Let's Start a Law Firm, Episode 13: Ted Shouse: "I knew I could be a pretty good lawyer."

Louisville criminal defense attorney Ted Shouse joins Annie and Ben in studio as Let's Start a Law Firm's first‑ever guest. Ted began his career as a public defender and for eleven years worked across the state and in all levels of criminal defense: as a trial attorney, as an appellate attorney, and as Executive Director of the Kentucky Innocence Project where Ted and his staff worked to exonerate and free wrongfully-convicted individuals. 

Ted started his own law firm five years ago and still has no website and, as he says on the podcast, only recently learned what a spreadsheet is. So, how does he maintain a busy trial calendar and stay in business? All will be revealed in less than an hour. For those of you considering not listening to the entire episode: first, shame on you. Second, you should really listen to the end of this episode. Unlike the world, it ends with a bang, not a whimper. 

Show Notes for Episode 13

What is a spreadsheet

Ted uses Caran D'ache pens exclusively and an Attorney's Daybook

As a man with impeccable style, First Impressions in Louisville, Kentucky is Ted's stationer of choice. Because, business cards matter: 

Show credits

Many thanks to Cast Iron Filter for letting us use "Tamarack" from their live album, "Live from the Highway", as our bumper music. CIF's music is available on iTunes and it is simply the best. If your travels take you down a two-lane highway, do not leave home without CIF.  

Photo credit for the "start button" image in our cover art goes to Mijn. Thanks for taking a cool picture and sharing it on Flickr.

Connect

Annie has a website and accounts on Facebook and Twitter

So does Ben: websiteFacebookTwitter.

 Subscribe to the podcast feed in iTunes to get future episodes automatically. If you like the show, please rate the show in iTunes or leave a review . There's really nothing better you can do than rate and/or review the show on iTunes to help new people find this podcast. Of course, tweets and links on Facebook don't hurt, either. 

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We welcome feedback, Starters. Lay it on us.

Let's Start A Law Firm, Episode 12: Cubic Wombat Poop

Almost a year since their last episode, Annie and Ben crack their knuckles, clear their throats, and kick off Season Two of Let's Start a Law Firm with a little talk of trial prep, Annie's .pdf ninja training, teasing future episodes, and, apparently, cubic wombat poop. 

Show Notes for Episode 12

OmniOutliner

Trial Pad (website) and TrialPad in the App Store

Mac Power Users episode on PDF Wizardry

PDFPen Videos

Vox.com article on growing concern among American men about work–life balance

The wombat's cubic poop

Wikipedia article on Nutria

X-Files on Amazon.com

David Sparks went solo! http://sparksesq.com/

Ernie the Attorney

Show credits

Many thanks to Cast Iron Filter for letting us use "Tamarack" from their live album, "Live from the Highway", as our bumper music. CIF's music is available on iTunes and it is simply the best. If your travels take you down a two-lane highway, do not leave home without CIF.  

Photo credit for the "start button" image in our cover art goes to Mijn. Thanks for taking a cool picture and sharing it on Flickr.

Connect

Annie has a website and accounts on Facebook and Twitter

So does Ben: websiteFacebookTwitter.

 Subscribe to the podcast feed in iTunes to get future episodes automatically. If you like the show, please rate the show in iTunes or leave a review . There's really nothing better you can do than rate and/or review the show on iTunes to help new people find this podcast. Of course, tweets and links on Facebook don't hurt, either. 

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Let's Start a Law Firm, Episode 11: Getting Better

A few weeks into 2014, Annie and Ben discuss New Year's resolutions, how to set responsible goals, how having fun pays off, and how starting a business is really a process of self-discovery. 

Also, a Hitler-designed model for change. 

Show Notes for Episode 11: Getting Better

Annie used the Plus–Delta Model to review her 2013. 

Annie has a new website!

Kentucky's junior Senator, Rand Paul, started his own board so he could remain "board-certified". 

There's an alarm clock that donates to the charity of your choice when you hit the snooze button. StickK.com allows you to commit to a goal and donate money to a charity (maybe one you hate) if you're into that whole carrot-and-stick thing. 

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Ben is using Strides App (on iTunes) to help track his progress (or non-progress) toward some of his goals for 2014. Here's a post from Ben about how Strides functions and how he's using it. The app is built to help you set and reach SMART goals.

Other podcasts about goal-setting and resolutions: 

Back to Work, 47: Utter Failure and Hotel Steak

Back to Work, 152: Tiny Hands, Large Desires

Mac Power Users: Tech Resolutions

If you don't know about Banksy (and Ben didn't until about two months ago), here's Wikipedia on Banksy

When setting goals, remember, you've got to be kind to yourself. 

Show credits

Many thanks to Cast Iron Filter for letting us use "Tamarack" from their live album, "Live from the Highway", as our bumper music. CIF's music is available on iTunes and it is simply the best. If your travels take you down a two-lane highway, do not leave home without CIF.  

