Top 4 Business Mistakes Law Firms Should Avoid

The business of law has its own set of rules and regulations. Nevertheless, as with any other businesses, it can suffer due to certain mistakes, industry inaccuracies, and errors made by law firm or its staff. Whether your law firm is large or small or whether you have a solo practice, these business mistakes can lost you dearly.

Given below are the four most common business mistakes that law firms should avoid

1. Not Focusing on Your Niche

This is particularly applicable to smaller law firms and solo practices. In an attempt to gain more clients and business, there is a temptation to spread yourself too thin and take on cases outside your area of expertise. Don’t give in to this temptation. Focus on your niche, as it allows you to deliver greater client satisfaction that will automatically enhance business and profitability. Once you are well established, you may expand the services your firm provides by hiring experts in other areas. Larger law firms that handle diverse cases should assign specific areas of work such as corporate law, environmental issues, and real estate to specific people. Having everyone look at everything is a sure recipe for disaster.

2. Not Marketing Effectively

Some law firms do not believe in marketing at all and want to rely completely on word of mouth and referrals. This is a mistake. At the other end of the spectrum are law firms that spend heavily on advertising and are puzzled by the lack of results. Marketing is an essential tool to promote your law business, but it needs to be used intelligently to offer maximum value. It is not necessary to have a full-page ad in a national newspaper. You may get better results with a small ad in a local magazine that has a greater chance of being read by your target clients. Your website can also serve as a cost-effective marketing tool.

3. Not Paying Attention to Receivables

Providing the best services to clients costs money, but when clients don’t honor their bills on time, most lawyers are reluctant to follow-up. Some clients may take advantage of you and delay payment even further. If this situation continues, you will be left low on cash, which will ultimately affect the quality of service. Remember that clients will not leave your firm because you ask them to pay what they owe, but they will surely leave if your level of service goes down.

4. Not Communicating with Clients

Not communicating is a common mistake that most lawyers commit without even being aware of it. The volume of work in a law firm is so large that you tend to be overwhelmed and may actually have no time to communicate with your client. Sounds unbelievable? But it is true. Communication with your clients is very important for business. You may be working very hard for their interests, but they need to know it. Giving regular updates to your clients by phone or email is essential. These are some of the most common business mistakes that law firms regularly make. Avoiding these mistakes will help keep your clients happy, and you will be able to retain them longer than you would otherwise.

The Golden Rules

  • Find your niche and become an expert in it
  • Market yourself well
  • Pay attention to cash flow
  • Stay in touch with your clients

Memphis Permanent Residents: What You Need To Know If Charged With a Crime

The greater Memphis, Tennessee area is home to over 1 million people, many of whom are immmigrants from other countries. There is quite a bit of legal activity in Memphis with regard to immigrants, because of the federal immigration court in downtown Memphis. It is the only immigration court in Tennessee, and also serves residents of Mississippi and Arkansas. If you’re a legal immigrant in Memphis, Tennessee and have been charged with a criminal offense, you’re facing a situation that could severely affect not only your residence in the United States, but your entire future and the future of those close to you. You should immediately consult with a Memphis criminal defense lawyer to discuss your case and what options you have for keeping the charge from becoming a conviction.

Criminal cases in Memphis are heard in the Shelby County Criminal Court building, located at 201 Poplar Ave., Memphis, TN, 38103. Other Memphis-area jurisdictions such as Bartlett, Collierville, and Germantown have their own court locations. If you are summoned to appear at the Memphis Immigration Court, you will go to the Clifford Davis Federal Building, also downtown, located at 167 N. Main St. in Memphis.

Under United States immigration laws, committing or admitting to a crime involving moral turpitude can be grounds for deportation or denial of entry. Unfortunately, there is no set definition for “crime involving moral turpitude” in the immigration courts. In fact, the phrase has been somewhat of a mystery to judges, attorneys, and immigrants.

Crimes whose elements contain fraud, larceny, or an intent to harm other people have commonly been found to be crimes of moral turpitude. Violent crimes such as murder, rape, robbery, child abuse, and assault would apply, as well as offenses such as theft, vandalism, burglary, blackmail, and forgery. Additionally, crimes against the government such as counterfeiting, bribery and perjury will trigger the moral turpitude penalties. Drug possession charges may also trigger deportation or a denial of citizenship.

A Memphis permanent resident card holder does not even have to commit one of these crimes. If he or she simply attempts or conspires to commit these offenses, or is an accessory, that also would count as commission of a crime involving moral turpitude.

Another category of offenses–aggravated felonies–are extremely serious and can lead to certain deportation. Aggravated felonies, like crimes involving moral turpitude, have no set definition and seem to vary from case to case. Even crimes that would not defined as felonies under the law of the state in which they were committed can be considered aggravated felonies in the world of immigration law. Some common examples include drug and weapons trafficking, prostitution, child pornography, and sex crimes. If you have been charged with what you believe is a crime involving moral turpitude or an aggravated felony, contact a Memphis immigration criminal defense lawyer immediately.

