How Do You Plan For Going Solo?

This piece, written by Susan Carter Liebel, informatively and clearly lays out a few main points which one must consider before going into successful solo practice. An expert on the topics of solo practice and working for smaller firms, Liebel is the CEO of Solo Practice University, an online educational program which masterfully tackles the questions new solo practitioners often face.  

When you open your own law practice (and odds are you will whether directly out of law school or ten years in) you go from wearing the singular hat of “lawyer” to wearing the many hats of a small business owner: lawyer, office manager, accountant, IT, and marketing public relations executive. You are a business person first and foremost and have to approach everything you do as a business person. You are selling you, the lawyer, as your product. And you have to market the product. And no successful business is run without first constructing a business plan.

You don’t have to have an MBA or be an accountant to run a business or be able to write a formal business plan. Whatever shortcomings you perceive, trust me, they are surmountable. You simply analyze these “shortcomings,” then manage them. And whatever your fears, they are certainly no excuse to stay an employee somewhere else if your goal or your need is to be your own boss. Continue reading

Get me off this island!

Why opponents of the Affordable Care Act are fighting tooth and nail to protect a failing system rather than support what is now law.

By: Li Litombe, J.D. Candidate 2015, City University of New York School of Law

Imagine there is an island in the middle of the ocean. The inhabitants of the island have been informed that it is sinking. Island officials, composed of members of the Blue party and the Red party, vote and a majority agree on a solution. They arrange that a rescue vessel will pick up all the islanders. Immediately after the vessel arrives, the Red party officials complain, “What is this vessel doing here?!” They claim the boat has deplorable conditions. They say the boat is not fast enough and has too few amenities. Nevertheless, in the midst of all the complaints and debates, many islanders are getting on the boat. Why? Because no matter how much the two parties complain, the island will surely sink. So why not get off of the island and employ the only sensible solution. Why not accept that the solution that everyone voted on is here? Rather than waste time and effort searching for blame, why not fix the issues the boat has?

The Affordable Care Act (the Boat) was signed into law by President Obama in 2010. The purpose of the law was to address the failure of the American Healthcare System (the Island) to provide affordable comprehensive health coverage. One way it would achieve its goal would be by lowering the uninsured rate through an expansion of  public and private insurance coverage, and reducing the costs of healthcare for individuals and the government. Prior to becoming law the Affordable Care Act (ACA) went through the legislative process. After enactment the ACA survived constitutional challenges in the Supreme Court. One would think after such a rigorous process officials would work cohesively to ensure the success of what is now law. Wrong! Instead of working to ensure the success of the new law, opponents have focused their efforts on outright attempts at sabotage or assigning blame for its shortcomings. The few alternatives that have been proposed fail to ensure what the Affordable Care Act will ultimately achieve, access to healthcare for millions of Americans.

The “Everything is Fine” Approach Continue reading

We’re an Entrepreneurial Culture. Get Entrepreneurial

This piece, written by Susan Carter Liebel, discusses tapping into our entrepreneurial nature with a synopsis of the current legal market and clear objectives to follow for successful solo practice. An expert on the topics of solo practice and working for smaller firms, Liebel is the CEO of Solo Practice University, an online educational program which masterfully tackles the questions new solo practitioners often face.  

I remember watching Ben Bernanke on 60 minutes and after all the gloss and political correctness he said two things which struck me.  First he made it very clear we are in for a rough ride the next four to five years and that was quite an admission.  (I personally believe we are going to be in for a rough ride the whole decade and for a whole host of reasons).  And then he said the magic words:

We’ll be fine eventually as we are an entrepreneurial culture.

Yes, Ben, we are.

And on that same day, renowned economic expert, Harry Dent Jr. wrote:

In business, creative entrepreneurs will be the big winners as they were in the down economies of the 1930s and 1970s.

I’m not a fan of Bernanke (he was apparently an economic advisor contributing to Japan’s bad decisions which have led to their decades long economic woes. As a Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System on February 20, 2004, Bernanke gave a speech: The Great Moderation, where he postulated that we are in a new era, where economic volatility has been permanently eliminated! (Really, Ben?) However, Bernanke has given us a clue as to our future.  He is basically saying it’s every person for themselves.