Photo credit for the "start button" image in our cover art goes to Mijn. Thanks for taking a cool picture and sharing it on Flickr.

Connect

Annie has a website and accounts on Facebook and Twitter

So does Ben: websiteFacebookTwitter.

 Subscribe to the podcast feed in iTunes to get future episodes automatically. If you like the show, please rate the show in iTunes or leave a review . There's really nothing better you can do than rate and/or review the show on iTunes to help new people find this podcast. Of course, tweets and links on Facebook don't hurt, either. 

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Let's Start a Law Firm, Episode 10: Legal Research and Writing

Westlaw? LexisNexis? Casemaker? Fast Case? Private subscription? Public library? Annie and Ben talk about the programs and companies they use to do the legal research that supports their sparkling, incisive legal scholarship. What to know before you spend thousands of dollars on a multi-year contract with one of the jackals of the legal research world.

Also, how legal writing is basically childbirth.

Show Note for Episode 10: Legal Research and Writing

There are at least two places in Louisville to do free or inexpensive legal research: the Jefferson County Public Law Library and the Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville.

We talked about Westlaw and Lexis. We suggested exploring FastCase and Casemaker as alternatives to the two big ones. 

 Bluebook and Chicago Manuel of Style.

Wow. I had no idea how nerdy Boolean is. 

Ben is not happy with Westlaw

We talked a little bit about hegemony

One great way to do legal research is to have someone else do it for you already. Kentucky Justice Association's listserv is so good for this. 

Ben wonders whether or not Davidson's Honor Code has somehow made him a less effective lawyer. 

Annie uses the heck out of Criminal Law of Kentucky ("the Green Book"). (As this book costs $188 on Amazon, it's worth noting that we get a small kickback from Amazon when you buy something from it through a link from this site. So, go crazy! While you're at it, get yourself a $415 scanner! Treat yo'self!) Annie also uses the Kentucky Evidence Manual, but there's not a good link for that. 

If you're going to go with Westlaw, consider also getting (electronically) the Kentucky Practice Series. Good for a quick education on a potential case and very useful forms. 

Annie points out that Kentucky's top-notch Department of Public Advocacy has a bunch of free materials available to practitioners on their site. 

Here are some more books to help with your writing: Typography for Lawyers, Point Made, Elements of Style, Elements of Legal Style, On Writing Well

Annie recommends The Elements of Style Illustrated.

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Here's how Evernote might be useful for cataloging your legal research for long-term kickassery. And, when you're ready to take it to the next level, here's Katie Floyd's Hazel to Evernote workflow (and don't miss her update to that post for even more granular functionality).

Annie has a new website! http://www.oconnelllawky.com/

Here are some things that might be useful for project management: Wunderlist, Asana, Editorially. Also, Flow

Show credits

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Many thanks to Cast Iron Filter for letting us use "Tamarack" from their live album, "Live from the Highway", as our bumper music. CIF's music is available on iTunes and it is simply the best. If your travels take you down a two-lane highway, do not leave home without CIF.  

Photo credit for the "start button" image in our cover art goes to Mijn. Thanks for taking a cool picture and sharing it on Flickr.

Connect

Annie has a website and accounts on Facebook and Twitter

So does Ben: websiteFacebookTwitter.

 Subscribe to the podcast feed in iTunes to get future episodes automatically. If you like the show, please rate the show in iTunes or leave a review . There's really nothing better you can do than rate and/or review the show on iTunes to help new people find this podcast. Of course, tweets and links on Facebook don't hurt, either. 

Let's Start a Law Firm, Episode 9: Approaches to Case Management

Ben and Annie walk all up and down the third rail of law firm management topics: case management software. Annie and Ben both use cloud-based solutions: Clio and Rocket Matter, respectively. There's stuff they love about their CMSs and stuff they want to change. Time tracking, invoicing, client trust account management and more!

Also: Annie describes her dictation workflow and Ben rants about fax machines.

Show notes for Episode 9: Approaches to Case Management

Case Management Software

Ben uses Rocket Matter. Annie uses Clio. Other options include (but are certainly not limited to) Harvest (which Ben used for a few years) and Smokeball. There is a whole book on Cloud Computing for Lawyers

Additional Notes

Here's the article on making Dropbox more secure that Ben referenced. 

Good to Great by Jim Collins  

The E Myth (Revisited): Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It by Michael Gerber

Annie has used Time Master in the past to track time.  

Xero.com is the bookkeeping software Ben is probably going to use now that he's going to be keeping his books again. Here's their Sandwich video:

Dictation software and hardware: Express Scribe . Thanks to @katiefloyd for the great question. 

Oh no you did NOT just give me a fax number!

Oh no you did NOT just give me a fax number!

Ben gets sassy about fax machines in 2013 and promised a sassy gif:  

Ben uses HelloFax to avoid actually having to purchase a fax machine while still maintaining the ability to send and receive faxes. Good stuff. 

