Nebraska/Iowa Solo Small Firm Conference, August 11 - 13, 2016
Sponsored by the Nebraska State Bar Association and The Iowa State Bar Association’s General Practice Section
Taking place at the alluring Ameristar Casino Hotel in Council Bluffs, Iowa, this event offers solo and small firm practitioners the opportunity to attend a CLE geared directly to their type of practice. That's right. A whole conference dedicated to you and your practice! Complete Conference Information
- Dustin Cole, Master Practice Advisor and President of Attorneys Master Class, is one of the nation’s leading advisors to law firms and lawyers. He has educated over 15,000 attorneys in CLE programs nationally and has worked with over 200 firms and more than 1000 individual attorneys in 30 states to help them increase revenues and deal successfully with change.
- Robert Clements is Co-Founder, Strategic Marketing Director, and General Counsel for Benchmark Business Group, LLC. In a more holistic approach to the practice of law, Bob has guided many business owners through difficult organizational, planning and financial issues, and has served as a facilitator and mediator in numerous business cases.
- Mary E. Vandenack is founding and managing partner of Vandenack Williams LLC in Omaha. Mary is a frequent writer and speaker on tax, benefits, asset protection planning, and estate planning topics as well as on improving the delivery of legal services, law firm marketing, and increased access to the under-served.
LSAT Prep Scholarship
The Minority Justice Committee works to expand the pipeline of diverse law school applicants. The LSAT Prep Scholarship Program provides a scholarship for a Kaplan LSAT Prep Course covers the costs of registering for the LSAT exam for recipients who are historically underrepresented in Nebraska's law schools, demonstrate economic need, and reside in Nebraska. The number of scholarships awarded annually is dependent on charitable contributions. The scholarship program reaches both traditional and non-traditional students from a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds. On average, students achieve a seven point increase on their LSAT exam score. Download the Application and Instruction Sheet.
VLP to Launch New Online Pro Bono Program
On August 22nd, the Volunteer Lawyers Project will be joining a national initiative sponsored by the American Bar Association that allows attorneys to do pro bono work online. Soon you will be able to log in, at your convenience, to NEFreeLegalAnswers.org and answer civil legal questions posed by low-income Nebraskans. As a volunteer, you:
- Can log in whenever and wherever;
- Pick which and how many questions you’ll answer;
- Are covered by VLP’s malpractice insurance;
- Provide limited scope advice;
- Are anonymous to clients—they will only see you as "Volunteer Attorney”;
- Can help low-income, elderly, and disabled Nebraskans quickly and easily; and
- Can earn pro bono credit for researching/answering questions and the program will track your pro bono hours for you.
In order to launch this program by August 22nd, we need 75 attorneys to sign up. If you are looking for a convenient, rewarding and impactful pro bono opportunity, sign up today by contacting email@example.com. We would be delighted to schedule a time to meet with you and/or your firm and provide a brief 20-minute training if desired. While Nebraska-specific materials are not yet available, here is a link to a brief PDF about this national initiative: http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/probono_public_service/abafree/aba_free_legal_answers_pages_6_6_16.pdf. You can also view a YouTube video explanation at: https://youtu.be/RAmHEnpB-bo.
Opportunities for Dues-Paying Members to Use Their 2 Free Hours of Ethics CLE
NetWORKS! – NSBA’s Professional Networking Group
NSBA is offering an easy and enjoyable new way to expand your professional contacts. NetWORKS! will match interested lawyers for one-to-one coffee or lunch every two months. It will be up to the lawyers to schedule a convenient time. This new group is open to all voluntary NSBA members except law students. The primary purpose of the group is to promote the development of collegial professional relationships among group members.
NSBA will pilot NetWORKS! in the Omaha area if at least 30 NSBA members volunteer to give it a try. If the Omaha group is a success, Lincoln and Greater Nebraska groups will be added. It will be free for the rest of this year and likely will have modest dues longer term. Members will be required to complete their NSBA online profiles because the matching software program pulls member data from the profiles.
