Successful Business Planning for the Modern Law Practice, Version 2, is a business planning tool designed to assist lawyers in developing a successful and financially viable practice in the ever-evolving practice of law. The manual includes practical and ethical considerations in developing a business plan and providing representation. Among the tools are sample forms, such as an interactive spreadsheet that calculates the amount of income needed to cover overhead, personnel, and lawyer earnings. There also is a discussion about the value of mentorship and other ways to gain competency, many of which are offered through membership in the Colorado Bar Association.
There is a perception by middle class America that they cannot afford a lawyer. This environment results in a large number of self-represented litigants in the Colorado court system, as well as individuals using the Internet as their sole legal resource to draft wills, leases, business agreements, and other documents. Statistics from the State Court Administrator’s Office (SCAO) show that for fiscal year 2015, 272,000 parties were involved in cases in Colorado courts in which a lawyer never entered an appearance. For instance, in domestic relations cases, 75% (52,524) of parties did not have a lawyer enter their appearance at any time during the case. Similarly, business owners and others who have drafted their own documents become aware of problems and their need for legal advice only when something goes awry.
We thank the Colorado Bar Association staff for their time and energy in shepherding this project. Specifically, we want to acknowledge Sarah Kottoor, Sue Bertram, and Jessica Bednarz in the research, drafting and editing that has resulted in Version 2 of this toolkit.
The practice of law is in a state of flux. This manual is meant to assist lawyers to be successful as the legal landscape shifts. We recommend that you watch for additional programs and CLE’s to understand the nuances of opening a modern law practice. ”