YLS In Brief - Vol. 13, #4 Fall 2009
A Periodic Newsletter of the Young Lawyers Section of the Arkansas Bar Association.
YLS In brief A Periodic Newsletter of the Young Lawyers Section of the Arkansas Bar Association Vol. 13 #4 Fall 2009 Editor of Inbrief Tasha Sossamon Taylor Graphic Design Anna Hubbard in this issue YLS News 2 Chair: Anthony W. Juneau Chair-Elect: Brandon K. Moffitt Sec-Treas: Courtney Crouch Immediate Past Chair: Gwendolyn L. Rucker Improving Efficiency for Young Lawyers by Amanda Thomas 5 Getting Things Done Book Review by Andy Taylor 6 Executive Council: Central: Tasha Sossamon Taylor (2010) Brandon K. Moffitt (2011) Grant M. Cox (2012) YLS Column 7 Young Lawyers Section South and East: J. Edward (“Eddy”) Doman (2010) John Houseal (2011) Brian M. Clary (2012) Northwestern: Vicki S. Vasser (2010) L. Matt Davis (2011) Brian R. Lester (2012) At Large Representatives: Brendan T. Monaghan (2010) Cliff McKinney (2011) Melissa N. Sawyer (2012) Law Student Representatives: University of Arkansas at Fayetteville School of Law: Austin Easley UALR William H. Bowen School of Law: Aimie Lockwood Become a fan! Join the Group! Arkbar Young Lawyers Section YLS News Brian Lester Honored with Outstanding Volunteer Young Lawyer of the Year Award from Legal Aid of Arkansas As part of an ongoing effort to recruit young lawyers for pro bono service, Legal Aid of Arkansas has announced its Outstanding Young Lawyer Award. Brian Lester was chosen as the Outstanding Volunteer Young Lawyer of the year. Lester was chosen because he best represents the outstanding commitment and dedication of the young lawyers in Washington County. Lester donated over forty six hours of pro bono services during 2008 and helped over eight families. Lester’s contribution has a conservative value of $5,520 to the community. Susan Purtle, Pro Bono Manager and Senior Attorney for Legal Aid of Arkansas, said, “Brian has done an excellent job for each client he has handled pro bono. In addition, he actively recruits other young lawyers for pro bono work and represents the new face of pro bono in Washington County.” Lester states his motivation to volunteer comes at the end of the representation, “When I am able to see justice prevail for someone who would not have otherwise been able to afford a chance to proceed.” Lester is a lawyer because “I saw the legal profession as a challenging and rewarding profession that provides the foundation of our society.” Lester has handled family law matters, guardianships and prevented foreclosure on a client’s home. He is currently handling an appeal pro bono. Lester, a native of Texarkana Texas, graduated from the University of Arkansas School of Law in May of 2006. Following the advice of the late F. Lewis Steenken Lester began volunteering with the Equal Access to Justice Panel in 2007. Lester is a member of the Washington County Bar Association, the Arkansas Bar Association, the W.B. Putman Inns of Court and Central United Methodist Church. Lester’s practice focuses on criminal, property and family law. He is in private practice with the Lester Law Firm in Fayetteville. Lester was be recognized at Soul Restaurant and Lounge on October 22, 2009 at 7 p.m. by the Young Lawyers Section of the Arkansas Bar Association and Legal Aid of Arkansas. Circuit Judge Mark Lindsay was on hand to recognize Lester’s pro bono contributions to the community and the Bar. Mayor Lioneld Jordan declared October 25-31, 2009 as Pro Bono Week in Fayetteville as part of Washington County Bar Association’s participation in National pro bono week with the American Bar Association. Legal Aid of Arkansas is a non-profit corporation with a vision to improve the lives of low-income Arkansans by championing equal access to justice regardless of economic or social circumstances. Click here for more information about Arkansas Pro Bono Partnership. 