Top Practice TIPS from Top Practice Experts
NEW YORK, August 7, 2008 — “Speak no evil. Do not bad mouth competitors to prospective clients. Keep it classy,” advised Jessie Lee Harris of Williams Kastner, Seattle, Wash., during the “Top Practice Tips from TIPS” program at the ABA 2008 Annual Meeting in New York.
The program, sponsored by the Tort, Trial and Insurance Practice Section, offered short, sixty-second tips for practicing law from an array of experts.
In addition to Harris, panelists included Susan Farina of Proveris Scientific Corp. in Marlborough, Mass.; Linda Klein, of Baker Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC in Atlanta; Matt Schiff, and Jacquelyn Tessendorf. Randi Brent Whitehead, Sarasota, Fla.; and Christine Spinella Davis, Howrey LLP, Washington, D.C., who served as moderator.
Klein warned attendees that, “When in doubt, don’t.” Even if lawyers feel pressured from their bosses, if they have concerns over actions or activities that don’t feel right, “don’t do it,” continued Klein. “It’s your license.”
And if you’ve had a mentor, be a mentor. “Pass it forward,” Schiff encouraged.
Tessendorf, who hails from a city of 40,000, strongly suggests that lawyers “look nice and be nice.” In a small community, that’s especially important. “You never know who may remember your kindness and hire you to represent them.”
Several of the experts addressed billing issues. “Provide detailed time entries on invoices,” said Farina. “Bill promptly,” echoed Tessendorf, and Davis emphasized the advantage of lawyers entering their time as quickly as possible while their memory is fresh.