average just $49.22 per hour.

#8: How a bill becomes a law

Historically, lawyers dominated the Congressional halls. In fact, in the mid-19th century, nearly 80% of Congressional members were lawyers. Today, however, lawyers account for fewer than 40% of Congress people. History will tell us how that trend impacted lawmaking but the final analysis should be fascinating.

#9: Lawyering isn’t for everyone

Practicing law is such a labor of love. Law school isn’t easy, passing the bar exam isn’t easy, and practicing law is probably the hardest thing of all. Perhaps not surprisingly then, lawyers leave the profession all the time. Whether it is to become a pastry chef or a writer (guilty as charged), lawyers seem to find great success in other careers.

#10: They really love us

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Perhaps more than any other profession, lawyers seem to be disliked by the public at large. As it turns out, however, they hate us because they envy us. According to one study, the reasons people aren’t fond of lawyers are: (1) they’re smarter than everyone else; (2) they have their own language; (3) they are intimidating; and (4) they’re expensive. Taken separately, those aren’t really bad qualities to possess.

We hope you enjoyed our brief escape from the day-to-day practice of law. Time to get back to work.

The Inconvenient Reality of Law Firm Security Challenges

INTRODUCTION

Every aspect of a deal or daily life requires legal requirements to be fulfilled. There is obviously a difference between a lawman and a layman. And to solve all the legal issues be it civil scenarios like seeking a divorce, entering into an agreement or criminal cases of dishonor of cheque or theft, or just obtaining consultation we have law firms working day and night. Everything that requires legal attention, you need a lawyer for it. The law firms are constantly growing, and there are reasons behind it, which will be discussed in this article.

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WHAT DOES A LAW FIRM DO?

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A law firm is a business entity that practices law.  The render various types of services primary being legal consultation and legal assistance. A law firm can be wide-ranging clients from individuals, to banks too big companies. This process of consultation and assistance is about informing the clients their rights, duties, violations, legal recourse, and what is the exact position of law. Another aspect is a representation of the client in courts whether criminal cases or civil. The size and arrangement of a law firm can vary.

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The work undertaken by a law firm are as follows:

  1. They assist the client in understanding the position of law and rights and liabilities
  2. They represent the clients in cases in courts
  3. They also help the client settle the cases through Alternate Dispute resolution Mechanism
  4. They help transact business taking care of all the legal compliances.
  5. They also engage themselves in drafting documents like will, contracts, deed, lease agreements, vesting documents, employment contracts, etc.
  6. They help in protecting the innovations by way of intellectual property rights
  7. They help in mergers, acquisitions, demerger, amalgamation, etc. of companies and many more.

WHY HAVE THEY BECOME SO IMPORTANT?

The law firms are engaged in providing various types of services. People have preferences, and it often concluded that law firms receive more preference than individual practicing lawyers the reasons are enlisted below

  1. Umbrella for legal services

As a law firm provides services in various fields of law and has its expertise in major areas of law. One can approach one law firm and get all types of services like consultation, litigation, corporate sector, etc. However, while approaching an individual lawyer, the person will be expertise in one subject-matter, so it is a lot of hassle to get things done. Therefore, here comes the rescue law firms where they can deal with almost any type of subject matter.

  1. Quality of work

Since a team of experts is working on the case, there are various ideas and out of box opinions and some very skilled drafting, which is presented for the clients. In law firms, the lawyers are paid more and thus are expected to work with more professionalism and produce the quality of content. So be assured of being on the positive side, if you have chosen a good law firm for self.

  1. Easily approachable

Every law firm has marked its presence through landmark judgments and online legal marketing. This has let become aware of the players in the market. They have developed bots that can answer some queries online through the bots. What more ease can one get to find good legal services?

  1. Client satisfaction

Since a law firm is not only law but legal business. So, the most important factor stands out as client satisfaction. The law firms work in and out, with exhaustive hours to ensure to meet deadlines, to crack the deals for the client and to win the cases in the court and ensure that the money they charge is worth it. So, kudos on this.

The weight given to client satisfaction is high as the possibility of having a good representation for a client is high. If the client is not satisfied with one lawyer in the firm, someone else can be asked to carry forward the matter.

  1. Hierarchy

Since there is not a single person working, they have a hierarchy of people and a way of dealing with things. They ensure discipline in the workplace and division of work. So, a person works on what is best capable of.

As a law firm has departments for every aspect, the person acting as fresher will only get to deal with things in a way where he learns more and is not that accountable as there are seniors to correct them.

  1. Scrutinization

Everything that reaches the client is not just the work of a single person. If a person is engaged in research, the same may be drafted by some, scrutinized by some. Even lawyers may at a time have conflicting opinions and different approaches to deal with a situation. So, all such doubts are first solved in-house, and then the chance of interaction and opinion of the client is the first priority. So, you have an entire legal team working for your case.

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CONCLUSION

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A good legal team under one roof producing quality of services and giving the best legal representation. What is more to ask? There are always added perks of approaching a law firm then an induvial practicing lawyer. Though the reason why law firms are standing out is because of their expertise and excellence in various sectors of law.

Many people gravitate towards larger firms simply because they recognize the name. However, there are numerous advantages to choosing a smaller firm over their big-name competitors.

5 Advantages of Choosing a Small Law Firm

1. You are a Priority

Big law firms handle hundreds of clients at once- with them, you are just another case. This is not the situation with a small firm.

As a smaller firm, Thomakos Law is selective of the clients we take on, meaning if we have chosen to represent you, you can rest assured we are 100% committed to your success. We truly care for our clients! 

2. Personalized Treatment

When you are paying a lawyer to do an important job, you should be treated like a VIP.

Though many big firms advertise their “team” of lawyers as an advantage, a single lawyer is able to take the time to know you personally and develop a deep understanding of the background of your case. Since you are not just another client in a hundred, you will receive the professional, caring, and attentive treatment you deserve from Thomakos Law.

3. Ease of Communication

Another disadvantage to a “team” of lawyers is the potential for breakdowns in communication. This can result in misunderstandings that lead to errors and needless time expenses.

With a big firm, there may also be confusion about who you should be talking to, something that never happens with a smaller firm.

4. Availability & Flexibility

Need to get in touch with your lawyer after hours? With a big firm, this is most likely not possible.

Smaller firms are able to be more flexible with their time, since they are handling fewer clients at once. Also, because they care personally for the client, they will be more willing to that extra mile for the convenience of that client. At Thomakos Law, we are always willing to work with your schedule!

5. Specialized Service

5 Factors To Consider When Choosing A Law Firm For Your Business

A long list of legal capabilities on the website of a big law firm may look impressive, but hiring a small firm that specializes in your type of case is a much wiser option. Since they handle cases similar to yours all the time, you have confidence knowing they are familiar with the ends and outs of the laws, as well as the best practices that lead to success.

When it comes to legal representation, size matters. Choosing a small law firm with the desire and capability to give you and your case the attention and treatment you deserve is the smart first step to take towards your success.

As a small, local firm, we care for each and every one of our clients that walks through our door. If you are in need of legal representation, why not give us a call today? During your free case evaluation, you will be able to see the difference a small firm can make! You can contact us for more information.

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