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Grow Your Firm with Matter Templates

Grow your firm with matter templates

Whether you’re going it alone or with a team, law firm growth can cause a lot of anxiety for an attorney. Sure, taking on more cases might mean more money, but it also can mean you’ll have to hire associates and support staff and juggle lots of work. This, in turn, can lead to miscommunication and missed deadlines. Plus, training your staff and going through the nuances of filing documents in certain jurisdictions both take up time that you could be billing instead. Regardless of all of that, who wouldn’t be anxious! As a lawyer you worry about losing clients, losing money, and bar sanctions.

So how do you handle this stress? Besides introducing a good meditation practice into your day, reputable legal practice management software can offer you some peace of mind. And the good news is that Rocket Matter’s new Matter Templates feature really helps you leverage technology and put processes in place that can ease the burdens of growth. With only a few clicks, it allows you to create paperless checklists for yourself and your staff, account for dealing with a quirky judge, automate filing deadlines, and put some time-saving processes in place.  Building and implementing templates also allows you to maintain consistency across your matters. Recent improvements to the software include feature improvements such as assigning events and tasks to roles instead of actual users and layering on as many templates as you need for matters already in progress.

Rocket Matter Matter Templates

 

Matter Templates can help automate your workflow and remind you about essential correspondence, deadlines, events, and tasks that are fairly standard across a matter type that comes through your office. Milestones allow you to trigger sub-tasks or other due dates that rely on the occurrence of an event or the completion of a phase in the case. The great thing about managing your own templates is that they can be built, customized, and modified by your firm, so the workflows will match how your firm does business. With Matter Templates, you can tighten up processes while you grow.

What’s the best way to use templates in your practice? When I’ve advised our users on the easiest way to get a working template going, I always ask them to think about the following questions before getting started:

When are you going to be using this template? Is it at the beginning of the case? This is a basic template type that you can create for all your matters.

What if the case moves to a different phase? If it settles, there’s a modification of spousal support, you’re served with discovery, preparing for trial, or you withdraw. All of these are smaller templates that you can layer on depending on what happens so you can automate a standard set of tasks and events to stay on top of things.

When building any templates, think about case types and descriptions, common characters and fields, and events, tasks, and deadlines that are the same. Then automate them! Get out those paper checklists and use them as a guideline to get you started. Once you’re done, you’ve taken your firm one step closer to being paperless. In reducing your firm’s long-term administrative burden, you’re free to focus on successfully resolving your client’s matters with a lot less stress.

The post Grow Your Firm with Matter Templates appeared first on Legal Productivity.

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13 Colored Mascaras That Will Make You Forget About Black

When we think of mascara, we usually think of black, black and more black. There’s a reason why black mascara is available in countless shades. You can find light black, deep black and blackest black. But black is far from your only option. There are many other colors that equally deserve a spot in your makeup bag.

You probably notice the brown and navy shades when you pick up your favorite black mascara, but you can find almost every color of the rainbow. Purple, green and blue are popular options, but you can also get gold and red colored mascaras.

A colored mascara can seem intimidating when you’re used to your tried-and-true black, but colored mascaras are actually more wearable than most bold eyeshadows or liners. What’s more, when you’re wearing a colored mascara, you don’t really need anything else to enhance your eyes. Just a swipe on your lashes is enough to make them pop. Take a look at the colored mascaras you can try besides your beloved black.

[ Next: 18 Beyond-Basic Mascara Looks You Haven’t Tried Yet ]

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The Three Most Import Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Commercial Collections Agency

writingEven if you do a great job researching potential new clients and have excellent paperwork and contracts, it will happen. Sooner or later, a business will stop paying you. If another business has owed you money for 90 days or more, there’s already a good chance that you won’t be able to recover the money you are owed. So, it may be time to seek help from a commercial collections agency. There are a wide variety of questions you could ask a potential agency to make sure that they are a good fit, but there are three questions you must ask!

1. Do you specialize in commercial collections?

Commercial collections refers to money that one business owes another. Because laws and regulations around commercial collections differ from those surrounding personal, or retail, collections, it’s important that you hire an agency that specializes in commercial collections. If you have a specialized industry, you may also want to see if the agency has worked in your industry before. Make sure to ensure that the agency is accredited and current with the latest laws and trends in commercial or corporate collections. Some positive indications about a collection agency are if they have a good rating with the Bet­ter Business Bureau and great online reviews at Trustlink and Google. It’s important to note that you should not put to much trust in sites claiming to be “collection agency review sites,” as many are actually paid advertising sites.

