Put Pen to Paper – The Power of Handwritten Notes

I write notes a lot – birthday cards, thank you notes, postcards, “thinking of you” check ins, etc. – and I handwrite them (at least most of the time).  From time to time, stories hit pop culture news about the dying art of handwriting and the demise of the written letter.   From a family history perspective, saved handwritten notes and letters can provide an informa...
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New Look for Hough Law Thanks to Katchye Designs!

Hough Law has a new logo design thanks to the hard work of Aiman at Katchye Designs! When Hough Law started almost three and a half years ago, we cobbled together a set of templates that have served us well, but the time had come to update them with a more professional and modern look. With only a little general direction – along the lines of clean, modern, non-fussy ...
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Tackling Technical Difficulties

Technology is the best… and the worst.  It makes communication easier, but also reduces face-to-face interaction and nuance.  It makes it easy to share documents and information, but also limits learning how to figure things out on your own. Last week I had a technical issue that made my heart drop to the floor.  I was talking with someone who said they sent me an e-mail – w...
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Lawyer Trust Accounts

Lawyer Trust Accounts, sometimes also called Client Trust Accounts, are used by lawyers to hold client payments and retainer funds that are provided in advance of work being performed. Attorneys hold unearned client funds in such accounts.  The funds remain in that account until work on a matter is invoiced (or, in some cases, a matter is completed entirely).  Attorneys cann...
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ICYMI: Five Key Fee Agreement Terms

Lawyers always (or should always) require a written fee agreement to be signed by a client before starting representation.  A fee agreement can also be called an attorney employment agreement, retainer agreement, or representation agreement. No matter what it is called, the general purpose is the same – to set out the terms of the attorney-client relationship.  I always flin...
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ICYMI: Money Saving Tips For Working With A Lawyer

One of the most common questions I am asked is how much someone should expect to pay for legal services that are billed by the hour (rather than flat fee).  Of course, the answer varies widely depending on the legal issues, the parties involved, and each particular circumstance.  Depending on the type of legal work, it may be very difficult to estimate how much time and work wi...
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ICYMI: Mobile Law Practice

What is a “mobile” law firm? Law offices can be intimidating.  Meeting where clients are comfortable allows for a more productive and straightforward conversation.  In addition, since attorney meetings often cover personal and sensitive information, meeting where clients are comfortable helps relieve some of the stress of sharing private information. A mobile law firm, at...
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ICYMI: Make Your Meetings More Productive

No one likes to sit through an unproductive meeting (unless it is helping you avoid something else and/or there is free food), so focusing on making your meetings more productive can increase happiness for all involved. Here are five simple tips for increasing productivity: Have an Agenda – Having an agenda has many benefits. First, you have to plan ahead, which means y...
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Make Your Meetings More Productive

No one likes to sit through an unproductive meeting (unless it is helping you avoid something else and/or there is free food), so focusing on making your meetings more productive can increase happiness for all involved. Here are five simple tips for increasing productivity: Have an Agenda – Having an agenda has many benefits. First, you have to plan ahead, which means y...
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Maternity Leave Announcement!

As my last post discussed, taking an extended leave can take a lot of planning for a solo practitioner.  I know firsthand as I am planning to take an extended leave myself in the next few weeks as my husband and I expect the arrival of a new baby! It is an exciting (and a little terrifying) time for my family as we plan for our new addition, but also a stressful time as I pr...
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Tips for Planning for an Extended Leave as a Solo Practitioner

As a solo practitioner, major challenges can arise from time to time, including how to take a leave of absence from work for an extended period of time.  Whether the leave is for a family reason, a medical reason, or even just a long vacation, preparation is key in planning ahead as much as possible to reduce the bumps for clients and your practice. Here are seven tips to co...
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Challenges for a Solo Practitioner

Working as a solo attorney can be quite a challenge.  From getting an office up and running on your own, to managing cases and the administration of a small office, the tasks can pile up into quite a mountain.  After the initial challenges for getting an office location, spreading the word, and establishing your baseline policies and procedures, the real challenges begin! Fi...
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Client Tip – Don’t Be Mean to the Staff!

Small Ninja Action Figure
Being involved in a legal matter can be frustrating – very frustrating.  It is important to keep in mind, however, that taking it out on legal staff is not appropriate and can even cost you your attorney. As someone who has worked in practically every position in a law firm that a person can work in – I know that clients are often on their best behavior for the attorney, who...
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Client Tip – Review Your Bills

Clients are often shocked when they get their legal bills, especially the first one.  Signing a fee agreement is one thing, but seeing those numbers come to life in an invoice is something else.  Attorney time and expenses add up – and they can add up fast. However, clients often fail to review their bills in a timely manner and then have questions or concerns that only come...
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Six Attorney Marketing Tips

Here are six quick tips for marketing your business: 1.  Start with the Low Hanging Fruit: Maintain relationships with professionals who have referred clients to you in the past and your current and former clients. These people are great sources of new clients – they know you, they (hopefully) trust you, and they are your boots on the ground. 2.  Try New Things, but Dump ...
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Guest Post – We Need More Lawyers

No, this isn’t a joke. I’m serious. As you may know, I am in charge of enrollment management for a small law school in Oregon, so I may be a little biased as my livelihood depends on me being right about this topic. While my friends on the editorial pages of the New York Times might disagree with me, I believe that we need more lawyers today in the US. No, I’m not talking about...
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Happy Thanksgiving!

Leaves on a Deck
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  May your family, friends, and you have a happy holiday full of thanks for health, happiness, and love. This year (as in all years) I am thankful for the abundance of support and love from family and friends, for my clients who bring me great joy, and for stretchy pants and a husband who cooks the turkey!
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Gadget Review: Livescribe 3 Smartpen

I am not a particularly techy person – I am not on Facebook, I don’t have an iPhone, and I don’t know why people would stand in line for the latest computer, tablet, etc.  However, I have recently come upon a gadget that does make me swoon – and it’s a smartpen. My office is mostly paperless.  After I meet with clients, I often scan my notes into the digital file for each ca...
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Paralegal Duties – What Does A Paralegal Do?

There have been some changes at Hough Law in the recent weeks. The addition of a paralegal may raise questions about what paralegals do in a law firm. Let’s take a couple minutes and explore what a paralegal does and how a paralegal’s work benefits lawyers, as well as clients. A paralegal’s duties range anywhere from running errands to drafting letters to complex litigation ...
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Adding Staff (and the Art of Delegation)

As you may have seen in Monday’s blog post, Hough Law is expanding to include a new staff member for the next few months.  As the workload has expanded, so has the need to get extra hands on deck to help.  The opportunity for Kelly to join the firm for her paralegal internship was perfect timing. Of course, adding staff has its complications, challenges, and benefits.  As so...
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