The State Bar of Michigan and the Institute of Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) have partnered to develop a new conference called the Solo and Small Firm Institute to help lawyers build their practices. The State Bar has also donated $5,000 to provide scholarship opportunities for small-firm practitioners attending the Institute's first conference June 21-22, 2004 at the Ford Conference and Education Center in Dearborn.
The program will include substantive law updates in key areas of interest, law practice management techniques, including making the practice of law easier and more efficient, and ways to reduce overhead and expand revenues. Small practitioners will also get an opportunity to learn more about inexpensive hardware, software and Internet solutions.
Results of a recently released 2003 Economics of Law Practice Survey undertaken by the Bar's Law Practice Management Section reveal a number of challenges that small practitioners face, including the lack of time to research technology and the need to improve productivity and marketing skills.
John T. Berry, executive director of the State Bar of Michigan, said the economic survey clearly demonstrated a need. "The Bar is anxious to help Michigan's solo and small firm practitioners. We think partnering with ICLE is an important step and we hope the extension of scholarship monies will help even more Michigan attorneys take advantage of it," Berry said.
Lynn Chard, executive director of the Institute of Continuing Legal Education said the organization's mission is to address the continuing legal education needs of the Michigan legal community.
"Solos and small firms comprise a big portion of this group. We're excited to offer programming that specifically addresses their needs. We think the support of the Bar underscores the importance of this work and the importance of solo practice in Michigan. The program promises to draw together lawyers from across the spectrum to network, share ideas and refer business to one another," Chard added.