Ben really likes Lawrence Lessig. A lot. So, here's a gratuitous link to Republic Lost. Follow Professor Lessig on Twitter.   

Show credits

Many thanks to Cast Iron Filter for letting us use "Tamarack" from their live album, "Live from the Highway", as our bumper music. CIF's music is available on iTunes and it is simply the best. If your travels take you down a two-lane highway, do not leave home without CIF.  

Photo credit for the "start button" image in our cover art goes to Mijn. Thanks for taking a cool picture and sharing it on Flickr.

Connect

Annie has a website and accounts on Facebook and Twitter

So does Ben: websiteFacebookTwitter.

 Subscribe to the podcast feed in iTunes to get future episodes automatically. If you like the show, please rate the show in iTunes or leave a review . There's really nothing better you can do than rate and/or review the show on iTunes to help new people find this podcast. Of course, tweets and links on Facebook don't hurt, either. 

Let's Start a Law Firm, Episode 8: Processing Words

At the very bottom, the law is just words. Hopefully, those words are just words, but at its core, the law is just words. To mix the metaphor, words are the cells that build the organs that compose the systems that allow civil society to function.

Words matter.

In this episode, Annie and Ben discuss the programs they use to turn pixels into words, words into sentences, and sentences into motions and briefs—documents that, they hope, will turn into justice for their clients. Annie is experimenting with Scrivener, Ben is stuck in Microsoft Word, and they both rave about TextExpander. Also: Ben talks a little about typefaces and typography.   

Show notes for Episode 8: Processing Words

The first thing to remember about word processing: the files are in the computer...

Annie has been working with a Mac-only word processing application called Scrivener. If Annie's brief overview piques your curiosity, there is a whole Mac Power Users episode about Scrivener and David Sparks writes for MacWorld about why and how he uses Scrivener for his business writing. 

[CORRECTION: A listener wrote in after the show to note that Scrivener is available on Windows as well as Mac OSX. Gotta love listener feedback.] 

Text Expander is what both Ben and Annie use to save (lots of) time. It really is so cool once you get into it. 

Brett Terpstra has made an amazing chart to help you choose from among many of the most popular iOS text editors. Ben recommends Byword for beginners and Editorial for people who want their minds blown. 

Ben mentioned a great Mac Power Users episode about "cooking ideas". This is how David Sparks describes the creative process for many of his best projects. It moves from mindmapping with Mindnode to an outline in OmniOutliner to (sometimes) Scrivener or other text editor.  

The font Ben uses is called Equity and it's designed by Matthew Butterick, who is a lawyer and typeface designer and author of Typography for Lawyers, which is an awesome book. You should totally read the book, but in case you want some of the "best of", Ben wrote a short article summarizing some of the book's most important points. 

Two things that Ben did not mention in the show but wants to link to: Editorially is a web app that allows people to collaborate on writing projects online. It looks really, really cool. Also, if you're writing a lot for the web, consider learning about Markdown

Show credits

Many thanks to Cast Iron Filter for letting us use "Tamarack" from their live album, "Live from the Highway", as our bumper music. CIF's music is available on iTunes and it is simply the best. If your travels take you down a two-lane highway, do not leave home without CIF.  

Photo credit for the "start button" image in our cover art goes to Mijn. Thanks for taking a cool picture and sharing it on Flickr.

Connect

Annie has a website and accounts on Facebook and Twitter

So does Ben: websiteFacebookTwitter.

 Subscribe to the podcast feed in iTunes to get future episodes automatically. If you like the show, please rate the show in iTunes or leave a review . There's really nothing better you can do than rate and/or review the show on iTunes to help new people find this podcast. Of course, tweets and links on Facebook don't hurt, either. 

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Let's Start a Law Firm, Episode 7: Getting Help, Part 2

What do you do when you can't do it all?  

Annie and Ben discuss the various avenues available to small firms and solo practitioners to get the legal work that needs doing done. When do you need to hire an associate? A paralegal? How does co-counseling a case work? When would you want to seek the help of a co-counsel? All this, plus law students, interns, administrative assistants, and contract attorneys.  

Show Notes for Episode 7: Getting Help, Part 2

Kentucky has a rule governing fee-sharing between attorneys and the disclosures that must be provided to the client when attorneys are sharing a fee. Pay special attention to subsection (e). 

One of the benefits of co-counseling a case? Having someone beside you to remind you that a) "nothing is fucked here, dude" and that b) "you are being very undude". (Nevermind that in this analogy the co-counsel, Walter, is the entire cause of the problems that ensue.)  

Can't get enough Lebowski? Probably time to get some sweet bumperstickers.  

Ben talked a lot about his awesome associate. You can follow him (Josh) on Twitter.  

Gerry Spence, come on our show as a guest anytime. Call us.  

Here's the USA Today article about unpaid interns. And, for good measure, Ben's article on generational warfare

Show credits

Many thanks to Cast Iron Filter for letting us use "Tamarack" from their live album, "Live from the Highway", as our bumper music. CIF's music is available on iTunes and it is simply the best. If your travels take you down a two-lane highway, do not leave home without CIF.  

