I am new to the legal blogger community. So bear with me while I learn how to do this. I am a law practice management consultant working with lawyers and small to mid-size law firms in the areas of business, practice and risk management. I reside in Tennessee and mostly practice in Tennessee but am looking to expand my practice a bit into the Southeast, mostly.
My "riskybiz" blog name is reflective of what I find in my consulting practice. Practicing law is a risky business . . . in a number of ways. Lawyers are more and more at risk for malpractice claims due to both substantive and administrative errors. The competitive (internal and external) environment in which lawyers practice and the seemingly universal need lawyers have to make more and more money is creating, in my view, a crisis of significant proportions in the stability of law firms, the quality of life for lawyers and; as a result, the quality of the expertise and service they are delivering to their clients (which creates more malpractice claims and ethics violations - it's circular).
I see a need for a change in thinking about how to build and maintain a successful, effective, viable law practice - whether it be a solo practitioner or a mega-firm. I have been a small voice for the "practicing law is a business" philosophy. I am now wondering if lawyers and legal consultants have taken that too much to heart and find that the sensitive balance between law as an "art form" and as a business has tipped too far to the business side, leaving in its wake unhappy lawyers, fragile law firms and dis-satisfied clients.
We all also see the practice drastically changing with the increased use of the internet and the availability of on-line legal services. As lawyers try to take advantage of these new technologies, the professionalism and ethics guidelines are lagging in providing guidance to lawyers about how to "practice" ethically. Some might say that the ethics rules require a drastic overhaul; that the basis of some of the rules are no longer valid.<>
It's an interesting time for lawyers. I am not an academic on this subject and I'm not a lawyer. But I do see first-hand how all of these stresssors are in combination impacting lawyers - how difficult it is becoming for them to know what to do. I'm not so sure that legal consultants are really helping them find real, long-term solutions. These times certainly do not call for "cookie-cutter" solutions - advising lawyers is not a "commodity" practice - none of them are the same - all of them need customized attention and advice.
I'm also not quite sure how my blog will develop. However, I welcome your comments and thoughts.>