2. What is your collection philosophy?

Most collection agencies can be classified as either “firm and professional” or “forceful and intimidating.” If your hope is to maintain good relationships with those that owe you money, and you have any concerns about publicity, you most likely want a company that behaves in a firm and professional manner. It is possible that the forceful and intimidating approach may be right for you if that fits better with your company culture or clientele.

3. How will we communicate throughout the process?

There’s not necessarily a right or wrong answer to this question, but since communication problems are often at the root of debt problems, you don’t want to try and solve one set of problems by creating another. Before asking this question, give some thought for yourself as to how you like to communicate, and how often you want updates. The agency’s reporting procedures should be clearly defined, and available in writing.

In addition to these questions, always make sure to request references, and to ask those references how successful the agency was, how easy they were to work with, and whether the company received any complaints from those the agency collected from.

Often when you hire a collection agent, you’re already feeling somewhat emotional or stressed. It’s important not to let your frustrations about chasing down the money, or your anger at the overdue client cloud your judgment when it comes to choosing the right collection agency for you. Take time to ask good questions and choose an agency that can represent you, and get you your money!

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[Webinar Wrap-Up] Boost Revenues in 2017 with Automated Recurring Payments and Workflows

In case you missed it (or if you want to see it again!), here are the slides and video from our recent webinar: Boost Revenues in 2017 with Automated Recurring Payments and Workflows.

Discover how to boost your revenues significantly, collect money automatically, and save a lot of time with the latest additions to Rocket Matter Payments, the most powerful collection mechanism for law firms. We’ll cover how to set up payment plans and recurring payments and how to email all of your bills at once.

 

Boost Revenues in 2017 with Automated Recurring Payments and Workflows from Rocket Matter, LLC

 

Boost Revenues in 2017 with Automated Recurring Payments and Workflows from Rocket Matter on Vimeo.

 

Presenters:

Larry Port, Rocket Matter founder and CEO, is a speaker and award-winning writer at the crossroads of the legal profession, cutting edge technology, and law firm marketing. He frequently discusses design and efficiency and quality techniques in the software industry that can be leveraged by lawyers and legal professionals. He was named to the 2012 Fastcase 50 honoring the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries, and leaders.

Nefra MacDonald is the Customer Success Product Manager at Rocket Matter. After working in various capacities at law firms, corporations, and non-profits, she decided to use her experience to help address the pain points that practicing lawyers feel every day. She currently co-chairs Rocket Matter’s Product Advisory Committee, which serves as a source of targeted feedback for the company’s product improvement strategy.

Program recorded January 12, 2017

The post [Webinar Wrap-Up] Boost Revenues in 2017 with Automated Recurring Payments and Workflows appeared first on Legal Productivity.

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Making Your Small Business Virtually Unstoppable

ipadIn the modern age, it’s hard to stay ahead of the game. In fact, never mind staying ahead of the game – it’s impossible to keep up with the game sometimes. Technology is no different, and there are a string of virtual and online techniques that the most successful companies are using right now, of which your business may or may not be taking advantage.

Improving your company doesn’t need to cause you some big headache. Even if you’re not a “tech-savvy” corporation, technology is of vital importance to your success. You don’t need to be a team of experts to use it effectively or even understand its true purpose. There are always ways to use hardware, software and the internet to better any business in any industry. Here’s some advice for the entrepreneur or small business owner looking to achieve success through technology.

Start saving time and money

Your startup or local business may be fresh on the market right now, but all big things have small beginnings. As you grow, you have to play a smart game if you want to ensure your company doesn’t peak and plummet again; this depends on protecting your profits and your assets. Invest and save wisely.

The key to keeping a grasp on your business as its level of operations increase and the it experiences ever-larger influxes of data, placing more of a strain on your requirements, is to consolidate data through de-duplication software. This is about more than saving on storage space; it’s about saving your company time and money. There’s no need to buy additional physical servers, and keeping the business, as a whole, tightly managed doesn’t seem like such an insurmountable task.

Secure your important business data

One of the more important ways that virtual and online technology have transformed businesses over the last decade, other than their cost-effective applications, is their usefulness in securing sensitive company data. The old stereotype was that online storage

was fragile and insecure, in comparison to physical servers. However, this is only true when one considers public services available on the internet. It’s easy to see the webspace as some magical and non-physical entity, but it isn’t.

When you start to consider private ways of using the internet, opportunities open up for your business to better protect itself against loss of data. Rather than backing up information on your premises, and costing yourself excessive time and money both in terms of manpower for your server room and the servers themselves, you could instead backup your data in off-site locations.