2 YLS In brief www.arkbar.com YLS Holiday Party Thursday December 3, 2009 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. Arkansas Bar Center 2224 Cottondale Lane Enjoy fun food and drinks including a bruschetta bar, dessert bar, and sandwiches from Trios and plenty of adult refreshments. Mingle with your fellow YLS members and bring a friend to join! Please contact Brian Clary at email@example.com if you have any questions. Click here for directions to the Bar Center. This is also a great chance to check out the meeting space that is available to you as a member. YLS News Hats Off Christy Conrad and her husband, Reece, welcomed a baby boy, Jackson Conrad, into their family on June 22, 2009. Johnathan D. Horton and wife Sarah welcomed twins, Harrison Graham and Ella Grace on April 16, 2009. Candice Smith was recently listed in Arkansas Business’s new feature: “The New Influentials: 20 in Their 20s.” Click here for the article. Aaron Martin and his wife Christina welcomed their first child, Henry Louis Martin, on September 22, 2009. Brandon J. Harrison was recently appointed to the Arkansas Supreme Court’s Committee on Civil Practice. Additionally, Mr. Harrison’s essay entitled The Lawyer as a Professional Writer, will appear in a forthcoming issue of the Arkansas Law Review. Amber (Wilson) Bagley and her husband, Alan Bagley, welcomed a daughter, Anna Elizabeth, to their family on August 13, 2009. Jason Campbell was married to the former Sarah Gill in June of 2009. Mr. Campbell was also recently recognized as a “2009 Mid-South Super Lawyer – Rising Star” in the fields of civil litigation defense, construction litigation, and professional liability defense. Katherine Prescott and her husband, Keith Prescott, welcomed their first child to their family on May 6, 2009. They named their new little girl Alice Katherine Prescott. Brian Blackman and his wife, Amy, welcomed to their family their first child, a daughter named Emsley Cate, on September 3, 2009. Lucie K. Brackin has joined The Landers Firm and continues her practice of domestic relations law in Memphis, Tennessee and Crittenden County, Arkansas. Zane A. Chrisman recently took a position as Regulatory Counsel for USAble Life. Rashauna A. Norment passed the Patent Bar this past summer and is now a Patent Attorney. Ms. Norment is an Associate Attorney with the Calhoun Law Firm. YLS Section Meeting December 10, 2009 Noon - 1:00 p.m. Arkansas Bar Center All YLS Members are invited to attend a brief meeting to discuss changes to the Bylaws recommended by the Executive Council Mock Trial Volunteers Needed Please consider becoming a volunteer for this year’s Mock Trial Competition. It is a rewarding way to introduce high school students to the legal system. If you would like more information please contact Rando Hicks at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.arkbar.com. If you have information on YLS Members who deserve a “Hat’s Off” or would like to submit ideas for articles, please contact the editor of “In Brief,” Tasha Sossamon Taylor at email@example.com. Vol.13 No. 2/Spring 2009 YLS In brief 3 Thursday, January 21 CNA Risk Management for Attorneys 3.0 Ethics hours A premium credit on professional liability insurance is available from Regions Insurance to all attorneys who attend. Mid-Year Meeting Friday, January 22 Probate and Trust Law Track Featuring nationally known speaker Natalie Choate who will speak on Making Retirement Benefits Payable to Trusts and Planning for Retirement Benefits: Recent Developments and Current Trends. Real Estate Law Track: • Understanding What it Means to Be “Green” • Green Residential Developments: Practical , Profitable and Sustainable • RESPA 101: The Impact of RESPA Reform on the Settlement Services Industry Enjoy great receptions in addition to great CLE: Thursday 5:00 - 6:30 p.m. Reception at the Peabody Hotel sponsored by The Law Alumni Society of the U of A School of Law Friday 5:00 - 6:45 p.m. Traditional Barbecue Dinner at the legendary Rendezvous followed by the 6th annual Desserts and Drinks Gala at the Peabody Hotel from 7:00-8:30 p.m. January 21-22, 2010 Peabody Hotel Memphis, TN a end g a l l r fu o f here k c i cl Maximum 9.25 Hours CLE Offered Including 4.0 Ethics Hours 4 YLS In brief www.arkbar.com Practice Tip Improving Efficiency for Young Lawyers by Amanda Thomas Attorneys from all fields deal with the issue of efficiency. Improved efficiency will lead to a more productive workday and might result in fewer hours of work charged to a client. Speed, competence, and price are all factors weighed by clients as they decide whether to pay your bill and mastering those factors might increase your chances of realizing that payment. This article addresses several helpful tips used by my associates and colleagues, which might not work for everyone. Whether you are looking for a few tips or an efficiency overhaul, hopefully this article will help you reach your goal. 1. Case management spreadsheets. If you don’t use one already, a “master” case spreadsheet is an incredibly efficient way to keep up with your open