Law Practice Vault

Ryan McKeen practicing law. Or at least pretending to for the photographer.
Ryan McKeen practicing law in September of 2013. Or at least pretending to for the photographer.

This is my law practice vault. It contains advice and tips for starting and running your law firm. Or simply improving your firm. Check the dates on the posts. I rarely update my old posts. By rarely I mean never. Or like I did once in 2008.

Thank you for reading this blog. It is a passion of mine. Thank you for reaching out. It makes it all worth it. I am grateful for my audience. I love listening to and sharing ideas with other lawyers.

I started this blog in 2007 and have been at it since then. I started practicing law in 2005. This blog is my attempt to help you. Even if we never meet. I write about issues that arise in my practice.

I’ve written for the ABA Journal, Solo Practice University, and local publications. This site has been named by the ABA  as one of the top 100 law blogs. But those things don’t matter. What matters is the rich content below.

Most of what I post here in terms of advice comes from many long hours of me trying. If I recommend product A it is probably because I have tried an dismissed products A,B,C and D. I am not paid for anything that I recommend. If I receive some discount on a service it is posted for your information. Any benefit I receive is incidental. My credibility matters far more than some 5% discount.

There are no ads on this site. No one pays me to write it. There is no subscription. It’s just here for you. No need to sign up for a damn newsletter that you’ll never read. Just check the blog often. Comment. Share. Email me.

If this blog has helped you in any way please pay it forward. Do something kind for someone. Someone who doesn’t even know who you are. That is the true mission of this site.

With gratitude,

Ryan

Additionally I am available for speaking engagements and law practice consulting. I share the low hanging fruit on the practice page of this site. The secret sauce will never be posted. The true cutting edge things I’m doing give me a competitive advantage and help me get results for my clients. Let me know if you’d like a consult on your practice.

And my firm is driven by referrals. If you would like me to review a Connecticut Personal Injury case please contact me at 860 471 8333. Cases are both high compliments and how I keep my lights on.

Here are some articles that you may find of use. Please poke around. There’s no particular order to these posts. Feel free to click on links in the posts and use the search function on this site.

I hope you find something here that makes your law practice better.

Law Practice Vault

Trial Presentation: Getting Evidence on A Screen

A clean trial presentation is a must. Here is how I do it. This post contains every piece of hardware and software necessary to provide you with the tools the pros use at a reasonable cost. Quit paying someone to set up your projector. Trial Presentation: Getting Evidence on A Screen

A Robot Does My Scheduling. Her Name Is Amy

Juggling my law practice schedule is difficult. In this short week, I have a panel meeting, 3 pretrials, a status conference, an evidentiary hearing, multiple client meetings, and we start jury selection. There’s a telephone conference with my accountant. And another one with a vendor. Those are just my professional obligations. On the personal side there is getting children to school and daycare. There’s soccer practice on Thursday. And I have a doctor’s appointment. That’s your week, too.  A month ago I started using x.ai. x.ai is a scheduling bot. Learn about Amy here. She’s awesome. She even sent me a real gift. For real.

4 Steps To Going Paperless

Do you want a paperless law practice? Are you lost on where to start? Good news. Here’s where you start. This is one of the shortest posts that I’ve written. I cut to the chase. The paper chase. Learn the 4 Steps to Going Paperless here.

Ruby Receptionists Review

One of the first/best things you should hire someone to do is answer your phones. We use Call Ruby. Here’s my review of Ruby Receptionists. 

Audible: The Best Buy In Attorney CLE

Finding the time to read books can be difficult. I consume amazing valuable content find in books via Audible. It is the best value play in continuing legal education. You won’t get credit but that doesn’t matter. You’ll learn from the masters. And you’ll better serve your clients.  Audible The Best Buy In Attorney CLE

 Practice Gratitude

Gratitude is a super power. Infuse your law practice and your life with gratitude. Learn how here. Practice Gratitude.

Starting A Solo Law Firm Without An Office

One of the first questions someone thinking of opening a practice asks is “do I need an office?” In today’s digital world of video conferencing, messaging, and paperless law practices there is no need to be tied to a desk.  I started my law practice without an office. It was hard. Learn from my experience of Starting A Law Firm Without an Office Here. Yes, I discuss getting money in parking lots.

Picture Your First Day As A Solo

Or being self employed or whatever you call it. This post is about my first day. It features a picture of my first day at my very own law practice. What does your picture look like. Share it with me if you read this and are moved to snap a picture. I’d love to see it. Picture Your First Day as A Solo.

Choose Your Own Success

Nothing will make you depressed faster than comparing yourself to other lawyers. Lawyers are competitive people. There is necessary competition in the courtroom. There is destructive competition – look at that lawyer’s car, office, case list, publicity and the list goes on. By choosing to go solo you should also define your own success. Here are my thoughts. Choose Your Own Success.

Change One Thing

Practice is overwhelming. The to do list always seems longer than the hours in a day. Here’s what to do when you are overwhelmed and need to start making changes to your law practice. Change One Thing.

Starting A Law Firm? Choose Action

When you are starting or running a small practice there is no shortage of decisions to make. What is my firm name? What is my url? Who is going to host my website? Should I have a logo? There is endless advice on all of these topics on the internet. Starting a law practice is hard. Running a law practice is harder. My advice to you is to choose action above all else. Starting A Law Firm? Choose Action

Solving Email Overload

A 154,000 emails. I receive 100s of non-essential emails every day – listservs, newsletters, and ads. The struggle is real.Emails from clients and counsel are very important. Listserv emails are non-essential. Enter Sanebox. Here is my Review of SaneBox.