There are some exceptions to the strict and confusing laws regarding crimes committed by immigrants. There is what’s known as the petty offense exception, which states that if the maximum penalty for the crime is less than one year, and if the individual was sentenced to less than six months in prison, and that crime is his or her first and only offense, he or she will not be barred from receiving a visa, green card, or citizenship.

Juvenile crimes involving moral turpitude are also an exception. If the applicant was under 18 when the offense was committed, and if it was committed more than five years prior to the application, he or she will not be barred from receiving a visa, green card, or citizenship. No matter what the offense, though, if you are visa or green card holder in the Memphis area you should contact a Memphis criminal attorney to discuss your case.

Tax Relief Firms – Is it a Law Firm, Accounting Firm, Or Something Else?

The tax relief industry has experienced significant change over the past several years. As the economy worsened and Americans faced increased financial pressures, many people and businesses sought relief from the strain by not paying their taxes. In response, an enormous number of tax companies started sprouting up to absorb the unprecedented demand for tax services. Tax gurus on late-night TV and radio advertise, they’ll “settle your tax debt for pennies on the dollar.” Despite being tax geeks ourselves, we couldn’t make sense of which tax companies are good and which are bad.

Tax Relief Firms – Choosing the Right One For You

Under the broad umbrella of “tax relief firms,” there are three types of professional firms: Law firms, CPA Firms, and Hybrids. The first two types are self-explanatory, and since there’s really no industry-standard name for the latter category, calling them a “hybrid” is probably acceptable. But which of the three categories is right for you?

Law Firms

As you know, a law firm is made up of ONLY lawyers. A law firm may employ assistants, like paralegals, but a tax attorney is ALWAYS the person ultimately responsible for any tax work performed. All tax attorneys employed by a law firm are subject to the ethics rules and disciplinary action of their state bar. A tax attorney may generally represent any client in any state on any U.S. federal income tax matter.

The pros to employing a law firm are that you can feel comfortable that (i) an attorney is the one ultimately responsible for your tax matter, (ii) you have a clear method to file grievances (i.e., with the sate bar) if the attorney screws up, and (iii) lawyers are subject to strict ethics rules so they should work according to the highest of standards. The cons are that law firms generally are more expensive than the other two types of tax firms. Additionally, some law firms (or attorneys) do not focus solely (or even primarily) on tax related work, so they may lack some of the skill and expertise needed to fight the IRS. Just ask your attorney what other types of work he or she performs, and that will give you a sense of whether tax (and specifically, tax relief) is his or her specialty.

CPA Firms

At CPA firms, you will obviously find CPAs (i.e., certified accountants), but you may also find tax attorneys. Like law firms, it’s nice to know that at CPA firms, there is a professional behind the scenes who is ultimately responsible for any tax work performed on your behalf. The pros and cons of CPA firms are similar to those of law firms, except the method of reporting grievances with CPAs isn’t as well defined (but exists nonetheless) as it is for attorneys. CPA firms are generally a little less expensive than law firms.

“Hybrid Firms”

The hybrid firms include tax relief firms that are not law firms or CPA firms. Tax relief firms in this category employ a mix of tax professionals, including tax attorneys, CPAs, and so-called “Enrolled Agents.” Enrolled Agents are tax professionals certified by the IRS. They are neither attorneys nor CPAs, but are tax professionals that the IRS has concluded (either through examination or experience) that they are qualified to represent taxpayers before the IRS.

Many tax relief firms fit in the “hybrid” category. Lots of the tax firms that advertise on the internet and radio are made up of tax attorneys, CPAs and enrolled agents and thus are hybrid tax relief firms. The pros are that these companies generally charge less for tax relief work and are very good at performing tax services and working with IRS since tax controversy work is their specialty. The cons are that unlike law firms and CPA firms, these hybrid firms are largely unregulated, so there’s no clear channel (like, for example, the state bar for attorneys) to file grievances. Since they are unregulated, many of the hybrid firms are just plain bad and if they rip a client off, there’s little recourse, except the traditional routes of going to the BBB or other quasi-regulatory bodies.

Tax Relief Firms – Is it a law firm, a CPA firm, or a hybrid?

Here’s how you can determine whether a certain tax relief firm is a law firm, a CPA firm, or a hybrid firm. First, don’t assume anything just because an attorney or CPA works at the tax firm. As explained above, this is meaningless. Second (and the most obvious), just ask! A tax relief firm should have little problem telling you how it’s organized.

Psychic Detectives and Criminal Profilers – Are They Solving More Crimes?