Remember, your information will still be stored on a server; all information has to be stored physically somewhere. The difference is that you won’t be putting all your eggs in one basket, and your company’s irreplaceable documents and employee information won’t be stored on the premises, where they’re susceptible to theft or damage, should something ever happen to your office. It’s important that you always have a plan B, and technology can offer that backup plan.

Remote working can be a life-saver for your company

Incorporating virtual elements into your business can cause very real change to your company. Make no mistake about that. New technology isn’t just useful for cool gadgets or games. It can offer a whole new dimension for your business. I’m not suggesting you conduct an overhaul of your business’ existing operations, but there might be ways to tidy up some of the mess.

Remote working is one such solution afforded by the internet and secure Cloud services, for instance. As a small company, you need to safeguard your profits whilst you’re still growing, as you need all the money you can afford to spend on investments, without running into the red. Sometimes you need to re-assess how your team could better work, and not all job roles require physical presence in the office; not every day of the week, at least.

If a job role can be completed from home, you should allow your employees, or some of them, to do so. Not only will some employees be much happier to have the freedom to work from home, even if it’s only for three days a week, but you should be happier about the idea too. You’ll be able to review the salaries you offer for certain job positions, because travel expense will no longer be such a worry for employees.

Better yet, you won’t have to provide so many physical resources or materials on the company premises, as your workers will have access to all they need from home. There’s no understating the brilliance of affording employees the opportunity to work anywhere. Perhaps you’ll draw in employees from a wider search area as well, as there won’t be such a pressing need to come into your office limited by physical location. You could search through a wider pool of candidates for even better potential employees. In addition, communication will remain strong, as they could still have the opportunity to come in to the office for meetings, so no operations will be adversely affected by this change. The money your business saves through remote working, on the other hand, will go a long way.

Your business needs to grow quickly, and virtual technology is the key

I think we should look in slightly more depth into the power of virtual technology, and it all starts with the speed afforded to you by such technological software. This is something that can really benefit a small business looking to spread its wings and grow into a huge empire. Virtualising your servers is the key to a better business for so many reasons, as I’ve already extensively discussed and proven the cost benefits which come with using secure online software in place of outdated physical servers.

Virtual servers, however, have so many more benefits than that, and speed is one of them. If your employees are hard-working and you all have dreams of putting your determination towards a more effective business, then you shouldn’t be impeded by slow and outdated technology. The speed of virtual servers can help your business grow astronomically quickly, as you’ll complete more processes much more quickly within any given day. Your hardware needs to keep up with the fast-working brains of everyone working within your organisation, but it needs faster software to do that.

No downtime also means a more efficient and productive work day

When it comes to technology, the pros of its ease of use and seemingly limitless storage capabilities can often be weighed up against the cons of the temperamentality of technology in general. That’s why you need to be smarter and accept that technology will fail and let you down sometimes. The key is to prepare for when that happens and ensure that downtime doesn’t cost your business a huge chunk of its annual profit.

Virtual servers can ensure, should something go wrong, that your data is safe and that everything is up and running again within no time. Using software such as a Windows VPS could really make your business run so much more smoothly. Network downtime will strike at some point for any business, so a successful company looking to save time and money should prepare for that eventuality.

Use video marketing

Maybe your business already operates on quite a high-functioning level, and you’re wondering what more the internet can afford to you. Well, I think the important thing is to always consider the big picture. Technological hardware and software, along with the nature of the online world in general, is changing every day, and its usefulness to your business will never expire. There are always new tools that could help your small business evolve into something more, and, if it isn’t an operational or cost-effective improvement you’re looking for, then perhaps a brand-building solution is what you need to grow.

When it comes to marketing, the opportunities afforded by the internet are essentially endless. Billboards and posters get old in the real world, especially when everybody’s glued to their screens. You have to feel the market, and the market is becoming an increasingly technologically-inclined one. The millennial generation are becoming the biggest consumer-base on the planet, so you need to build around that.

Video marketing is a growing area of brand promotion on the internet, and it currently expanding quite rapidly. Solutions such as this could really help your business grow, because it shows that you’re thinking outside the box. A video combines the power of sharing through the internet with something real and tangible in the form of video content; it can’t be faked quite as easily as a text-based advert, for example.

Online marketing, in general, offers a huge boost to small businesses

Don’t underestimate the benefits of virtual marketing, because the biggest market in the world is made up of potential customers sitting behind their computer screens and browsing for goods and services in every industry; that includes yours. If you want to find your target audience, this is the place to be. It’s a chance to reinvent your brand, and you don’t have to stop at video marketing. You can communicate with customers through websites and social media profiles in ways that afford your business the opportunity to be more personal and engaging than it could ever be through a one-dimensional poster.