Photo credit for the "start button" image in our cover art goes to Mijn. Thanks for taking a cool picture and sharing it on Flickr.

Connect

Annie has a website and accounts on Facebook and Twitter

So does Ben: websiteFacebookTwitter.

 Subscribe to the podcast feed in iTunes to get future episodes automatically. If you like the show, please rate the show in iTunes or leave a review . There's really nothing better you can do than rate and/or review the show on iTunes to help new people find this podcast. Of course, tweets and links on Facebook don't hurt, either. 

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BONUS: Getting Things Done and the Law

In this informal bonus material, Ben and Annie discuss a few basic principles in David Allen's book, Getting Things Done, and how they use Omnifocus, Moleskines, Field Notes notebooks, and 3x5 cards to stay sane and practice law. 

They do this not because they're good, but because they're bad.  

Show notes for "Getting Things Done and the Law" 

Getting Started with Getting Things Done 

David Allen's Getting Things Done 

Merlin Mann's 43 Folders website (no longer updated, but still very, very good) .

Other things we talk about: 

Annie wants a better name for the Hipster PDA

David Allen's Incompletion Trigger List for GTD-style mindsweeps

OmniFocus for next actions. OmniOutliner for, erm, outlining.  

Field Notes and Moleskine notebooks. Or "mow-lah-skee-nay" if you're one of THOSE people. Here's the Traveling Salesman edition Annie was admiring and to which Ben referred to as having "pistachio" paper (placing him in the top (or bottom, depending on your perspective) 0.3% of men in America who would ever  use "pistachio" as a color). 

Ben didn't mention it, but Annie asked about email processing, sooo... Merlin Mann's Inbox Zero talk. It's the place for anyone looking for help redefining their relationship to email.  

Ben had a lot of zeros in his number as a kid. NOT SAFE FOR WORK OR KIDS. Everything is amazing and nobody is happy:

 

Show credits

Many thanks to Cast Iron Filter for letting us use "Tamarack" from their live album, "Live from the Highway", as our bumper music. CIF's music is available on iTunes and it is simply the best. If your travels take you down a two-lane highway, do not leave home without CIF. 

Photo credit for the "start button" image in our cover art goes to Mijn. Thanks for taking a cool picture and sharing it on Flickr.

Connect

Annie has a website and accounts on Facebook and Twitter

So does Ben: websiteFacebookTwitter.

 Subscribe to the podcast feed in iTunes to get future episodes automatically. If you like the show, please rate the show in iTunes or leave a review. There's really nothing better you can do than rate and/or review the show on iTunes to help new people find this podcast. Of course, tweets and links on Facebook don't hurt, either. 

Questions, Comments, and Criticisms *
Questions, Comments, and Criticisms

Let's Start a Law Firm, Episode 6: Getting Help, Part 1

What is your job and what should be someone else's job when you're starting a law firm? Ben and Annie begin talking about the questions of whether and when and how to hire help by talking about an area in which they both (badly) needed help (and fast): bookkeeping. 

Quickbooks is the program that most bookkeepers use to keep books. Ben and Annie both tried with varying success to use it themselves to keep their books when starting out. We don't know anyone that loves Quickbooks. But, for double-entry bookkeeping, it's the lingua franca of the business world. 

Lynda.com: online tutorials for all sorts of things from photography, to computer programming, to, yes, Quickbooks. 

Quickbooks University: A Quickbooks training program by Mat Hultquist

Annie's fru-fru college that didn't teach her math is New College. Other famous alums include David Allen and Merlin Mann.  

Austin Cooper, Ben's Louisville-based bookkeeper.  (Yes, he has discussed with her how easy and important it might be for her to have a one-page website on Squarespace.)

Also in need of a Squarespace site: Stuedle, Spears, & Francke, Annie's bookkeeper and accountant. She uses Kristen Stuedle.  

And, finally, Ben uses Chuck Hendrix to prepare his taxes. Chuck is a great guy.  

Show credits

Many thanks to Cast Iron Filter for letting us use "Tamarack" from their live album, "Live from the Highway", as our bumper music. CIF's music is available on iTunes and it is simply the best. If your travels take you down a two-lane highway, do not leave home without CIF.  

Photo credit for the "start button" image in our cover art goes to Mijn. Thanks for taking a cool picture and sharing it on Flickr.

Connect

Annie has a website and accounts on Facebook and Twitter

So does Ben: websiteFacebookTwitter.

 Subscribe to the podcast feed in iTunes to get future episodes automatically. If you like the show, please rate the show in iTunes or leave a review. There's really nothing better you can do than rate and/or review the show on iTunes to help new people find this podcast. Of course, tweets and links on Facebook don't hurt, either. 

