After introducing its revamped Practicing with Professionalism program in January, The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division has decided to release a basic practice development CLE to address issues relevant to young attorneys interested in starting their own practices.
This winter’s changes to the PWP program (see December 15 edition of the News) resulted in a greater emphasis on professionalism, and that change, said YLD President Sean Desmond, took some time away from presentations given by the Bar’s Law Office Management Assistance Service. The basic skills course is designed to fix that problem. Once launched, it will address many of the issues LOMAS previously presented during the PWP program.
“When I first opened my practice in 2004 (after serving as an assistant state attorney), I quickly realized that I did not know what I needed to know to run a small law practice,” said Desmond. “I was not ready for the diversity of knowledge that was required. While I had learned how to try a case as a prosecutor, I had no idea what type of entity I should form for the practice, how to market myself, how to balance my operating and trust accounts, or properly manage my time. All of the CLEs offered at that time focused on substantive areas of the law but did not help me when I need to know how to process a credit card payment and make sure the money properly transmitted to the bank.”
The new CLE will include a segment by certified practice advisor Nora Bergman on time management, followed by a discussion on technology and a session on advertising rules and social media by a member of the Bar’s General Practice, Solo & Small Firm section. LOMAS Director Judith Equels will deliver a presentation on behalf of LOMAS, educating attorneys on trust accounts, practice finances, firm expenses, insurance, and more. The basic practice development CLE will also include discussions on law firm culture and generational differences that may exist among partners and firm members.
“With the ever-increasing number of young lawyers entering the profession, I felt that such a resource would be greatly needed,” said Desmond. “In addition, I have also observed many more seasoned lawyers, who are transitioning their practices as a result of the economic downturn that we have recently been through, are in need of this type of CLE. Many lawyers are not yet proficient with social media and new technology such as tablet computers and the growing numbers of apps available to assist a practice.
“For all of these reasons, the YLD is excited to offer a resource for young lawyers and transitioning lawyers to complement the vast resources also available through LOMAS.”
The basic practice development course will debut May 16 in Tampa.