Speaker Programs

Topics for the 2017 Program Year

The following presentations are available for local and specialty bar associations and law-related organizations. Each presentation is 50 minutes long. Continuing legal education and ethics and professional responsibility credits are subject to the approval of the Board of Bar Examiners.

Practicing Law in Today’s Environment: Technology and So Much More
Has Changed the Paradigm

This program covers the necessary steps to developing a law practice, including business planning, developing a budget, and managing cash flow. The program also presents guidance on small business resources, technology, insurance needs and attracting clients. It also covers malpractice avoidance topics such as riskiest areas of practice, common client communication mistakes, billing policies, calendaring and effectively utilizing staff.

Limited Scope Representation

Also referred to as unbundled legal services, this is a growing method of practice for lawyers, offering clients limited representation and lower legal costs. This program discusses the ethical rules of attorney conduct that cover limited scope representation, including reasonableness and proper and informed consent. The program also covers the benefits of limited scope representation, both for the lawyer and the client and the potential risks to a lawyer when taking on limited scope cases.

File Management In an Electronic Age

This program focuses mainly on how to best handle electronic files, including protecting files from electronic loss, retention policies, protecting confidentiality, and file storage on third-party or internet servers.  The program also addresses cyber risk prevention and the benefits of cyber liability insurance.

Insurance Considerations: Legal Malpractice Coverage –
Do I Need It and How Does It Protect Me?

While lawyers are best at practicing law, they also have to be good business people, and that includes protecting their practice and their clients with the proper insurance coverage. This program goes over the basics in malpractice insurance coverage, including general costs, coverages and what a “claims-made” policy means to lawyers. It also summarizes typical claims, how to avoid them and how they can impact a lawyer’s practice. Finally, the program outlines other possible insurance coverage a lawyer should consider, including business owners, auto, Workers’ Comp, Health and Disability policies.

Common Sources of Legal Malpractice Claims

Wonder what practice areas produce most malpractice claims, and what kind of errors lawyers make in those claims? The program will tell you. You will also learn what causes those claims and how to reduce the risk of them happening to you.

Hanging Out Your Own Shingle: Taking the Plunge Can Be Scary,
But Success Has Its Rewards

Opening up your own law practice is a big step. This program helps lawyers understand the value of business planning, developing a budget, managing cash flow and making the best decisions regarding technology and other office needs. It also addresses insurance needs to protect your practice, getting your practice off the ground, attracting clients, providing good client service, and developing good business continuation plans in case your office gets hit with a fire or other business interruption.

File Management In An Electronic Age

This program addresses the age old problem of file storage for lawyers. Where, why and how long should law firms keep client files? This program also offers guidance on maintaining client files electronically and taking reasonable precautions to protect security and confidentiality, especially when working with third-party internet or cloud-based service providers.

Cyber Liability For Law Firms

Whether because of a data breach due to hackers, careless disposal of client records, theft of mobile devices or misuse of internal security protocols, lawyers need to consider how they are protecting client and employee information. This program looks at how the consequences of a breach or lost data can be monumental, especially for solo practitioners and considers steps that lawyers can take to minimize the risk.

Practicing Law in Today’s Legal Environment

Running a successful law practice includes more than just getting clients and practicing law. This program examines how to set up a business plan, develop a budget, identify computer needs, utilize staff, attract and select the right clients, and determine insurance needs. This program also focuses on the riskiest areas of practice, common errors made by lawyers and how best to avoid those mistakes.

Insurance Considerations For a Law Firm

This program covers the basic insurance needs of any law office, including professional liability insurance, business owners policies, auto policies, flood insurance and other disaster protection, workers compensation, umbrella policies, life insurance, disability and health insurance.

Personal Injury Practice: Handle With Care

This program deals with missed deadlines, changes in the delivery of health care, tenuous attorney-client relationships, and other factors that combine to make personal injury practice a high risk area of practice. It offers case histories to illustrate common pitfalls for attorneys to avoid.

Common Pitfalls In Law Practice

This program explains the common pitfalls in law practice generally and how professional liability insurance underwriters evaluate law firms’ exposure to risk.

Help Yourself: What Malpractice Claims Teach Us

This is a look at where claims come from and why, concentrating on areas of practice reporting the most frequent and severe claims.