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Top Ways Lawyers Can Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Martin Luther King, Jr. SpeakingToday we celebrate and honor Martin Luther King, Jr., a leader in the Civil Rights Movement. His birthday was January 15th, and as you probably know we celebrate it the third Monday of January. We’re hoping you are not at work, but we know that many of you are. In fact, while government employees have the day off, only 37% of nonfederal employees do (which is actually an increase from previous years.)

Regardless of where you are, the question is what can we do to honor such a great man. As Dr. King himself once said, “Life’s most persistent question is: What are you doing for others?” As a lawyer, there are so many ways to answer this question.

Here are just a few ways you can “do for others” and, in turn, honor Martin Luther King, Jr.—not just today but on every day of the year:

  • Increase your amount of pro bono hours.
  • Contact your local bar association to see if they’re doing anything to honor the holiday. For instance,the Alaska Bar Association, along with several other organizations, organized a public service project where low-income Alaskans with civil needs can ask lawyers legal questions for free in areas throughout the state on MLK Day. Also, through the Austin Bar Association, the Austin Young Lawyers Association organizes a day of service where members can volunteer for various events in the area. Do a little digging, and you’ll surely find tons of opportunities to help right in your backyard.
  • Become a mentor. Call your local law school and offer to speak with students one-on-one to help them decide which area of law they might want to pursue. Some bar associations also offer mentoring services, so contact your city or state bar. Of course, you can also take a young employee on your staff under your wing. No matter where you are on the totem pole at work, there’s always someone who can use a little guidance from you.
  • Offer to give free talks at your local law school, bar association, or community center. You can even get in touch with your local high school to see if their debate team might need some extra tips from a pro. After all, a lot of those teenage debaters are the next generation of lawyers.

The post Top Ways Lawyers Can Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day appeared first on Legal Productivity.

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Growing Your Business Without Over-Borrowing

hatA lot of entrepreneurs want to become the next Google, Microsoft, or Apple. But few do. There is a key reason why. They copy what is popular, rather than being brave enough to innovate. As a business owner, if you copy the failures around you, you also will fail. What distinguishes successful companies from those who fail is their courage. Steve Jobs was willing to go to the Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn to cheaply build the iPhone at a high discount. Gates was clever enough to buy the DOS operating system from Paterson, and then made billions off of slightly modifying it for small computers.

Seeing opportunities that others are refusing to see is what distinguishes the great investor from the mediocre. Pink slip loans often become a reality for those who dream too large. Being overly realistic is bad as well, because than you become a slave of a corporation who has already been successful.

Warren Buffett, the billionaire who made Berkshire Hathaway a gigantic holding company, identified the secret to his success. Avoiding what others love, and loving what others avoid. What are other companies around you eager to do? Copy the successful people, go in debt, stay in USA, easy, leadership, popular, high prices, safe market, internet, or enjoyable. All of these qualities will give you a boatload of competitors to deal with. Buffett’s financial rule would say you should be avoiding these things like poison. They are choking your revenue. Everyone is grabbing for these qualities, like a shrinking pizza at a football game. The key is to bake a new pizza. Love what other people are avoiding. What are the people around you avoiding? Ignoring the successful people, saving, go international, hard, serving, unpopular, low prices, risky market, real world, and painful. If you do these things regularly in your business model, you will find lots of opportunities that your competitors are missing. Why? Everyone is avoiding these things.

The big companies did not get to their success overnight. They implemented the unpopular variables before they became mega popular. Copying an established company is like a toddler attempting to race a professional athlete. The toddler would be much wiser to play with blocks and slowly build coordination.

Resist the temptation to avoid risk. Resist the temptation to only do risky things. The successful path is more risky than Average Joe’s life, but safer than Gambler’s life. Think through what you are doing. Hang out with people who annoy you. They probably hold the secret to fixing your blind spots.

Organizational psychology can help immensely as well. All too often, the founders of a company are terrible at finishing the job. They have a lot of excitement for their growth, but then the credit card bill comes due. Put your people where they are best suited. The loud slick salespeople should not be the executive, though they usually are. The best executive is realistic and has big ideas. Gentlemen like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett are good examples. The worst executives are only realistic or only have big ideas.

Slick salespeople with big ideas belong in the advertising department. Do not let them flatter and manipulate their way to the top of your organization. If they remain at the head of the company, they will eventually mortgage you to the hilt, with loss of revenue. The realistic person should be the financial and personnel manager. This will keep your people from breaching ethical standards.