and inactive files. These are especially useful if you have several managing partners or over ten to fifteen matters. A basic spreadsheet does not have to be complicated, but rather can contain six columns. Start with your file number, add the responsible partner, the client, a description of motions to be filed or tasks to be completed, the date you need them completed, and a column for completed dates. If you have a particularly unwieldy case or have several open cases for one client, individual spreadsheets may be beneficial, and Microsoft Excel will link the separate spreadsheets to your master spreadsheet. Having all of this information in an easily searchable format will prevent you from having to go to the file to determine what to do next. It will also help you plan your weeks and days by tracking priority deadlines by date and responsible partner. If you have multiple partners or supervising attorneys, the spreadsheet also allows them to review your progress at-a-glance and prevents them from having to send you multiple case status emails. 2. Spend one hour a day planning the next seven (or eleven). Taking one hour in the morning or at the end of each day to plan out your daily tasks will prevent a shotgun approach to your day. It provides an opportunity for you to complete tasks in a serial fashion, starting and finishing one task, as opposed to multitasking your way through the day perhaps never completely finishing anything. You may think that five to seven hours a week is too many hours to spend planning, but this time investment will pay for itself via increased efficiency. Now that you have your master spreadsheet, take those tasks you have identified and list them by days, taking into account your appointments and court schedule. Include family or social events and days you intend to work late or leave work early. Taking the time to line out tasks throughout your week avoids procrastination, keeps you focused while you are working, and facilitates efficiency to increase your production, billable hours, and maybe even create more time to spend away from work. For attorneys with families, planning ahead provides the structure to a weekly schedule so those significant others can plan around the late nights, early mornings, trials, and deadlines as much as possible. 3. Use the technology available to you. Regardless of which file management/email/ calendar program your practice provides, pick the program you are most comfortable working with and use it religiously. You might even be able to synchronize some programs with your Smartphone, increasing your access to information at your fingertips. In most file management/email/calendar programs, an attorney can keep track of emails, daily tasks, and notes of time to bill into the billing program; manage client contact information; and turn emails into tasks or notes to prevent something from slipping through the cracks. This prevents an attorney from using multiple programs at one time or losing papers or cards of tasks or billable time. It also allows anyone access to see the attorney’s day, week, or month at one time. 4. Working file system. While multiple copies of file documents can become cumbersome, a working file on your desk prevents having to share, or even worse, surrender a file to a partner or supervising attorney while working on a certain task. Copy whatever your partner or supervising attorney has given you and place it in a file marked “working copy” to be kept in your office. All of your research and notes can also go into this file without cluttering up the clients’ file. If you have planned to work late on a Wednesday and your partner has the file locked in his office, you are out of luck and most likely thrown off deadline. With a working copy, you can keep yourself on track and have access to the documents at your discretion. You and your managing partner can work on the same file without having to share it for documents. A working file system also prevents an associate’s potential loss of an all-important original document. When you’re done with the working file, deposit the entire folder in the file for later use, sort the necessary contents into the file, or simply shred it. 5. Isn’t there an app for that? In fact, there are several apps for attorneys with iPhones that may be useful. There have been several blogs written on the top iPhone apps, including Jeff Richardson’s Top Ten iPhone Apps for Lawyers (Above the Law) on his blog iPhone