Should A Lawyer Join One Of Those Business Networking Groups?

Lots of lawyers come to me asking if those referral groups were worth their time. I checked out one called LeTip a number of years ago and wasn’t really impressed with the opportunities. It felt too forced for my liking, and I’m not really into the glad-handing that goes on.

There’s a similar group called BNI. This group apparently forces group members to refer business to one another. In thinking about it, the scheme doesn’t sound like it’s really fit for lawyers. My suspicions were confirmed by reading an from Oregon (OSB Formal Ethics Op. No. 2004-175 concerning “Lawyer Membership in Business Referral Clubs”). The issue seems to be the mandatory referrals to group members.

“The question posed to the legal ethics committee was whether Lawyer A may participate in the activities of the association, and the committee concluded that the lawyer could not do so. The ethics committee found that participation in the association would violate DR 2-103(A) which prohibits a lawyer from compensating or giving anything of value to a person or organization to promote, recommend or secure employment by a client or as a reward for having made a recommendation resulting in employment by a client. The committee also concluded that participation in the association would violate DR 2-105 which prevents a lawyer from referring a client to a nonlawyer with the understanding that the lawyer will receive a fee, commission or anything of value in exchange for the referral.”

Read the entire formal ethics opinion. As far as I’m concerned, I think I’d leave these organizations to other professions.

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Mac vs. PC: Lets really get started!!

Mac vs PC Scales.jpegBen Cowgill attempted to fire the first shot with his post, PC vs. Mac: Let’s get started. He mentions that we should start by stating the “core values” of our positions. And his core value is functionality. Ben, Ben, Ben, you don’t back it up with how a peecee is more functional than a Mac. So, let me really get this started.

Interesting point, functionality and a peecee, windoze box. I have to question such a statement coming from a peecee when getting lock ups and the blue screen of death is measured in weeks, days and even hours in some cases. You want to talk functionality, lets really talk functionality. I have had a Mac in my office now for over two years. I have yet had the pleasure of seeing a blue screen of death. In fact, I have yet had a lock up of the machine. Don’t get me wrong. There are program lock ups. But, it does not lock up the entire machine to the point you have to restart the computer. All a Mac user has to do is quit that program and restart the program. Thats it, nothing else. And, at least in my case, the only program that does lock up on my Mac is Microsoft Office: Mac. Now that is funny windoze users.

What about compatibility? Got you covered. On those occasions when I have to run a windoze program, I simple start up Parallels, XP and run the program on my Mac. What is even more amazing than that, XP runs faster on my MacBook than it does on my son’s gaming peecee. In addition, speaking of compatibility, I can open, edit, save and exchange any word document you want to throw at me. After all, I do have Word for Mac on my Mac. Compatibility, got you covered Ben.

We have to consider downtime next. When I was using a peecee network in my law office, I was attacked by a virus that knocked me out for 3 days. And, I had to spend hard earned money paying an IT person to come in a fix it. Lets see, downtime and an expense I don’t now have with a Mac driven law office. In fact, I don’t even worry about virus, worms or those nasty trojan horses thrown at you peecee users. I don’t worry about updating Norton’s Anti Virus or McAfee’s Anti Virus. No Zone Alarm here either. Downtime, what downtime?

So, Ben, you want to talk functionality. There is no comparison between a Mac and a peecee when you talk functionality. And my “core value” is this. A Mac “just works”, and works all the time.

Ben, tell me something you can do on your peecee you think I can’t do on my Mac.

UPDATE: Here is Ben’s response to this post. OK, I will bite. I will address the software question in my next post.

Blogs Integrated into a Website?

One comment and question I have seen come up a lot lately is, should a blog be integrated into a website? While I have no problem with putting a link on your website to your blog and vice versa. I do have a problem with actually integrating your blog into your website. I actually discussed this with Kevin O’Keefe of LexBlog today. Kevin is one of the most knowledgeable individuals I know when it comes to blogging. What follows is a summary of that conversation.

A blog is akin to an educational magazine. If you are updating your blog with new content, as you should be, you are publishing new issues of your “magazine” every time you do. You are providing free information to the public in a form and method people can use and understand. It is not the same type of promotional tool as a website. You are providing updated information on a blog often. You update it daily, weekly or monthly. And a blog is meant to be cited, people don’t cite a website. The big advantage of a blog over a static website is just that, it gets cited. Not just from lawyers, but lot’s of other bloggers. If you put your blog inside the website, those cites to your blog will not happen. You will not get the same SEO either. Cites and links are what drive traffic to your blog and in turn drive you business.

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