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Did you know there is more to practicelaw than just forms?  practicelaw is designed to be a repository of resources intended to help your practice.  Similarly, the MSBA’s practiceblawg is a blog for the Association to share with you how the MSBA can help you improve your efficiency and grow your practice.  The MSBA offers members a number of products and services and is always looking for ways to better serve its members and provide greater value.

Got questions, complaints, suggestions, or any thoughts in general?  Let us know:

  • What you need to know about Casemaker

    by Joe Kaczrowski | Apr 05, 2016
    After a year-long review, the Minnesota State Bar Association is switching its legal research provider to Casemaker from Fastcase. You can learn more details about the transition, including webinar and in-person demo and training schedules here.
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  • Changes coming to key MSBA member benefits in 2016

    by Joe Kaczrowski | Feb 08, 2016
    Several popular MSBA services will be getting a facelift in 2016. The MSBA will be changing its internet legal research provider from Fastcase to Casemaker. While Fastcase has been a valuable practice resource for members, Casemaker offers similar service with several added features and benefits. Watch for more information coming soon. And as the current legal research service, Casemaker will continue to be provided free to members as an included member benefit.
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  • Spring Cleaning: Update Your Online Presence

    by Joe Kaczrowski | Jan 21, 2016
    On Thursday, March 24, the MSBA will offer members an opportunity to take advantage of a number of services, including Video Day and Headshot Day. This 'Spring Cleaning' event will allow members to update their digital properties and get advice (and CLE credit) from experts, staff and other members.
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  • What's next?

    by Joe Kaczrowski | Nov 18, 2015
    Two weeks ago the MSBA held its 2015 technology conference down in Lakeville. Several nationally prominent speakers covered topics ranging from mobile security to the ethical duty of technological competence to the impact of technology on diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. If you missed the conference, the programs will be available soon as part of the MSBA's On-Demand CLE offerings. The Association also recently formed a new Technology Committee to "keep current on changing technology and determine how the MSBA can best assist its members to stay at the forefront of these changes." So what's next?
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  • If you had time to sing one song

    by Joe Kaczrowski | Nov 17, 2015
    Often referred to as an "elevator speech," do you have a short explanation of what you do, the value of your services, and what you can do for potential clients? Getting its name from the short time you have in an elevator to potentially pitch yourself to someone, it is generally limited to 20-30 seconds, or less. There may be instances where a simple "I'm a lawyer" or "I'm a commercial litigator" may be sufficient and appropriate, but your pitch can be refined to be more memorable and effective with potential clients. Given a half hour, or a complete album, you could likely demonstrate your talents and show value, but what if you only had 30 seconds, or one song, what would you say?
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  • And the beat goes on

    by Joe Kaczrowski | Nov 12, 2015
    Last week the MSBA held its first, or first in a long while according to Todd Scott of MLM, technology conference in Lakeville. The well-attended event covered a variety of technology-related topics and issues facing the legal profession, and included the opportunity to learn more about new systems and offerings like Fastcase 7 and the Legal Tech Assessment (and the development of a Minnesota-specific version). Minnesota is not the only state having these conversations, and technology is an area of increasing concern and relevance to the legal profession, as evidenced by amendments to the Model Rules.
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  • Have it your way

    by Joe Kaczrowski | Nov 04, 2015
    The MSBA is many things to many people, but at its core it is a community for people participating, somehow, in the legal profession (in Minnesota). The fifteen thousand plus members are all MSBA members, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they all have the same experience or take advantage of the same benefits and opportunities.
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  • Gotta have a fiddle in the band

    by Joe Kaczrowski | Oct 28, 2015
    One reason people choose the solo or small firm route is the autonomy, the ability to decide how your business will operate. Small business owners often revel in the freedom to set their own hours, hire who they want if and when they want, work where they want, and even be selective about potential clients. While you may not have to slip a weekly envelope to Patsy, there are certain requirements to running a business and practicing law.
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  • Someday never comes

    by Joe Kaczrowski | Oct 20, 2015
    Time: unless you are Jupiter Jones or Will Salas, it is the one resource you can never get more of. Lawyers, generally, are acutely aware of how extremely limited this resource is. For many, it is the nature of the profession that each hour (or tenth of an hour) must be accounted for. And when employing a billable hour practice model, it can be hard to allocate time to non-billable projects or tasks, whether that is something like researching and deploying a new tool or system or marketing your services.
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  • The Bar! What is it good for?