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Let's Start a Law Firm, Episode 5: The Law Firm Electric, Part I

In this episode, Annie and Ben survey the computer hardware they use in their law practices. They begin by encouraging lawyers to use whichever platform—Mac or PC—with which they're most comfortable. (Turns out, starting a business is not a great time to master new systems.) Then, our nerds reveal the computers, monitors, printers, scanners, and, yes, power strips they use to covert 1s and 0s into justice for the little guys and gals of Kentucky.  

Show Notes for Episode 5: The Law Firm Electric, Part I

Annie had an Apple IIe growing up. Ben had an Apple IIc. Annie learned to type. Ben played Moon Patrol.  

Annie suggests using the Apple Store near you or MacAuthority for free tutorials on the programs on your Mac.  

Other resources for hardware and software in law offices

"We are the valkyries into Mac Power User heaven."  Maybe the best thing either Ben or Annie have said yet. And also true. Mac Power Users is a must-listen podcast for tech nerds and aspiring tech nerds. (Remember: all lawyers should be either tech nerds or aspiring tech nerds.) Hosted by two attorneys—David Sparks (MacSparky blog) and Katie Floyd—the Mac Power Users podcast's back-catalog on topics like read-it-later apps and services, syncing and sharing data, essential iPad apps, options for website creation, and gifts for geeks (like your favorite podcasters...) ought to keep you busy for months. 

Macs in Law Offices is the Google Group Ben mentioned. It was started by Ben Stevens and the late, great Kentucky gem, Finis Price

Ben recommends using hover.com (with the offer code DANSENTME for a 10% discount) to register your law firm's domain name and get yourself a legit email address. 

Ben rants a little about SEO (search engine optimization) and the common misconception among attorneys that SEO is some magic dust they can buy and sprinkle across their websites. The real key: do something useful IRL and share what you've learned online. Here's a link to a blog post about SEO with more links to great videos about how to build a website that is actually useful. 

One thing Ben failed to mention in his rant is that Squarespace helps you create excellent, useful metadata for your site that will naturally help with SEO.  

Here's Ben's post about Records Requests for Kentucky's Motor Vehicle Commission that he used as an example of what a non-skeezy, useful  blog post looks like. He used HelloFax to receive the  Commission's fax in his email inbox and pdfPen Pro to edit the Commission's fax. 

The Louisville-based Two State Champs (Twitter) are excellent graphic designers. They did the mark and design for the header on bencarterlaw.com, as well as Ben's letterhead and business cards. Amanda Bishop (one half of the two-person team) also does handpainted murals and signs.  

Both Annie and Ben use the Mac platform. Ben uses an 11-inch MacBook Air and a cinema display at the office. The Omni Group makes both OmniFocus and OmniOutliner.  

Printers and Scanners 

Both Ben and Annie use Fujitsu Scansnap scanners in their practice and Brother printers. Ben and Annie both have the Fujitsu 1500, but the Fujitsu iX500 is the newest model from the scanning champion. (It's also less expensive than the suddenly-costly 1500 for some reason.) Ben uses the black-and-white Brother HL-5470DW to print his artisanal briefs and thoughtful correspondence.

The other printer Ben uses all the time is his Dymo LabelWriter 450 Twin Turbo. He actually owns two. At work, he uses the two label spools to print envelope labels and, very occasionally, file folder labels. At home, he prints envelope labels and stamps. You haven't lived until you've owned a label printer. 

Here's a post about using Evernote to tag legal research for future use.  

Doxie makes a good wireless, portable scanner.  

Get your cables from Monoprice.com unless you just like being a sucker and paying too much money for cables.  

THIS is how your power strip should look.  

Al Pacino's speech from "Any Given Sunday": 

In your law firm, you fight for those inches!

Show credits

Many thanks to Cast Iron Filter for letting us use "Tamarack" from their live album, "Live from the Highway", as our bumper music. CIF's music is available on iTunes and it is simply the best. If your travels take you down a two-lane highway, do not leave home without CIF.  

Photo credit for the "start button" image in our cover art goes to Mijn. Thanks for taking a cool picture and sharing it on Flickr.

Connect

Annie has a website and accounts on Facebook and Twitter

So does Ben: websiteFacebookTwitter.

 Subscribe to the podcast feed in iTunes to get future episodes automatically. If you like the show, please rate the show in iTunes or leave a review. There's really nothing better you can do than rate and/or review the show on iTunes to help new people find this podcast. Of course, tweets and links on Facebook don't hurt, either. 

 

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Let's Start a Law Firm, Episode 4: Finding and Choosing Clients

After descending into some self-indulgent office supply nerdery in the last episode, Ben and Annie get back to the bu$ine$$ of starting a law firm. The foundation of every firm is the clients it serves. So, Annie and Ben attempt to answer some important questions that every start-up attorney must answer: How do I find potential clients? How do I help potential clients find me? Once we've found each other, how do I know whether to take a case? Under what conditions will I take the case? How do I get paid? Topics include: attorney advertising, "networking", social media, attorney websites (and attorney non-websites), fee arrangements, invoicing, and retainer agreements. 

