23 Mar 2012

One Year In…

So, Wednesday was my one year anniversary at The Sharman Law Firm LLC.  Let’s review what I have learned so far:

– Marketing and networking are very important, but must be targeted.  In the beginning, I went to just about every meeting.  Now, I am focused on those groups that provide the best opportunity for professional and business growth.

– Responsiveness is key.  Even if it takes a little longer than expected to get a case resolved, it is important to keep clients updated and informed on a regular basis.

– When you work for yourself, the office is never closed.  I find myself thinking about case strategies and legal theories on weekends, as I fall asleep, when I am watching TV, etc.

I look forward to many more years of providing client service and becoming a valuable part of the North Fulton legal community.

30 Aug 2011

To Charge or Not to Charge

As a solo practitioner working mainly on contingency, budgeting and projecting income can be tricky.  Another occupational hazard is making appointments with prospective clients, who then don’t show up and leave me wasting the time it took to get to and from my office and waiting for a no-show.  Some other solos have encouraged me to charge a nominal fee for appointments.  They insist that it helps cash flow and separates those that are serious about their legal issue from those who may decide not to bother showing up.

While I have not implemented this strategy yet, I can see the purpose.  Charging $100 or $150 shows the prospective client that your time is valuable and not to be wasted.  It also gives them a sense that they are receiving something of value in the legal advice you impart, even if they do not become a client beyond that meeting.

For now, the marketing benefits of free consultation outweigh the monetary benefits of charging for an appointment.  This is probably something to revisit when my firm is more established.

27 Apr 2011

Google Voice: Not Ready for Business

So, my idea was to use Google Voice for my phone and fax number, so that if I move to a new office, I won’t have to change numbers.  And…so much for that idea.

First, it won’t work as a fax number because Google Voice is digital and fax technology is analog.  OK, I can live with that, but now I realized that anytime people call my Voice number, they do not get my receptionist and go straight to voice mail.  That is not a good thing.  Apparently this is an ongoing issue for the service which has no easy fix.  So, I am just giving up using the service altogether and using my regular office number.

Lesson learned – technology is great, but make sure you vet everything carefully before you decide to use it.  Google Voice is free, so no money lost there, plus I just caught it in time to print my business cards correctly with the new number.  Most newer software and services offer a free trial, so make sure you give them a good practice run before deciding to move forward with them, whether it’s a software download or software as a service.

08 Apr 2011


This is the first of what I hope will be many posts on several topics including: employment law, solo practice challenges, law practice technology, social media, news, sports, and anything else that seems interesting or worthy of comment.

There are several markets I hope to serve with this law firm:

1) Provide legal advice and counsel to employees who have claims against their employer for discrimination, unpaid overtime or unpaid benefits

2) Provide legal advice and counsel to small business owners who do not have the benefit of full-time legal or human resources staff to help them understand the complex web of employment laws

3) Provide legal advice and counsel to highly compensated individuals who need assistance negotiating a severance or changing positions under a non-compete or non-solicit agreement with a previous employer

These first couple of weeks have been hectic, mostly because of all the setup tasks that need to be accomplished, as well as determining which clients would be bringing their cases to my new firm.  Now that this website/blog is up and most of the initial setup of the firm is done, I can focus on serving clients and marketing the firm.