You might think that opening a new law practice during a pandemic is a bad idea. But for many lawyers, it is the best idea. For lawyers who have just passed the bar and always dreamed of opening their practices, it is time. For lawyers who have left employment or were laid off because the firm wasn’t prepared for the new reality.

Today is the OBA’s Opening a Law Practice program. This year it is taking place via videoconferencing. But OBA Practice Management Advisor Julie Bays and I have a lot of useful information to share with this group of mainly brand-new lawyers.

Our Opening Your Law Practice resource page has downloadable papers, checklists and a sample business plan, available to anyone with an interest.

But I also want to direct those with an interest to the My Shingle blog. Its proprietor, Carolyn Elefant, opened her law practice in 1993. But she wasn’t content with just building a law practice as a solo. She has donated countless hours to being a coach, a mentor and a cheerleader for solo and small firm lawyers and those seeking to build their own law practices. Her blog’s Start Your Law Firm page has numerous free tools from audio recordings to worksheets to sample procedures. Carolyn and I have known each other for years. She has received much well-deserved attention. But hopefully today, a few new Oklahoma lawyers learn about Carolyn Elefant’s free advice and guidance.

(Editor’s note: Yes, I forgot to post this here yesterday. But I did teach a class all day.)

A headline on a newspaper article or a blog post is supposed to draw readers into the story.

Email & contact us icon on computer keyboard

So too, should the subject line on an email encourage the recipient to open the email and read it.

But it also should help the recipient understand what the email is about— and you should never assume the recipient will know just because you just emailed them about this last week or you only have one case pending with them. We do understand that many times it is best not to put a client name in an email subject line. But we also understand that overflowing inboxes means many lawyers are often looking for old emails still in their inboxes, so make sure yours is easy to locate by subject line.

Let’s be informative and avoid these seven subject line sins that keep our emails from being read.

  1. No Subject Line The one thing worse than a bad subject line is no subject line at all. You come across as careless or maybe even concealing your true message. But an important thing for you to understand is that having a blank subject line greatly increases the possibility your email gets grabbed by a spam filter.
  2. The Ordering or Demanding Subject Line “Please call me ASAP” is a bit scary, especially if sent to a subordinate. But it is not as bad as “We need to talk” which really sounds like you should be checking to see if there are empty boxes should you find yourself packing up the personal items from your former desk soon. And if you are sending demanding emails with subject lines like “!!!!!!!” or “??????,” you had better be someone’s supervisor because none of the rest of us are going to open those for a while. Exclamation points rarely have a place in business emails, but the double exclamation point should never be used—unless you are trying to start something!
  3. URGENT Sometimes we feel like we must put Urgent in a subject line but, if you do, lose the All Caps. Far better is a specific time reference. “The Brief Due 5/1” or “The May 19th
  5. Re: Re: Re: Fwd: Re: Fwd: Fwd OK, once the subject line has so many Re:’s and Fwd:’s that you cannot even read the original subject line, it is time to either prune your subject line or maybe just start with a new email.
  6. Quick Question We lawyers all know this one. When someone says this, the question may be short, but the answer may not be. Too many lawyers read this one as “Please answer this interrogatory from me” and don’t be surprised if the response is to keep on scrolling.
  7. This is so-and-so Ahem, your email “From” line already told them that. So any additional information is better

Originally posted at

It Is Time to Start Re-Planning Your Future (April 29, 2020)

My suggestions for those who want to start re-planning their future now include creating a location to save your research and then to start by reading 7 Ways The Pandemic Will Forever Change Law Practice by Robert Ambrogi at Above the Law. You may disagree with some of his predictions. But Bob is as qualified as anyone on the planet to make predictions about the future of law. Agreeing with everything you read is not the point. Making some notes to chart your own future is.

Listen to Clio CEO Jack Newton and Robert Ambrogi on Episode #26 of Clio’s Daily Matters podcast as they discuss our present and our future. “Lawyers have an opportunity to experiment,” Bob says.


Sharon Nelson and Jim Calloway offer guidance for weathering COVID-19 and its economic impacts on the legal profession. Podcasts seem to be continuing their resurgence. Jim Calloway and Sharon Nelson have been podcasting for years. This month’s podcast marks their 148th monthly podcast. We decided to omit having a guest this episode so we can focus on what we have seen about COVID19’s impact on the legal profession from the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to the rapid adoption of videoconferencing to E-signatures and digital contracts to contactless law office procedures.

For lunch or later

Read How-To-Geek’s How to Get Started Listening to Podcasts

Many podcasts of interest to lawyers can be found at The Legal Talk Network

I think it is very important to re-examine our processes in light of the new reality.

This tip costs nothing to implement and takes only a minute. It may only be used rarely but if it reduces a client’s anxiety or moves communications along, then it is well worth the minor change. Plus you can change it anytime.

Phone tag just seems like even more of a time-waster these days.

Change Cell Phone Quick Responses to Reflect Today’s Reality (April 27, 2020)

New Ways to Unwind and Relax This Weekend is subject as my guest Tom Mighell and I delve into some online tools and toys that may help you relax and connect with friends and loved ones in some different ways. Tom has just rebooted his blog with a focus on technology tools for lawyers that are not legal specific. He is a former ABA TECHSHOW chair and an experienced legal technologist. Visit his blog and sign up for his email newsletter. But first watch our (hopefully) fun video and find something new to try out or share with someone.

New Ways to Unwind and Relax This Weekend (April 24, 2020)