How to Find Clients

Annie is reading Get Clients Now, a 28-day program by CJ Hayden

Ben and Annie recommend a number of different ways of "networking" and being known in the legal and non-legal communities. Ben has done some presentations about foreclosure for the Kentucky Bar Association with support from the Network Center for Community Change in Louisville, Kentucky.  

Joining and contributing your time and talent to relevant organizations is a good idea. Ben is a member of the National Association of Consumer Advocates (NACA), the Kentucky Justice Association and remains engaged with Legal Aid Society (his former employer (not the one that fired him)) and other public interest attorneys in Kentucky. Annie is a member of both the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Unmentioned in the podcast itself but worth mentioning here is that before you go about finding clients, you might want to think about what kind of clients you want, what kind of work you want to do, and under what conditions you are willing to do that work. For help with these questions, Ben recommends without reservation, Back to Work by Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin. You might start with Episode #5: Chigger Bites on the Bus Driver.

Follow Up (FU) 

Chase Bank has a Health Savings Account. Solo or small firm practitioners with high-deductible health plans should look into this (or other Health Savings Accounts) as an option to set-aside pre-tax dollars for health-related expenses. The National Association of the Self-Employed (NASE) is a good resource for this kind of thing. 

Turns out: there's a whole podcast about pens and paper on the mighty 5by5 podcast network. It's called The Pen Addict. Don't miss the most recent episode with Bryan Bedell of Field Notes and a related interview with Jim Coudal, founder of Field Notes.

 

Show credits

Many thanks to Cast Iron Filter for letting us use "Tamarack" from their live album, "Live from the Highway", as our bumper music. CIF's music is available on iTunes and it is simply the best. If your travels take you down a two-lane highway, do not leave home without CIF.  

Photo credit for the "start button" image in our cover art goes to Mijn. Thanks for taking a cool picture and sharing it on Flickr.

Connect

Annie has a website and accounts on Facebook and Twitter

So does Ben: websiteFacebookTwitter.

 Subscribe to the podcast feed in iTunes to get future episodes automatically. If you like the show, please rate the show in iTunes or leave a review. There's really nothing better you can do than rate and/or review the show on iTunes to help new people find this podcast. Of course, tweets and links on Facebook don't hurt, either. 
 

Questions, Comments, and Trollish Criticisms *
Questions, Comments, and Trollish Criticisms

Let's Start a Law Firm, Episode 3: The Analog Law Firm

In Episode 3 of Let's Start a Law Firm, Ben and Annie explore the non-electronic technologies they use in their practices. In other words, after discussing the various things to consider when deciding whether and what kind of office space to get, our nerds turn quickly to a discussion of their favorite pens, paper, and office products. Ben rhapsodizes about a stapler for a while, an envelope for a little while longer, and his Geek Desk.

Riveting stuff. 

Show notes for Episode 3: The Analog Law Firm

Office Space

Annie has shared office space in the same building as the Louisville Bar Association on Main Street.  

Ben has an office in Bahe, Cook, Cantley, and Nefzger. He used to be in the Starks Building

Working from home? The IRS has simplified the process of claiming the home office deduction. Ben still doesn't think you should take it. He also thinks you should talk to your tax guy or gal and not take tax advice from him.

Ben mentions Back to Work again, so it's worth saying again that if you need to work on time management, setting boundaries, "productivity", or need help thinking about how to do "knowledge work", you should listen to it.  

Office Supplies

Pens  

Ben's Zebra Sarasa Gel Rollerball Fine 0.5 Pens: strong flow, no smearing, exact.

Annie's Dr. Grip medium point blue pen. 

Not mentioned in the show, but worthy of a show note: the Tul Retractable pen. Ben used this pen for a long time, but the ink smeared on 3x5 cards. If that's not going to be a problem for you, the Tul feels great as it moves across the paper.  

Ben is also fancy enough to like to use a signing pen for correspondence and pleadings. He wouldn't have probably thought to do this except a Pentel Sign Pen somehow showed up in his office supplies. You worked hard on that demand letter. The Sign Pen shows you mean it. 

Paper 

Annie uses Moleskine notebooks. Ben uses Field Notes.  For the last five years (up until a month ago), he relied exclusively on the Hipster PDA and still thinks that it's the best solution for him. It's just that he loves these little notebooks so much. 

(Aside: Frank and Oak is a good place to get good-looking threads for men.) 

These Rhodia notebooks are costly, but they are a great size and if your scanner automatically detects both sides of the page, using unlined paper means you won't get blank back pages in your scans. 

Ben recently purchased the Ampad 100% Recycled 8 1/2" x 11 3/4" Notepad for daily use at the office. It is pretty standard paper, but eco-friendlier than others and the perforation delivers a unique and pleasing "popping" sensation as it tears.  

