There could be a multitude of reasons why you are leaving your current software program for another. Whether you are leaving for more streamlined services, better monthly prices, and the overall look, there are still a couple of other housekeeping rules to consider.

1.Getting the staff on board

Your staff needs to know if you are strongly considering making a change in programs. It gives them time to prepare and adjust to change. They could even provide their insight from an employee perspective on changes that come with switching software programs.

2.Organizing data before the switch

Know what data you want versus what you do not. Gathering data from years and years of service can be daunting but it is absolutely necessary. You may find that there is data you do not need to bring over. This also gives you and your staff an opportunity to become better organized with materials and processes.

3. Implementing the change

Yes! Okay, we got the staff on board and the software is in our hands. It can be scary dipping your toes into a new program or a new anything. Give yourself and the staff time to adjust and make room for improvement. Be intentional about working together and learning from each other during this time of fine tuning.

So, while there are many considerations to think about, you do not have to do it alone! There are many ways to go about informing your staff for support, organizing firm/client information, and implementing it all. Here at Practice42, we can help to tailor your materials and processes to best suit your needs.  Let us help! We encourage you to call us at 850-933-5072 to schedule a free Strategy Session with our team to find out more about what we can do for you.

Do you know your ABCs? Not the ones you learned in grade school, but the ones surrounding cybersecurity that can protect your practice. Ready to relearn them? Let’s begin!

Always read, learn, and understand what is required of you in your cybersecurity insurance policy. Many lawyers today still do not read the fine print when it comes to the legal insurance policies. Do not forget to read the fine print of your cybersecurity insurance policy to learn what you need to do to ensure it works.

Bar rules related to cybersecurity and cyber ethics matter. Know your bar rules.

Cybersecurity defined: “Cybersecurity is the measures taken to protect a computer or computer system (as on the Internet) against unauthorized access or attack.” (Merriam-Webster)

Data ethics and your firm. Train your team to understand data ethics. The information you hold is a person, and how would they want their mother treated? Further, data collection policies should reflect the data you actually need, not what you don’t. Consider all data you collect subject to vulnerability and at risk of being stolen. Do you still want it?

Email is always a risk. Create team trainings to help your team understand what the risks are and teach them how to protect the firm. If you need help, hire a professional for the trainings.

Fire drills can help! Do not wait for a problem to know your setup works. Act as if there has been an attack on your practice and bring in your team and your IT professional to learn where the vulnerabilities are.

Get the help you need. We are lawyers. This is not easy. Hire a paid professional, learn what you need to protect yourself, and stay vigilant.

Hire the help you need. Whether it is an employee, a contractor, or a company you want to outsource to, identify and hire who you need in your practice. Do not wait for a crisis to happen.

Install back up and redundant servers and file protections. Test them. Make sure they work.

Just do it. This is an overused phrase, I know. But many of us need that additional push out the door to make a difference in our practices, consider this yours.

Keep an eye out for weird things. Slow computers, zombie computers, misspelled words, unusual file extensions, talking computers…if you start to see this, call your IT professional.

Logins, passwords, and access codes are vulnerabilities. Protect them the best you can. Follow industry best practices, such as sentence structure or a password company, to best protect your access to important information.

Maintain a strong relationship with a local IT professional. Period.

Never leave devices unattended or unsupervised or password unprotected. Threats and breaches occur even in the safest ecosystem. Do not open the door to potentially dangerous activity. Have a cleaning staff in your building? Lock down your devices at night. Meeting with clients in a conference room? Lock down your devices before you leave the room.  

Opening attachments should always be an action of LAST RESORT. Find a different way to share data. Train your employees and yourself to never open attachments. That is one of the easiest ways for a cybercriminal to attack you.

Partner with your clients. Cybersecurity breaches are not a matter of IF, they are a matter of WHEN. Tell your clients of the risk. Explain it to them. Ask them to acknowledge it and agree to it. The ones who want to work with you will work with you regardless. 

Quietness is not a virtue when it comes to cybercrimes. If you see something, say something. If you even barely suspect something, speak up and get help.

Read, read, read. Read, learn, and understand what is required of you in your cybersecurity insurance policy. Many lawyers today still do not read the fine print when it comes to legal insurance policies. Do not forget to read the fine print of your cybersecurity insurance policy to learn what you need to do to ensure it works.

Safeguard protected and private data. Take measures to protect the data you use in your law firm. You have some of the most vital data for each of your clients. Be careful to protect it thoroughly.

Train your team. As with every area of your practice, your team will not know how to best protect you and cannot be its most productive if you do not train them. Make the commitment.

Up to date software is a MUST HAVE. Only get your updates from trusted sources.

VPNs are your best friend. You need a VPN on all your devices. It is an easy layer of security to add. This is especially important if you work on a device that may not be in your ecosystem such as unsecure hotel Wi-Fi at conferences. Wi-Fi networks should never be unsecured. It may be “just general lobby Wi-Fi” but there is no such thing. Access to your Wi-Fi is access to your Wi-Fi, no matter what label you put on it.

Xenolalia may seem farther away than it actually is. The more you train yourself on the tech you need the more natural it will become for you, and you will find yourself speaking the foreign language of technology before you know it.

You. This all starts with you. You could make the commitment to do whatever you need to do to succeed in this area, or not. It is up to you. It is your practice.

Zero regrets. When you are the victim of a cyber attack, that is where you want to be. Do not waste time. Get started. Learn what you need to do. Get help. Choose to make smart answers to tough questions. After all, it is your practice, protect it.