The Myers-Briggs personality type system can help, particularly if you use a quality free assessment such as that pioneered by Dr. Dario Nardi of UCLA. When you know your people’s brain style, you can put them in the place of the organization where they will thrive. Practical skeptics should not be your leaders. They tend to overestimate their own abilities while refusing to risk failure. No company ever succeeded by refusing to fail.

Growth comes when you pursue pain. There is no way around it. Listening to the overly cautious or the exaggerated promises of failures is not going to help your model. Do not expand too rapidly. A steady increase over time is much better than a catastrophic collapse after being too optimistic.

People have a nasty tendency to overestimate their own abilities. This goes for you. Make a self-assessment about what you are good and bad at. Your strengths and weaknesses could make or break your organization. If you do not see your blind spots, you will hit a tree eventually.

Do what you do not like to do for a good portion of the day. This will discipline your business, and help you become well rounded. Consider using the Islamic method of financing, where your creditors are shareholders in your company. This takes the pressure off of you to perform, and gives you experienced people who can guide your growth. A creditor who is on the team is better than a creditor who invades your team due to late bills. Have frequent communication with everyone. Do not let the cynic win. Have people with high emotional intelligence handling relationships.

Whether your business succeeds or fails is going to depend on how much you are willing to suffer. There is a strong correlation between having a tough work ethic and success. Doggedly pursue your goals, and ignore the naysayers. A moderate approach that wins is better than an extreme approach that loses.

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The Golden Ratio – What Is It And How To Use It

The golden ratio (or the divine proportion) is a mathematical constant that can be often seen in the natural world, as well as in the artwork throughout the history. In mathematical terms, when a is larger than b, and the two are added and then divided by a, the sum represents the golden ratio (1.618). […]

The post The Golden Ratio – What Is It And How To Use It appeared first on designrfix.com.

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David Sims Shoots a Series of Mesmerizing Portraits for Valentino’s Spring 2017 Campaign

Each season, there’s always one campaign that has us head over heels, and Valentino has managed to stand out once again after a truly epic Fall 2016 campaign. With Maria Grazia now heading up Christian Dior, Pierpaolo Piccioli‘s first campaign as solo creative director is sublime. Ditching Steven Meisel in favor of David Sims, Piccioli tapped models Christy Turlington, Liya Kebede, Fei Fei Sun, Julia Ratner, Mali Koopman, Blesnya Minher and Lorena Maraschi for a series of mesmerizing portraits.

Valentino S/S 2017 by David Sims

IMAGE: FASHIONGONEROGUE.COM

Members of our forums were full of praise for the Spring 2017 campaign. “Oh yeah, this is going to be good,” confessed GERGIN after seeing the first campaign image.

“VERY quickly becoming a fan of Pierpaolo. I will say I usually enjoy Valentino’s campaigns but never collection AND campaign. Valentino should thank the Gods they retained the superior of the duo,” voiced VogueDisciple93.

Sharing the same thoughts was TaylorBinque: “This. Pierpaolo has definitely proves himself to be a great creative director and both the collection and campaign reflect it very well. He lets the work speak itself.”

“Weird how splitting up a duo could give a brand more energy. Valentino felt so stale for so long. This is a step in the right direction,” pointed out RedSmokeRise.

Valentino S/S 2017 by David Sims

IMAGE: FASHIONGONEROGUE.COM

“Amazing campaign, Christy looks gorgeous,” raved burbuja8910.

Apple liked the diverse casting too: “This is already my favorite campaign of the season. The cast is a dream: the super Christy, the iconic Liya and Fei Fei, the gorgeous newcomers Lorena and Ratner. They all represent feminine but strong beauty in my opinion so they are perfect for this collection. The close-ups are simply stunning and timeless.”

“I think this is my favorite campaign this season. The portraits are timeless,” heralded a more than satisfied mathiaskatz.

Valentino S/S 2017 by David Sims

IMAGE: FASHIONGONEROGUE.COM

See more from Valentino’s Spring 2017 ad campaign and join the party here.

The post David Sims Shoots a Series of Mesmerizing Portraits for Valentino’s Spring 2017 Campaign appeared first on theFashionSpot.

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What Happens in the Design Room: Five Steps to a Great Logo

Great logos are powerful business tools. A logo should be an enduring symbol of a brand and it should relay the core essence of a company. And to design a seemingly simple symbol is, in reality, a huge undertaking. And people should not take the task lightly to avoid creating a logo that is forgettable […]

The post What Happens in the Design Room: Five Steps to a Great Logo appeared first on designrfix.com.

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