Amazon Dash Buttons May Make Your Life Easier

If you are running a small law firm there are all sorts of things – taxes, insurance audits, payroll, vendors and the list goes on. The work never stops in a day. You just stop working that day. Using Amazon Dash Buttons in your law practice makes life 250% more awesome. Guaranteed. Using Amazon Dash Buttons In Your Law Firm

Buy More of These Three Things

When starting a law firm, you’ll face challenges large and small. This post focuses on 3 overcoming of the smaller challenges for your law practice. Spending your money in these 3 areas can save you money, time, and embarrassment. Starting A Law Firm? Buy More of These 3 Things

Use A Password Manager

You have 154 accounts that require logins and passwords. Passwords are low hanging fruit for hackers. Protect yourself. Protect your clients. You law practice demands it. Use A Password Manager

Buy This Pen

Success is sweating the details. Getting the little things right or write. Buy This Pen. Your law practice will be like 430% more awesome. Not really. But your law practice will have better pens.

Starting Your Law Firm With Quickbooks

Starting your law firm with quickbooks? You should start your law firm with Quickbooks. Quickbooks done right. You are asking for trouble if your books are a mess. You are risking your law license, needlessly endangering your clients, and paying the wrong amount in taxes. Here’s how to do it right. Starting Your Law Firm With Quickbooks

Tracking Your Mileage

When I started my own firm, one of the things I was very bad at was keeping track of my mileage. Come tax time, my accountant would ask for my mileage log. I would then look back at my calendar, open google maps, and calculate mileage based on what was in my calendar. Things like trips to get supplies or to the bank never made my spreadsheet. As of March 30, 2016, the current IRS mileage rate is $.54. That adds up quickly. Here’s how to Track Your Mileage – The Easy Way.

An Extension Cord

Yes a post about an extension cord. You’ve waited your whole life for this moment. But really. You need an extension cord. Here’s why. There’s even a video. Hold your applause until the end.

Tip On Bringing Your Cell Phone To Court

This post may save you the following: being in contempt of court, a fine, embarrassing yourself, and possession of your prized cell phone. Here’s my advice on avoiding those pitfalls and bringing your cell phone to court.

Your Second Legal Malpractice Premium

You’ve made it. You’re nearing the end of that all important first year in business. You’re a success. Things have gone better than you’d hoped. You know your monthly expenses. Every month you’re working within your budget. You’re able to anticipate bills. Your legal malpractice premium is going to come due on your first anniversary. That premium is going to be more than you thought. That is unless you read this post.

4 Unexpected Expenses

You’ve thought of everything. You have a nice spreadsheet or cocktail napkin that projects out your monthly expenses. Add these 4  unexpected expenses to your list.

Opening Law Firm Bank Accounts

Nothing took more time or caused more unexpected frustration than opening my law firm’s bank accounts. Before you head to the bank make sure to read How To Open Bank Accounts. Banks are boring. I tried to make this post as interesting as I could. But still banks. Boring and Important since forever.

Choose A Bank Near Your Office

Banks again. More banks. Still important and boring. An proximity still matters. Choose a bank near your office.

How To Print A Single Check In Quickbooks

The video in this post has over 28k views on Youtube. It may be my greatest gift to the online world. You should buy your checks 3 to a page. And you should click here and find out why so many folks on Youtube have watched my silly video on printing a check.

Take Credit Cards. Put This In Your Fee Agreement.

Lawyers taking credit cards – read this – put this in your fee agreement. Credit cards can be all kinds of good for you and your clients. They may allow your client to come up with a retainer that may otherwise be difficult for them to do. It may allow them to pay more quickly. It may net your clients some Chase Ultimate Rewards Points. There are many, many, reasons from convenience to expedience to take credit cards. There are also problems. Protect Yourself. Put this in your fee agreement. 

Starting A Law Firm? Do These 5 Things First

Starting a law firm? Do these 5 things first. You’ve identified the dangers. You’ve deployed Revis Island level coverage to neutralize them. The dangers aren’t getting you. You’ve even walked through some spiderwebs. It’s now time to put your plan into action. You’re faced with a problem that I call “everything has to happen simultaneously but can’t”.Folks often ask, where do I start? The question invariably involves entity formation, bank accounts, and funding. The only way to tackle a problem like this is one step at a time Do These 5 Things First.

Your First Challenge

A very personal post about facing my fear of starting my practice. Read it. You are not alone. Beating the fear is your first challenge.

Get A Supplier

Amazon dash buttons don’t yet work for everything. And no. No I’m not hacking one. You need a supplier. Here’s mine.

The First Three Things You Should Do When Starting Your Law Practice

An updated take from my post on the First 5 Things You Should Do. Here’s some no holds barred practical advice.

Get A Firm Juris Number

Well do it. Just do it. Get a firm juris number.

Vision

You’re thinking about it. Amidst all of the other “stuff” you are thinking about – the practical stuff – your phone, your practice management system, and your business cards.  You wrestle with the question of what you want your firm to become. It is a question that will never leave you. Here’s my post on how to wrestle with vision.

Quoting A Fee

I no longer quote fees much. Most of my work is done on contingency. But before your quote your next fee – read this. It’ll make you money. And it contains a pop song.

10 Questions To Ask Before Going Solo

Before you start your law practice – ask yourself these 10 questions. I give you may answers. Those don’t matter. What matters is your answers. Get asking.

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