    by Joe Kaczrowski | Oct 16, 2015
    Absolutely nothing? That sentiment seems to apply on a couple of levels. First with society generally and the emergence of new players like LegalZoom and LLLTs, the need for lawyers is often called into question. And second, are bar associations relevant to the practice of law today?
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  • Pick your poison

    by Joe Kaczrowski | Oct 14, 2015
    The Practice Management and Marketing Section hosted an interesting session today on effectively and ethically selling legal services featuring MSBA members Bill Gschwind and Shawn Jamison. Many lawyers understand the need to market their services, but the session focused on the often overlooked but critical step of actually closing the deal, a perhaps uncomfortable but necessary part of running a successful law practice.
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  • But I have people for that...

    by Joe Kaczrowski | Oct 08, 2015
    The MSBA's Tech Conference is less than a month away (November 5 in Lakeville), and the opening session features Casey Flaherty. Casey Flaherty and his Legal Tech Audit have been mentioned with some frequency in this blog (and elsewhere), and one of his common themes is the Myth of the Digital Native.
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  • More detail on the MSBA's Nov 5 tech conference

    by Joe Kaczrowski | Oct 05, 2015
    Fall is in the air and there's less than a month remaining before the MSBA's tech conference in Lakeville on November 5. The schedule for the day is now set, CLE credit has been applied for (including 3 ethics and 1 EOB), and registration remains open ($65 for members, $25 for law students).
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  • Don't lay an egg with your profile

    by Joe Kaczrowski | Sep 28, 2015
    The specific number may change from article to article, but the ultimate conclusion is always the same: profiles with photos get more results than those without. The MSBA recently rolled out an update to its MN Find a Lawyer and Colleague Directory products to help members take advantage of this fact.
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  • It's not Mr. Fusion and hoverboards, but...

    by Joe Kaczrowski | Sep 23, 2015
    The MSBA’s fiscal year began on July 1, and the dues renewal season is well underway. If you haven’t already renewed, now is a good time to do so to take advantage of the many ongoing and new member benefits. In 2015, the MSBA has already added several new programs, services, and partnerships leading to even more ways to maximize the value of your MSBA membership.
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  • Remember, remember the 5th of November

    by Joe Kaczrowski | Sep 18, 2015
    Technology has been a hot topic with lawyers recently, on this blog and elsewhere. Competition has increased due in part to changes in technology. Processes can be improved or replaced through new technologies. The Rules of Professional Conduct while not changed have been clarified to highlight the necessity of technological competence for lawyers. With the rapid pace of change, it becomes even more important for lawyers to have a forum to keep up-to-date and discuss new developments in the practice of law.
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  • What's good for the goose

    by Joe Kaczrowski | Sep 15, 2015
    According to Rule 6.1, every lawyer has a professional responsibility to provide legal services to those unable to pay, and a lawyer should aspire to render at least 50 hours of pro bono publico legal services per year. There are a number of programs available through the state bar association and other organizations that provide a variety of opportunities for Minnesota attorneys to meet this aspirational standard. New developments in legal technology further aid these organizations in assisting lawyers with their pro bono obligations.
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  • Changes coming to MSBA Directories

    by Joe Kaczrowski | Sep 09, 2015
    The MSBA launched two new member directories in January of this year, MN Find a Lawyer and the MSBA Colleague Directory. Both have been well-received and proven to be valuable member benefits. And the Association continues to improve and enhance its member directories. Several new features will be rolled out in the next couple of weeks.
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  • Fool for a client

    by Joe Kaczrowski | Sep 08, 2015
    Why should someone hire a lawyer with so many cheap (or free) options out there? What is the value added from consulting a lawyer as opposed to using LegalZoom or something similar, or going the DIY route via Google? The most basic comparison people make, especially when options appear equivalent or at least comparable, is price. Lawyers may be able to compete on price, but really the better approach is to change the conversation.
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  • I can still recall the wheat fields of St. Paul

    by Joe Kaczrowski | Sep 04, 2015
    Perhaps you had some crazy idea about breeding pine trees back in the day. Or maybe some little punk from Harvard stole your idea about a website while you were out rowing your boat. The reality is that things change, and life moves pretty fast. One thing that hasn't, and likely won't, change is the importance of a lawyer's reputation, both within the legal community and the public at large.
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