Turns out: there's a whole podcast about pens and paper on the mighty 5by5 podcast network. It's called The Pen Addict. Don't miss the most recent episode with Bryan Bedell of Field Notes and a related interview with Jim Coudal, founder of Field Notes. 

Envelopes

Get No. 10 envelopes like these: white and with peel-off adhesive.  

And, make sure to use some 6x9 envelopes. Here's Ben's paean to the 6x9 envelope.  And his Amazon review of the 100% Recycled Ampad Earthwise 9x12 envelope. 

For thick pleadings that you can't fold and that have exhibit tabs, you'll need a 10x12 envelope. The Columbia White does a good job.  

Desks

Ben uses a Geek Desk. He bought the big one because there was less of a wait than the regular-sized one. He's super happy with it. If you have the space and the dough, go for it.

If you're going to use a stand-up desk, make sure to budget for a floor mat. It makes a big difference.

Annie uses an old-school desk to protect against the New Madrid fault.  

(Asides: Ben's other splurge when starting up his firm was the entire library of National Consumer Law Center books. Ben doesn't want a treadmill desk. He wanted to start a farm school.) 

Here is the Adjustable Vented Laptop Table Annie uses. A picture is worth a thousand words.  

The Prodigy PaperPro is the only stapler that our listener(s) should be using.

For three-hole punching, Annie recommends the Swingline LiteTouch. If you know going into the job that you're going to be doing a lot of three-hole punching, consider just keeping some pre-punched paper in stock. And buying pre-punched legal pads

Ben uses E-Legal Supply (not "Illegal Supply") for his exhibit tabs and redwelds.  

Ben and Annie agree: if you're going to buy file cabinets, make sure they're Hon-brand file cabinets. Craigslist is a great resource for used Hon file cabinets.  

Additional Analog Items

Not exactly analog, but mentioned in the show: Annie's phone headset so she can make Keurig coffee while talking with clients. (For the record, like a good nerd, Ben uses an Aeropress to brew his Tonx coffee.)

Kleenex: Get the good ones.  You care about your clients. Show them with Kleenex. 

Command Strips for hanging items, wrangling cables, etc.   

Sodastream for fizzy water.  

Mongoose scooter. For getting a) to the courthouse and b) chicks.  

Podcasting equipment: Alessis 8-channel mixer and Rode Procaster microphones (get the boom arm and shockmount, as well. Ben and Annie could probably use pop filters, come to think of it...)  

Amazon Prime

How are you going to get all this great stuff to your office? Amazon Prime

Show credits

Many thanks to Cast Iron Filter for letting us use "Tamarack" from their live album, "Live from the Highway", as our bumper music. CIF's music is available on iTunes and it is simply the best. If your travels take you down a two-lane highway, do not leave home without CIF.  

Photo credit for the "start button" image in our cover art goes to Mijn. Thanks for taking a cool picture and sharing it on Flickr.

Connect

Annie has a website and accounts on Facebook and Twitter

So does Ben: websiteFacebookTwitter

 Subscribe to the podcast feed in iTunes to get future episodes automatically. If you like the show, please
rate the show in iTunes or leave a review. There's really nothing better you can do than rate and/or review the show on iTunes to help new people find this podcast. Of course, tweets and links on Facebook don't hurt, either. 
 

Comments, Questions, and Rants... *
Comments, Questions, and Rants...
What did we screw up? What's your favorite pen? Are stand-up desks of the devil? Let us know....

Let's Start a Law Firm, Episode 2: It's a Business

In Episode 2 of Let's Start a Law Firm, Annie and Ben outline the unglamorous aspects of starting a business: creating a business entity, registering with the Secretary of State, setting up business banking, IOLTA accounts, and the various types of insurance you might want to buy. They also explore all of the ways attorneys get paid and talk about what fee arrangements they use in their own practice. Plus, Annie attempts to save the episode with some jokes about hipsters. 

Show Notes for Episode 2: It's a Business

Getting Your Business Set Up

Kentucky Secretary of State: Online Business Registration

Nolo.com: What is a Professional Limited Liability Company?

Banking

Ben banks with Chase. Ben feels bad about banking with Chase.  (Sidebar: They did not discuss it on the show, but setting up a Health Savings Account is a good way to set aside pre-tax dollars for out-of-pocket medical expenses. A few days after recording this show, Ben set one up through Chase.)

Annie banks with PNC and feels good about it.  

For people in the Louisville area, Ben recommends checking out First Citizens Bank as a local alternative to a national bank.  

Expense-tracking Apps

Annie has tried a lot of them: Expense CloudExpensify, Receipts to Go, and Receipts HD.  

He didn't mention it in the show, but Ben used and loves Harvest for time- and expense-tracking. As he'll discuss in a future show, he's considering switching away from Rocket Matter ($50/month) to Harvest ($12/month).  