J.D. If you are using a Blackberry, there are apps for that, too. See the Young Texas Lawyers’ blog post, Best Blackberry Apps for Lawyers, for their top ten list. Mandy Thomas is an associate at Pryor, Robertson, Beasley & Smith in Fort Smith, Arkansas. She practices bankruptcy, collections, estate planning, and general civil litigation. For questions or comments, please email firstname.lastname@example.org . Vol. 13 No. 2/Spring 2009 YLS In brief 5 Book Review Book Review: Getting Things Done — The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen Book Review by Andy Taylor This book has revolutionized my life. Or at least the three weeks of my life since I’ve finished reading it. I entered private practice about four months ago, and after a few weeks, I realized that I needed some method of organizing the multiple cases (and multiple tasks that go along with each case). That’s when I decided to read Getting Things Done, by David Allen. The book is geared toward people—like attorneys—who do what the author refers to as “knowledge work.” The overarching theme is that in order for us to function most efficiently, our minds must be clear of distractions or stress. The author believes that our brains aren’t exactly all that good at managing multiple tasks. He writes that the part of our brain that retains tasks isn’t very good at balancing multiple tasks, and puts all tasks at the top of the list, so that “mow back yard” has the same priority as “file brief with Arkansas Supreme Court.” By using lists to manage our tasks, he argues that we can clear our mind and be more efficient at our work. For those who haven’t read the book, I highly recommend it. However, I thought it’d be helpful to share a couple of tips from the book that I have found helpful and that you can start applying today: 1. All tasks—whether large and small, and whether short-term and long-term— should be on a list somewhere. My list has everything from calling the doctor to have a prescription refilled to building an arbor over our back patio. 2. Convert all items on the to-do list into a “next action,” rather than simply having a list of topics, projects, or goals. Allen defines a “next action” as “the next physical, visible behavior” on a project. The idea behind 6 YLS In brief www.arkbar.com “The overarching theme is that in order for us to function most efficiently, our minds must be clear of distractions or stress. “ this is that we will avoid items on our to-do list when there is still a decision to be made about what to do. By deciding what the next action is, we remove this barrier to completing the items on our list. Of course, there’s much more to the book than just these tips (and he does a better job of explaining them, too). For example, it has a very detailed system for organizing your to-do list, because when you write everything down, it can be rather daunting. For example, my to-do list, which I store electronically at www.toodledo.com, has 148 items on it. That sounds like a lot, until you consider that until a few weeks ago, I was trying to juggle all of these to-do items in my head. Besides which, now that I’ve completed this book review, I’m down to 147 items. Andy Taylor is an Associate Attorney at Cullen & Co., PLLC in Little Rock, Arkansas. Mr. Taylor can be contacted at email@example.com or at (501) 370-4800. For more information about David Allen, author of Getting Things Done, visit his website at http://www.davidco.com/. More helpful tools Online Task Managers • Toodledo www.toodledo.com • • Nozbe www.nozbe.com • • Todoist www.todoist.com Articles • Time Management Tips for New Lawyers (ABA YLD) http://www.abanet. org/yld/tyl/speced/ getlife.html • • RocketMatter Blog: Getting Things Done Series http://www.rocketmatter.com/blog/gtdfor-legal-the-weeklyreview-and-wrap-up/ • • How Planning Ahead Can Increase Your Law Firm’s Efficiency http://www.thecompletelawyer.com/lawpractice-management/ how-planning-aheadcan-increase-your-lawfirms-efficiency-3190. html Young Lawyers Section Report Community Service: Our Responsibility by Anthony W. Juneau 18 ife to and L Go: Law Day k for ndboo s al Ha n A Leg g Arkansa Youn May 1, 2010 tion First Edi tion ed by Prepar Associa as Bar s Section Arkans Lawyer Young The Young Lawyers Section (“YLS”) is off to a great Bar year. One of the YLS’s primary projects for the year is the Wills for Heroes Program. Through the Wills for Heroes Program, the YLS will offer free wills and other estate planning