Friday, October 25, 2013

Solo And Small Firms – Representing Clients With Adverse Interests

By James A. Schmidt

A few days ago, I mentioned to Corrie Benfield, the Hillsborough County Bar Association’s new Lawyer magazine coordinator (Welcome, Corrie!), that the Solo-Small Firm Section would be late with its first column of the year because we were “short-handed.” Corrie graciously accommodated us. Now, as David Stamps and I write to tell you about what we have planned for the year, the “short-handed” comment seems to dovetail perfectly with those plans.

The section’s theme for this Bar year is to help our members improve how they use non-lawyers to build and strengthen their practices.  Non-lawyers are all around us.  They are an abundant resource and are often very keen to work with us.  By harnessing their interest and leveraging it properly, lawyers can become more effective in their practices, reduce unnecessary risks, and bring about a better work-life harmony.

So this year, our goal will be to have every lunch speaker and column author be a non-lawyer,  with each being from a different field. David and I have identified many non-lawyer roles that we feel are instrumental to the practice of law, including traditional and forensic accountants, financial advisors, technology professionals, and business coaches. This list is hardly complete, and because all of our programs and columns are not yet spoken for, we solicit your thoughts and suggestions for non-lawyers whom you use in your practices.

On September 25, we started our year off by partnering with the Marital & Family Law and Real Property, Probate & Trust Law Sections to host Patrick Dougherty, a CPA with The Florida Bar. Dougherty spoke about best practices for law office accounting and how to meet your trust accounting requirements with the greatest efficiency.

Please mark your calendars for our remaining lunches of the year on February 4 and April 22, the planning for all of which is underway. And stay tuned. We hope that our programming for the year will leave you feeling a bit less “short-handed.”