IOLTA Trust Accounting

The Kentucky Bar Association has a website with resources for setting up and administering IOLTA Trust Accounts. You have  to read their .pdf "Client Trust Account: Principles and Management for Kentucky Lawyers" before  starting your own law firm and opening a client trust account. This is something you are simply not allowed to screw up. 

Insurance

Ben has worked with Dick Burks of the Louisville-based Van Zandt, Emrich, & Cary  in the past to help find the best deal on "professional liability insurance" (this is what insurance companies want you to call legal malpractice insurance). They help shop your info around among a bunch of different insurance providers. 

Ben is currently insured by Lawyers Mutual Insurance of Kentucky.  They were able to write him a policy the quickest when he needed it. 

Annie uses Laurie Dobbins Brun at Kiely Hines in Louisville. She purchased insurance from Hanover Insurance Company.  

Other Links

Frank Haddad was awesome.  

Some helpful hipster jokes

Info on Small Business Administration loans.

Comments and Questions *
Comments and Questions
Did we space on an obvious point? Do you have opinions? Share them below.
Yes. Obviously. No. Obviously.

Show credits

Many thanks to Cast Iron Filter for letting us use "Tamarack" from their live album, "Live from the Highway", as our bumper music. CIF's music is available on iTunes and it is simply the best. If your travels take you down a two-lane highway, do not leave home without CIF.  

Photo credit for the "start button" image in our cover art goes to Mijn. Thanks for taking a cool picture and sharing it on Flickr.

Connect

Annie has a website and accounts on Facebook and Twitter

So does Ben: websiteFacebookTwitter.  

 Subscribe to the podcast feed in iTunes to get future episodes automatically. If you like the show, please rate the show in iTunes or leave a review. There's really nothing better you can do than rate and/or review the show on iTunes to help new people find this podcast. Of course, tweets and links on Facebook don't hurt, either. 

Let's Start a Law Firm, Episode 1: The Touchy–Feely

In this inaugural episode of Annie and Ben's short-run podcast, "Let's Start a Law Firm", they discuss the reasons why an attorney (or attorneys) might want to start their own law firm. SPOILER: For Annie, it's all about the Benjamins and for Benjamin, well, he got fired. They also talk about the timing of starting your own firm, as well as meta-issues of why they want to do a podcast about starting a law firm, who they're doing it for, and what books and podcasts have been useful-slash-inspiring to them along the way. 

 Subscribe to the podcast feed in iTunes to get future episodes automatically. If you like the show, please rate the show in iTunes or leave a review. There's really nothing better you can do than rate and/or review the show on iTunes to help new people find this podcast. Of course, tweets and links on Facebook don't hurt, either. 

Show notes for Let's Start a Law Firm, Episode 1: The Touchy–Feely

The "student loan forgiveness program" for public service lawyers that ultimately pushed Annie into private practice.  

Ben's rant about generational warfare called "Eat the Young" and the student loan crisis. Plus, a mind-bendingly awful chart about the student load debt Americans carry today. 

The law school commencement address Ben will never be invited to give in which he explores how deeply unhelpful law school is to its students and their future clients.   

Helpful-slash-inspirational books and podcasts 

Books

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihaly

So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love by Cal Newport

Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin

Win Your Case: How to Present, Persuade, and Prevail—Every Place, Every Time by Gerry Spence 

Rework by the people at 37 Signals 

Solo By Choice: How to Be the Lawyer You Always Wanted to Be by Carolyn Elefant

How to Start and Build a Law Firm by Jay Foonberg

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

Podcasts

If you are new to listening to podcasts, two thing: First, WELCOME! Second, you may want to consider getting a dedicated app on your iPhone or other mobile device to listen to podcasts. This class of apps is called "podcatchers" and you can buy them in the App Store. Ben uses Downcast. Instacast is very popular with the nerds, as well. Annie uses Stitcher and Ben is not judging her for that.

Here are two podcasts that have been helpful to Ben. Not with the specific work of practicing law, but with the meta-work of figuring out what kind of work he wants to do and under what conditions he will do that work.  

Quit! with Dan Benjamin

Back to Work with Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin

Contact the show hosts... *
Contact the show hosts...
Did we miss something? Did we nail it? Do you have a follow-up question? Let us know....

Show credits

Many thanks to Cast Iron Filter for letting us use "Tamarack" from their live album, "Live from the Highway", as our bumper music. CIF's music is available on iTunes and it is simply the best. If your travels take you down a two-lane highway, do not leave home without CIF.  

Photo credit for the "start button" image in our cover art goes to Mijn. Thanks for taking a cool picture and sharing it on Flickr.

Thanks to Daniel Jalkut and John Gruber for this episode of The Talk Show. It gave Ben the permission he needed to do a short-run podcast.

And, many thanks to Michael Powell, who helped Ben set up his audio equipment and learn a little more about Garage Band. Michael is a mensch who is great at Twitter. If there's a problem with the audio, it's Ben's fault. 

Connect

Annie has a website and accounts on Facebook and Twitter

So does Ben: website, Facebook, Twitter.