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January 19, 2010

NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION PUBLISHES A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO MANAGING A LEGAL PRACTICE

"Best Practices In Legal Management" - The Definitive Resource for Small Firms and Managing Partners 

With information ranging from strategic planning to business development to space planning and design, the New York State Bar Association has published a comprehensive guide on how to manage a legal practice. Best Practices in Legal Management: A Comprehensive Guide provides practical tips from almost 100 experts with a combined 800 years of experience, as well as a variety of useful forms and templates. Best Practices is a collaborative effort of the State Bar Association's Committee on Law Practice Management (LPM) and the Association of Legal Administrators New York City Chapter (ALANYC).

"In clear language and with real life examples, Best Practices offers a roadmap for attorneys who are just starting new firms, and it also has everything experienced legal administrators need to know about managing a firm," said New York State Bar Association President Michael E. Getnick (Getnick Livingston Atkinson & Priore, LLP of Utica and of counsel to Getnick & Getnick of New York City). "Members of the Law Practice Management Committee, under the leadership of Committee Chair Gary A. Munneke, along with their ALANYC partners, have put together a one-stop source on building and running a thriving practice. It is an invaluable tool for every small- and medium-size firm."

Munneke, Professor of Law at Pace University School of Law, said, "Best Practices provides a blueprint for achieving success and avoiding error in running a modern law practice. It is comprehensive, informative and - despite its serious nature - fun to read. I want to thank all the contributors from the LPM Committee and the ALANYC for creating such a useful guide."

The Principals of Best Practices, Kimberly Swetland, President of the ALANYC Chapter (Director of Administration for Harris Beach PLLC), and Barry Jackson, CLM, CPA, Past President of the ALANYC (Executive Director of Davis & Gilbert LLP), said, "Our vision, to write and publish THE book on Best Practices in Legal Management, in partnership with NYSBA, represents our commitment to lead the way by providing the legal industry with the information and resources necessary to be successful and manage a law firm."

The book addresses all aspects of law firm management with checklists of best practices and practical steps to meeting goals. The 424-page book also contains a comprehensive list of Web sites and other helpful resources.

Highlights include:

  • Strategic and Organizational Planning: Creating a business framework to meet a firm's goals; developing a mission statement ("who you are"), vision statement ("what you want to be") and strategic plan ("how you get there").
  • Business Development: Creating a smart client base; forecasting business opportunities; responding to requests for proposals (RFPs); evaluating the profit potential of a prospective client; identifying and managing potential client conflicts of interests; marketing your firm; and managing client relationships.  
  • Legal Practice Management: Recruiting and developing the best attorneys; determining associate compensation; structuring a paraprofessional staff; analyzing a practice group's profitability; and CLE requirements.
  • Human Resources: Creating an HR function to match a firm's needs; getting the best support and paraprofessional staff; evaluating employees; employee relations; determining compensation and benefit packages; developing data systems; understanding sexual harassment and diversity considerations.
  • Financial Management: Structuring partner compensation; planning a budget and cash flow; setting up accounts payable and receivable; analyzing a firm's profitability.
  • Procurement: Understanding the best choices for procurement.
  • Operations Management: Managing risk; records management; employee safety issues; and a sample 34-page business recovery plan for disasters.
  • Technological and Systems Management: Structuring a technology policy including internet and email use, assessing the efficiency of your IT system, designing computer, telecommunications and document management systems.
  • Space Planning and Design: Maximizing space efficiency while enhancing its atmosphere; getting the right new space including the lease structure; planning a move; and office security.

The cost of the book is $139 for New York State Bar Association members and $179 for non-members (prices do not include applicable sales tax; shipping is free of charge in the continental U.S.). To purchase a copy, please visit www.nysba.org/BestPracticesGuide or call 1-800-582-2452.

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Founded in 1876, the 77,000-member New York State Bar Association is the official statewide organization of lawyers in New York and the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. The State Bar's programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years. For more information, visit us at our Web site at www.nysba.org.

Founded in 1971, the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA) is an international organization of more than 10,000 members representing more than 20 countries. The New York City Chapter (ALANYC) was founded in 1977, is the largest chapter of the ALA, and serves approximately 500 legal management professionals.  The mission of the ALANYC is to enhance the knowledge and professionalism of its members through high-quality educational programs in legal management, provide timely information which will enable members to perform their jobs more effectively and efficiently, and increase the visibility and credibility of the profession of legal administration.  Visit us at our Web site at www.alanyc.org.