We understand that you may have questions, serious questions, when it comes to cyber security, employment practices related to cyber security, and how to best protect yourself, your practice, and your clients. We are here to help. We build successful law practices nationwide. Do not wait to schedule a free 30 minute strategy session so we can discuss how to best support you in your practice.

Have you considered starting your own practice? The pull towards being your own boss, making the decisions on how the firm is run, and being able to decide which cases you take on can be strong and can, some days more than others, be extremely appealing. It is, however, an endeavor that you should thoughtfully consider. 

Are you ready to take the plunge and open your own practice? We help so many attorneys who are in your exact same boat, let us help. In our blog here we want to review some questions to ask yourself first.

1. What are your goals? Having a clear vision of your goals will serve you well in this undertaking. These will act as guideposts for all of the major and minor decisions you will make as you establish your practice. Why are you starting your own practice? How will your firm be different from others? Set your sights on your business mission and development. Do you have a specific vision for it? This can be essential to setting up your firm for success.

2. Are you financially ready? Dreaming is free, but opening a firm costs money. Before you can make those dreams of having your own firm come true, you need to make sure you have your finances in order. 

First, how are you going to fund the startup costs associated with setting up your practice? Lay out the expenses you are going to need to cover up front. This may include insurances, fees, office space, office furniture, support staff, marketing costs, and more. Get a clear idea of what it is going to cost you to open up your firm, how much you will need as a cushion prior to your firm generating revenue, and how you are going to cover these costs.

Second, what do you need to live on and support yourself. We see too many attorneys, new and established, forget to pay themselves. We do not want you to be one of those attorneys. Even if your salary goals are small to start, such as just covering your mortgage payment, it is important to create the healthy habit of paying yourself in your monthly overhead.

3. Do you have the support you need? A supportive team can be critical in establishing your own firm, but not always tied to those physically in your firm. Although you may want to hire first, you may need a guide first. Especially when you are a DIY-er. 

Surround yourself with those that are going to coach you, support you, and guide you through the exciting, but overwhelming process of opening your own practice. Do you have a mentor? Do you have a strategic performance coach? Having someone who has gone through establishing a law practice, as well as someone you can bounce ideas off of as you go through the process yourself, can provide you with guidance and an overall feeling of confidence as you make important decisions. 

You do not and should not go this alone. Get the support you need to make your practice the success you want it to be.

At Practice42, we help set law firms up for success. From working with you to get a clear vision of your goals to providing support and mentorship, we can help guide you through the process of not just setting up your own firm, but setting it up to thrive. We encourage you to schedule a free Strategy Session with our team to find out more about what we can do for you.

When the entrepreneurial spirit is high, you may find yourself bursting at the seams to open your own law practice. It is an exciting time, but not the time to move forward without taking care of many important tasks first. Trust us, we know. We build successful law practices, and while we know the journey is different for every attorney, there are steps we can take to ensure long-term success.

As you move closer and closer to opening your business, be mindful of these 7 tips you should make sure that you address first:

1. Do your research. Before opening your law practice, know the industry first. This means knowing your market. Being aware of your competitors and what will set you apart from them. Be thorough in your demographic study as a part of this investigation to know what playing field you are getting into.

2. Know your audience. Do you have a clear picture of your target demographic? Can you describe your Client Avatar for your Practice Areas? Who will be needing your services? How will you help? Having answers to these questions can be essential to many aspects of your business, marketing efforts included. Defining your market means that you can better zero in on who you need to reach and retain for your client or customer base.

3. Set your mission and make it strong. Have you developed a mission statement for your law practice? You may have thought about it, but putting it down into writing, into something concrete can be beneficial to helping ensure you have your guiding principles in order. Your mission statement will be your guidepost. It will be the touchstone you can always go back to whenever you are faced with an important decision, and you will be faced with many.

4. Detail your finances. How clear are you on your financial situation? The more detailed you are about your finances, the better. Be scrupulous in your outline of startup costs, as well as how you plan to cover them. Nothing can tank a new firm like failure to plan for costs, both expected and unexpected.

5. Make a business plan. Much like your mission, you may have thought about how your law practice will be structured, managed, and run. Now is the time to put it all in writing. Outline the steps you will need to take to get your business off the ground. How will you foster consistent and sustainable growth? Include your mission statement and what services your firm will provide in your business plan, as well as the industry and market research you have conducted. Your plan should also detail your financials and your financial goals.

6. Get a mentor. When questions and concerns arise, do you have someone you can turn to for advice or just someone to act as a sounding board? Find a mentor, a professional coach, and ideally, one who is a lawyer and knows the challenges you are facing. This person can provide you with more support than you may initially anticipate.

Especially as your success grows, it can be lonely at the top and when you own your own law practice. Shifting into a focused training path with a performance coach can be a real game changer to know that you have someone to turn to for advice when you need it.

7. Assemble your team and support staff. Who is going to help your law practice run successfully? Determine the support and management roles you need in your firm and find the individuals who will uphold their respective responsibilities accordingly. Granted, this may be easier said than done, but it is nonetheless an important part of starting a business out on the right foot.

We know this can be overwhelming. We encourage you to schedule a free 30 Minute Strategy session with the team at Practice42 about how we can help you succeed in your business endeavors. Our comprehensive approach to building law practices that last, includes professional coaching and so much more.

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