President's Message

Blueprint for success for your practice

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LKlein

Photograph Courtesy of the Office of the President.

In 1999, Associate U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor put her finger on an issue that continues to plague lawyers—time management.

“Certainly, life as a lawyer is a bit more complex today than it was a century ago,” she wrote. “The ever increasing pressures of the legal marketplace, the need to bill hours, to market to clients, and to attend to the bottom line, have made fulfilling the responsibilities of community service quite difficult. But public service marks the difference between a business and a profession.”

As ABA president-elect last year, I traveled around the country, asking lawyers what they need from a national bar association. They told me that the administrative burdens of running a law practice cut deeply into the time they have to do what they love—practice law.

This is particularly true for small-firm and solo practitioners who constitute 76 percent of U.S. lawyers.

During a stop in Denver, a solo lawyer told me: “I don’t have time to practice law because I have to make time to send client bills and collect them and pay my own bills.”

In Fargo, N.D., a lawyer told me his legal secretary quit to become a greeter at a car dealership. Why? She needed health insurance for herself and her family, and the solo practitioner couldn’t offer it.

These stories inspired us to generate solutions to their dilemmas. The ABA’s first goal is to serve our members with the objective of providing benefits, programs and services that promote professional growth and quality of life. In the spirit of that goal, we are proud to unveil ABA Blueprint, a dynamic online tool that provides access to services packaged to help solo and small-firm lawyers manage the complexities of their practices.

ABA Blueprint provides members and other lawyers a convenient way to obtain services essential to running small-sized practices, from billing technology to virtual assistants to insurance.

Some of the products available through Blueprint include Ruby Receptionists, a virtual receptionist service offering a special Solo Plan that is exclusive to the ABA. Also Clio, which provides cloud-based law practice management software, is offering a 25 percent discount on its Boutique subscription. Other notable products with special discounts and rebates for ABA members include LawPay, Lexicata, Quickbooks Online, and Office 365.

ABA members also will have access to member-only features including the Firm Builder, an online chat service that offers customized practice solutions based on members’ individual needs and free consultations with practice management experts.

The latest ABA Legal Technology Survey Report shows that nearly 40 percent of small-firm lawyers are using law practice management software, while 30 percent of solo practitioners report using it. The ABA hopes to expand on this trend, offering better and more economical options.

The ABA developed Blueprint with CuroLegal, a legal technology consulting and software development firm owned and operated by lawyers. It runs in conjunction with another new member benefit initiative—ABA Insurance. The affordable insurance program, administered by USI Affinity, offers competitive pricing from top carriers on life, disability, dental, vision and travel insurance, as well as student loan consolidation. We anticipate that additional types of insurance savings, such as home, auto and health, will be available in the future.

These benefits provide extraordinary value. Members get the quality services they need while potentially saving far more than they pay in dues.

But ABA Blueprint is about more than just saving money. By lightening their administrative burdens, lawyers will have more time for what they want to be doing—practicing law.

Justice O’Connor went on to write in 1999 that there was “no greater duty” and “no greater pleasure” for a lawyer than devoting time to serve a community.

ABA Blueprint is designed to make being part of our profession a little easier and more rewarding for all lawyers.

Please visit www.abablueprint.com to learn more.

This article originally appeared in the December 2016 issue of the ABA Journal with this headline: “Blueprint for Success for Your Practice: New ABA member benefit offers lawyers practice tools at deep discounts.”


Follow President Klein on Twitter @LindaKleinLaw or email abapresident@americanbar.org.

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