documents to Arkansas’s fire fighters, police officers, and first responders. This program will allow the YLS to say “Thank You” to those who provide a great service to our state and its citizens. Co-chairs Brandon Moffitt (Little Rock) and Zach White (Heber Springs), have done a great job organizing this project. Additionally, several YLS members from all three Bar Districts have expressed a willingness to volunteer their time and abilities to assist with the Wills for Heroes Program. Over the next several months, the YLS volunteers will begin scheduling times to meet with the “heroes” to prepare their estate planning documents. The YLS is also in the process of raising money to distribute the “18 & Life To Go: A Legal Handbook for Young Arkansans” publication (“Handbook”). This publication will provide high school seniors with a brief overview of Arkansas law on topics such as contracts, real estate, torts, family law, and criminal law. The YLS’s ultimate goal is to place a copy of this publication into the hands of every high school senior in the state. We estimate that it will cost $20,000 to $30,000 per year to publish the Handbook. Over the last three months, we have spoken with several state departments and corporations about funding this worth- Reprinted from The Arkansas Lawyer magazine Vol. 44, No. 4, Fall 2009 while project. Although we have not yet obtained the money necessary to print the requisite number of handbooks this year, I am confident that we will obtain the needed funding. To view a copy of the Handbook, please visit the Association’s website at www.arkbar.com. On October 1 & 2, the YLS presented the “Bridging the Gap: Filling the Gap Between Law School and Practice” CLE Seminar at the UALR Bowen School of Law. Topics discussed included mediation, solo practice planning, estate planning, bankruptcy, family law, and e-discovery. Every year, the Bridging the Gap seminar provides a great opportunity for young lawyers to learn various aspects of the practice of law from experienced and qualified attorneys. As always, the YLS is grateful to the members of the Bar, which included both state and federal judges, who donated their valuable time to present at this CLE. The newest members of the Arkansas Bar Association were sworn in at the Arkansas Supreme Court on October 23, 2009. The YLS greeted the new attorneys and provided them with literature about the Association, as well as a Statute of Limitations Handbook. As its name indicates, The Statute of Limitations Handbook, which was updated by the YLS two years ago, provides the statute of limitations for all causes of action in Arkansas. All new admittees are automatic members of the Association’s Young Lawyers Section. As discussed in the Summer 2009 edi- “Through the Wills for Heroes Program, the YLS will offer free wills and other estate planning documents to Arkansas’s fire fighters, police officers, and first responders. This pogram will allow the YLS to say “Thank You” to those who provide a great service to our state and its citizens.” tion of The Arkansas Lawyer, the YLS will conduct more “meet and greet” events this year than it has in the past. In September, IVIZE, a litigation support and discovery management company, sponsored a social event in Little Rock, which was well attended by members of the YLS. IVIZE has also expressed an interest in hosting an event in Fayetteville, which is expected to take place in November. Members of the YLS will receive notification of the Fayetteville event, as well as all other social events, by e-mail. The YLS consists of all members of the Association who are under the age of thirtysix and/or who have practiced for less than five years. The YLS is always in need of volunteers to assist with its many projects. If you are interested in volunteering your time and abilities to the YLS, please contact me at 479-464-5657 or by e-mail at tjuneau@ mwlaw.com. n Vol. 13 No. 2/Spring 2009 YLS In brief 7 Raising the Bar with Tradition, Integrity & Trust Arkansas Bar Association 112th Annual Meeting June 9-12, 2010 Join Us at the Arlington Hotel & Spa & Hot Springs Convention Center Expanding upon tradition this year with new CLE topics and an additional venue. Transportation provided between venues. New YLS Event this Year: Hospitality Night Friday, June 11, 2010 On the Terrace of the Springs Hotel & Spa (one block from the Arlington Hotel) Fun, food, refreshments & DJ! More to come....... 8 YLS In brief www.arkbar.com