If you want to sign up for the Omaha pilot, please contact Lorrie Benson. More details about NetWORKS! are on the NSBA website under Member Info.
Recent Supreme Court Opinions
Week of July 8, 2016
Week of July 1, 2016
For a complete listing of recent opinions, visit the Nebraska Judicial Branch Website.
A Profitable Niche Practice in Four Easy Steps
By Robert Theofanis, Originally Published in Attorney at Work
Ever heard that phrase “Jack of all trades, master of none”? No lawyer wants to hear that today. Why? Because you get credibility from being an expert not a generalist. Credibility equals clients. Clients equal profitability, even more credibility — and even more clients. It’s easier to differentiate yourself with a niche practice, too, because there’s far less competition. Full Article
50 Years Later, Freedom of Information Act Still Chipping Away at Government's Secretive Culture
By David L. Hudson Jr, Originally Published in ABA Journal Magazine
On Independence Day 50 years ago, President Lyndon Baines Johnson reluctantly signed into law the Freedom of Information Act. President Johnson thought it was terrible legislation and considered a veto after it was passed by Congress. He signed the bill into law on his Texas ranch instead of at a celebratory event at the White House.
Johnson’s comments at the low-key signing ceremony at the ranch illustrated his mixed feelings about the new law. “I signed this measure with a deep sense of pride that the United States is an open society,” he said. “I have always believed that freedom of information is so vital that only the national security, not the desire of public officials or private citizens, should determine when it must be restricted. At the same time, the welfare of the nation or the rights of individuals may require that some documents not be made available. As long as threats to peace exist, for example, there must be military secrets.” Full Article
Teaching Lawyers About Happiness
By Daniel S. Bowling III, Originally Published in ABA Law Practice Today
For the past six years I have been teaching law students about happiness. Not trying to make them happier—that is the province of student health types—but what happiness is (psychological and emotional well-being) and whether it should be encouraged and pursued in the practice of law. What I have learned is that today’s students have a keen awareness of the role of happiness in their own relationships and performance, and a deep hope it can be maintained in the demanding years ahead. Full Article
Building Relationships With Contacts
By Sally J. Schmidt, Originally Published in Attorney at Work
Years ago, someone told me about an accounting firm’s business development training philosophy. The firm had developed a continuum from 1 to 10, where “1” was something like “Would recognize me on the street,” and “10” was something like “Take family vacations together.” They asked the professionals to list their top contacts and indicate where each of their relationships fell on the continuum. After this exercise, the firm advised the accountants that their goal should be to move each contact up one number per year. Full Article
Greater Nebraska Golf Scramble - Thank You
NSBA would like to thank all the sponsors and the 89 golfers who attended the Greater Nebraska Golf Scramble at The Prairie Club in Valentine, NE on June 3. 2016. Nearly $16,000 was raised for the Volunteer Lawyers Project!
How Lawyers Use Legal Practice Management Software: A Rocket Matter Demo - Thursday July, 14.
In this demonstration, we will discuss how to run your business more productively using legal practice management software to better serve your clients and increase revenue. Learn about Rocket Matter's features and best practices, how to streamline your workflow, communicate with clients, and manage your cases and law practice. The webinar will take on place on Thursday, July 14 at 12:00 PM CDT. Register here.
Topics we'll cover include:
- How to capture time and expenses efficiently at the office or on the go
- Using tasks, calendar events, document uploads, phone messages, and notes
- How to customize your Invoices and run all of your legal billing at once
- An overview of the integrations with the tools you use, including Box, Dropbox, Evernote, Gmail, and Quickbooks
- How to automate and streamline your case management workflow with fully customizable Matter Templates
- Dashboards that let you see what's happening at a glance with clients, matters, and the firm's business
- An intake tool that automates the process of gathering new client information which is funneled directly into a CRM
- A fully integrated payment processing system that helps simplify and automate the difficult process of invoicing your clients and getting paid
- Advanced Analytics. A series of user-friendly reports offer you a powerful glimpse into your firmbs financial performance in just a few clicks