And the recent numbers support this: Continue reading

Three Tips for Every Law Student Interested in Sports and Entertainment Law

By: Jaia A. Thomas, Esq., The Law Office of Jaia Thomas (www.jathomaslaw.com)

Network: The Power of Social Media- Currently Twitter has 218.3 million active users. Many of these users are not only athletes and entertainers but also the agents, attorneys, managers and publicists who work with and represent them. Twitter is a great networking tool to connect with industry professionals. I was first introduced to many of my close colleagues through tweets and direct messages. Utilize the social media platform to your utmost advantage. Follow key industry professionals and introduce yourself. Twitter is also a great tool for identifying sports and entertainment-related jobs and internships. On average, 58 million tweets are sent out every day. Many of these tweets often contain job and internship announcements. Do your research and find those key individuals or organizations frequently posting job and internship opportunities. Also, keep in mind that there are countless Twitter chats that provide guidance and advice on breaking into the industry, such as @SportsLawChat and @SportsJobChat.

Learn the Industry: In and Out the Classroom – Students frequently ask me, what are some of the best courses to take in preparation for a career practicing entertainment law? Continue reading

Are There Unwritten Boundaries for Black Law Students and Lawyers, Or Should Marketability Be Achieved By Any Means Necessary?

Why Do Black Lawyers Defend Accused Racists?

By Yolanda Young

Last week Marissa Alexander, a Florida woman sentenced to 20 years in prison after she fired a warning shot during a dispute with her husband has been granted a retrial. This is likely a result of the pressure brought by Florida’s black legal community. This got me thinking once again about Channa Lloyd, the black intern who volunteered for George Zimmerman’s legal team.

Shortly after Zimmerman was acquitted of murdering Martin, CNN aired an interview with Lloyd, who is a law student at Barry University. Asked if she thought Zimmerman was a racist, Lloyd said no, and implied that she’d have a difficult time working for a client who was. This speaks to her naiveté. The job of a defense attorney isn’t to assess a client’s prejudices (or guilt). It is to defend her client. That goes for clients accused of racism, too.

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NEW AGE ATHLETES AS SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS

Are you interested in business, sports, or entertainment law? If so, this article may be right down your lane. This is an excerpt of an article from Professor Roger Groves which provides insight into a niche area that does not directly compete with established agents, but rather may provide a way to work for such agents or law firms.

NEW AGE ATHLETES AS SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS –

PROPOSING A PHILANTHROPIC PARADIGM SHIFT AND CREATIVE USE OF LIMTED LIABILITY COMPANY JOINT VENTURES

 

The author, Professor Roger M. Groves, teaches various business-oriented classes and serves as the Director for both the Business Law Program and the Center for Law and Sports, at Florida Coastal School of Law.

            While professional athletes in this country’s four most popular professional leagues have significant player salaries, this article focuses on the National Basketball Association (“NBA”).  The NBA players are Exhibit A for great potential and unrealized opportunity.  They comprise a group of the world’s most talented employees for this particular industry who by virtue of both wealth and the cultural connectivity, have the potential for an extraordinary “giving back” impact on urban America.  If the vast majority of those players establish charitable foundations and pool their funds they could do something unprecedented – have transformative effects on entire communities. Such like-minded players can be termed “New Age Athletes”.[1]

A statistical review of current NBA players reveals that most have similar income but are not nearly as focused on such charitable projects. The NBA teams in the aggregate pay their players a total of just under $2 billion a year.[2]  Yet at various times during the 2009-2010 season, there were approximately 418 players, and only 130 appear to have a semblance of a foundation.[3]  A recent study of the 2008 season concluded that only 43 players were likely to have truly functional foundations.[4] The median salary per player for the aggregate 30 teams is $3,425,665.[5] If even half of 418 players funded a foundation with .05 percent of their salaries, without touching any endorsement money, over $71 million of charitable funds would be generated each year. If that group chooses to pool their funds over five years for a portfolio of common projects, they could contribute $355 million for those initiatives.

A view of the highest paid NBA players also provides a glimpse of a significant opportunity to raise equity capital for charitable causes. The 25 highest paid NBA players have a combined salary of over $462 million.[6]  That represents more than the entire gross domestic product (purchasing power) of the country of Zimbabwe.[7] That purchasing power would make those players the 211th richest nation in the world.[8] If they allocated 10 percent of just their salaries for charitable causes, without touching endorsement income and pooled their funds for five years they would have amassed over $231million. Many of those top players have cultural connectivity with the crisis-burdened urban areas, and as such, high octane potential to be investors, as some already are, in urban projects.  In fact, 20 of the top 25 salaried NBA players are African Americans.[9]

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