Sunday, January 29, 2006

Not so useful seminar

Warning: Griping Below

Well, I attended a Washington Law Seminar I mentioned a little while back called "Practice Development Series: Building Your Family Law Practice" on Friday, taking a one-day, round trip flight from Eastern Washington to avoid the uncertainty of Snoqualmie Pass - and the verdict is .... not so helpful.

First, there was nothing specific to "family law" in the program. It could have been "starting your personal injury practice (or other "fill in-the-blank practice."). I was hoping there would be more specific information for a wannabee - such as information on practice specific software, malpractice insurance, evaluating the market for a family law practice, tips on finding mentors, start-up costs, marketing to clients, a real review of practice managment software, the efficacy of yellow page or other advertising, how to become sufficiently "competant" in starting out in family law, and so on .... Instead, most of the presenters were consulting firms and marketing people who, apparently, do some work with lawyers (or want to in the future, hence, they presented general information to a group of lawyers).

For example, there was an hour long lecture on developing a business plan. Super. I believe that business plans are a good thing - but I'm not going to take months to write a 25 page business plan when I have no intent on trying to borrow money from the bank or get some other "venture capitalist" to fund my practice. Moreover, the sample business plan in the materials had NOTHING to do with the practice of law. How hard would it have been to have a sample law practice business?

We also got "managing your practice to maintain your humanity" brought to us by a personal injury attorney. Hello? Couldn't find a family law attorney to give the talk? Okay, so I'm supposed to hang up on a client when she calls at 3 in the morning because husband hasn't returned the kids yet. Got it.

Another topic was "top ten things family law paralegals wish their bosses knew." I am not going to be hiring a paralegal for quite a while. Even then, I would never treat the paralegal with the kind of disrespect that the paralegals warned the group against. Is there really some idiot lawyer out there that needs to be reminded to be nice to his/her staff? If so, they are beyond the help of this seminar.

The Marketing section talked about the importance of "branding" such as "Lexus"or "Coca Cola," never answering how I, as a family law attorney, can "market" myself in view of the RPCs. Have a Divorce and a Smile? I'd like to teach the world to sue in perfect harmony? No concrete suggestions specific to the practice of law and "establishing your brand" were made either.

Final verdict: not worth the money for the seminar and flight, in my opinion, anyway. Oh well....

I did pick up a Community Property Deskbook, which the WSBA sells for $150 for $50 at the UW Bookstore, along with the latest bluebook and a book on lawyering skills, including interviewing and counseling, which looks very informative. So, all was not lost. I love the Bookstore. GO DAWGS!! Win the Superbowl!!!**

In the next few days, I'll pass on what few "pearls" of wisdom I picked up at the seminar.

**Okay -- So, I know the Dawgs are a college football team and aren't going to the superbowl. Just seeing if anyone reads this.


At 9:55 AM, Blogger Brandon Wilson said...

You didn't have to stoop to tricks to find out whether people read your blog. ;-)

Sorry the seminar didn't turn out to be the enriching experience you were hoping for, but still good that you were putting yourself out there. That's the only way to make things happen.


Post a Comment

<< Home