Starting a Law Practice

This program is designed specifically for law school presentations and is used at both law schools in Wisconsin. It focuses on helping lawyers develop a business plan, an operating budget, managing a cash flow, identifying office technology needs, managing trust accounts, staff and determining insurance needs. This program also identifies marketing strategies for law firms that dealt with issues related to client communication and client selection.

Malpractice Considerations With Unbundled Legal Services

Unbundled legal services, or limited scope representation, is a growing trend in the legal profession. This program covers errors that lawyers have made in taking on this kind of representation. Those errors include failing to identify matter related to the representation, failing to explain the risks of limited scope representation to clients, failing to identify the scope of the representation in writing, terminating the representation improperly, failing to communicate the representation to the court, and improperly engaging in ghostwriting documents for clients.

Avoiding the “M” Word: Managing Malpractice Risks

Topics covered in this program include missed deadlines, difficult attorney-client relationships, flawed office procedures, suing for fees and other potentially risky practice situations. Legal scenarios illustrating potential problems and ways to avoid them are included.

What Keeps You Up at Night?
Getting Peace of Mind in Your Law Practice

This program identifies the elements of legal malpractice, the riskiest areas of practice, and common mistakes that lead to malpractice claims and ways to avoid them.

Pro Se Parties and Unbundled Legal Services

As lawyers increasingly encounter unrepresented opposing parties, they must learn to effectively and appropriately deal with them. This program considers how lawyers can handle cases involving opposing pro se parties in ways that do not compromise the representation of their own clients and are consistent with Supreme Court Rules governing lawyer conduct. Unbundled legal services also sometimes result in more unrepresented parties in court. This program includes a look at the pros and cons of delivering unbundled legal service to clients.

Using Office Staff Effectively

This program highlights office procedures and attorney oversight of staff that can lead to better practice methods and ultimately better service to clients. It focuses on good staff management, staff training, staff hiring and effective attorney oversight of staff.

Professionalism and the Three Cs:
Communication, Conflicts and Confidentiality

This program reviews the Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules of Professional Conduct in the areas of conflict checks, communication with clients and confidentiality considerations. It also covers the resources lawyers can use for help, including mentoring programs, the State Bar Ethics Hotline and WILMIC products.

Finding a Safety Net:
Keeping Your Balance in the High Wire Practice of Family Law

Family law attorneys juggle many issues: custody, support, marital assets, retirement plan benefits, tax implications and more. This program deals with those topics and also addresses issues such as choosing lower risk clients, writing effective engagement letters, and client communication.

Setting Up a Solo Practice

Many lawyers, especially newer ones, want to open their own law office, but don’t have the business skills to do it successfully. This program presents ways to effectively set up a practice, including developing a business plan and a budget, managing cash flow, finding the right resources, getting the right technology for the office, handling trust accounts, overseeing staff and obtaining the appropriate insurance.

Protecting Your Practice: Preparing a Disaster Recovery Plan

This program helps lawyers prepare for an interruption in their practice, including unexpected events that can shut down their office – computer crashes, fires, tornadoes, or partners suddenly gone for extended periods of time. It covers everything from business continuation plans to disaster planning.

Litigation Risk Management:
What Malpractice Claims Can Teach You

This “how-to” guide for litigators walks lawyers through the maze of litigation red flags, including the nuts and bolts of a legal malpractice claim, the risks of personal injury practice and other litigation, how to manage client expectations and the common mistakes litigators make that can lead to a malpractice claim.

Legal Malpractice Claims Review – The Wisconsin Experience

This program provides a summary of the claims WILMIC has handled during the past year, the riskiest areas of practice according to the year’s claims statistics, the most common errors committed by lawyers during the year, and how to avoid those errors. The program also deals with how lawyers can help themselves when a case appears to be going badly or a client becomes unhappy with the way a case is going.

Real Estate Practice Pitfalls

Real estate practice is rife with potential for errors and omissions. This program helps lawyers avoid making those errors and omissions by implementing office procedures and risk management.

Life and Lawyering: Finding the Balance

This program helps lawyers examine how they spend their time, what is important to them and how they prioritize their professional and personal lives to make them better lawyers and balance the demands on their personal and professional lives. It includes a discussion about fitting exercise into our lives, creating energy and getting a return on our energy investment.