Let's Start a Law Firm - Ben Carter Law
Summary: Everything you wished law school had taught you and nothing you wished it hadn't taught you. This short-run podcast explores the topics of whether starting your own law firm is for you, the logistics of starting a business, finding and hiring clients, and technology in law offices.
Louisville criminal defense attorney Ted Shouse joins Annie and Ben in studio as Let's Start a Law Firm's first‑ever guest. Ted began his career as a public defender and for eleven years worked across the state and in all levels of criminal defense: as a trial attorney, as an appellate attorney, and as Executive Director of the Kentucky Innocence Project where Ted and his staff worked to exonerate and free wrongfully-convicted individuals.
Almost a year since their last episode, Annie and Ben crack their collective knuckles, clear their throats, and kick off Season Two of Let's Start a Law Firm with talk of trial prep, teasing future episodes, and, apparently, cubic wombat poop.
Let's Start a Law Firm, Episode 11: Getting Better
Westlaw? LexisNexis? Casemaker? Fast Case? Private subscription? Public library? Annie and Ben talk about the programs and companies they use to do the legal research that supports their sparkling, incisive legal scholarship. What to know before you spend thousands of dollars on a multi-year contract with one of the jackals of the legal research world. Also, how legal writing is basically childbirth.
Ben and Annie walk all up and down the third rail of law firm management topics: case management software. Annie and Ben both use cloud-based solutions: Clio and Rocket Matter, respectively. There's stuff they love about their CMSs and stuff they want to change. Also: Annie describes her dictation workflow and Ben rants about fax machines.
In this episode, Annie and Ben discuss the programs they use to turn pixels into words, words into sentences, and sentences into motions and briefs—documents that, they hope, will turn into justice for their clients. Annie is experimenting with Scrivener, Ben is stuck in Microsoft Word, and they both rave about TextExpander. Also: Ben talks a little about typefaces and typography.
Annie and Ben discuss the various avenues available to small firms and solo practitioners to get the legal work that needs doing done. When do you need to hire an associate? A paralegal? How does co-counseling a case work? When would you want to seek the help of a co-counsel? All this, plus law students, interns, administrative assistants, and contract attorneys.
In this informal bonus material, Ben and Annie discuss a few basic principles in David Allen's book, Getting Things Done, and how they use Omnifocus, Moleskines, Field Notes notebooks, and 3x5 cards to stay sane and practice law.
Let's Start a Law Firm, Episode 6: Getting Help, Part 1
In this episode, Annie and Ben survey the computer hardware they use in their law practices. They begin by encouraging lawyers to use whichever platform—Mac or PC—with which they're most comfortable. (Turns out, starting a business is not a great time to master new systems.) Then, our nerds reveal the computers, monitors, printers, scanners, and, yes, power strips they use to covert 1s and 0s into justice for the little guys and gals of Kentucky.
Annie and Ben attempt to answer some questions that every start-up attorney must answer: How do I find potential clients? How do I help potential clients find me? Once we've found each other, how do I know whether to take a case? Under what conditions will I take the case? How do I get paid? Topics include: attorney advertising, "networking", social media, attorney websites, fee arrangements, invoicing, and retainer agreements.
In episode 3 of Let's Start a Law Firm, Ben and Annie explore the non-electronic technologies they use in their practices. In other words, after discussing the various things to consider when deciding whether and what kind of office space to get, our nerds turn quickly to a discussion of their favorite pens, paper, and office supplies.
In Episode 2 of Let's Start a Law Firm, Annie and Ben outline the unglamorous aspects of starting a business: creating a business entity, registering with the Secretary of State, setting up business banking, IOLTA accounts, and the various types of insurance you might want to buy. They also explore all of the ways attorneys get paid and talk about what fee arrangements they use in their own practice. Plus, Annie attempts to save the episode with some jokes about hipsters.
In this inaugural episode of Annie and Ben's short-run podcast, "Let's Start a Law Firm", they discuss the reasons why an attorney (or attorneys) might want to start their own law firm. SPOILER: For Annie, it's all about the Benjamins and for Benjamin, well, he got fired. They also talk about the timing of starting your own firm, as well as meta-issues of why they want to do a podcast about starting a law firm, who they're doing it for, and what books, websites, and podcasts have been useful to them along the way.