Do psychic detectives and criminal profilers really solve crimes? Or, are they doing what B.T. Barnum would’ve been proud of? Good questions in a supposedly enlightened era of post-modern America. But, the answer is no. Actually, with all the “psycho gadgets and gizmos”, we’re solving fewer crimes against persons. And, no, the bad guys aren’t getting smarter.

Yet, we all want to believe in “supernatural” quick easy answers. So that, to answer complex social issues, we can explain away the mysterious nature of human behavior. Both psychics and profilers use extraordinary conjecture. Absent of course, any credible scientific evidence of a sound basis. In other words, these sleight of hand tactics use techniques any con artist, palm reader or magician would be proud of. Each of these areas invokes clever legerdemain to embellish upon broad generalizations. A shotgun approach with the hope getting a few hits on target. People, naturally, remember the hits and forget the misses. The fallacy of inference, in reality, smoke screens an illusion in using the pretext of natural science to prove metaphysical pseudo-science. Often overlooked are the dedicated time, energy and efforts the real practitioner puts into his or her investigation. In the real world, police officers work very hard to establish the facts. As opposed to summoning the advice of “ghost busters”.

Overall, aren’t the psychics and the profilers doing the same thing? Gazing into the mystical realm of crime causation’s crystal ball? Pseudo-science, creative guesswork, right? We could conclude it’s all very clever sleight of hand trickery, designed to hoodwink the gullible public. And, justify funding, reputations or other hidden agenda. Long term, such deception has a profound affect on public policy. Thereby influencing police operations and subsequent investigative processes. Our thinking is likewise impinged. We seem to be fixated on the surreal contrived manifestations of fantasy instead of actuality. Most of us want to find the ultimate cause and effect reason to rationalize the mystery of human criminality. So, when science doesn’t answer the entire question we want answered. People invent stuff. As we strive to comprehend criminal motivations, the search for the quick fix, easy conclusion for simplistic solution stirs the drama of imagination. Rather than applying the logical deduction of serious critical thinking, we turn to movie magic. Get ideas from television shows. Instead of following the facts, we conjure “experts” who consult the spirit world. People want comfortable, uncomplicated and trouble-free solutions. As a result, people get excited the closer they get to the edge of metaphysical illusions, charmed by effortless thinking.

If psychic detectives and criminal profilers are so successful, then how come the national violent crime clearance rate is dropping? In an assessment of major offenses, crime solution rates slipped for the last fifty years. For several decades, we’ve witnessed a decline in solving the serious crimes. In spite of psychic detectives, criminal profiling and a multiplicity of associated theories, we seem to be doing worse. Now, add to this, the vast array of “investigative reporting” from the media entertainment industry. Shows that dramatize the theories, causes and subsequent solutions concerning major crimes. Instead, the televised guesses serve to collude with the other speculative fallacies. All of which helps to confuse and distort the reality of criminal investigations.

From movie magic to mainstream news coverage, instantaneous responses to crime problems suggest we’ve got all the answers. Bottom-line, we don’t. For want of such, a myriad of seemingly profound generalizations purport rapid solvability. Naturally, this reflects our obsession with “reel” to real fantasy to reality infusions. These are pretended in the fabrication of getting inside the “criminal mind”. In the same instance, these melodramatic assertions juggle the avoidance of clear, compelling and convincing proof. Not to forget of course the obligation of requisite scientific replication. To make matters more perplexing, talk shows are good at calling up an array of “experts”. From the hallowed halls of academia, or retirement from government service, arrogance of ego rushes to fill clever sound bytes. By rhyme more than reason, a hygienic face is disguised over questionable allegations of what fact versus fiction.

Again, with an array of non-practitioners practicing psychic and psycho-profiling help, what’s wrong with our solution rate? Politics for one, which affects agency budgets, which affects personnel and resources at the local level. Recruitment, training and education of criminal justice personnel for another. These are issues for a much broader discussion in another project. Suffice it to say though, there’s a criticality in filling the ranks of law enforcement personnel these days. Despite that, why aren’t the clearance rates soaring and jail populations burgeoning even more so? You’d think with all the pretense of social “expertise”, we’d be arresting criminals in significant numbers. But, we’re not. Another analysis offers that the homicide clearance rate in 1960 was around 93%. Today, by contrast, that rate dropped to about 63% in 2000. After all, if you’ve got connections with the spirit world, don’t they know what’s going on? Aren’t the poltergeists sharing the clues? Shouldn’t we have a ghost of chance of getting all the bad guys with special help from crystal balls, or psychic sketch artists? Especially the serial killers. And, don’t forget the cannibals. Since they all look like Hannibal Lecter, one would think they’d be easy to capture. Unless of course, they’re a famous English actor. Naturally, latest television crime drama. And, certain official dogma. Tells us they all fit the same “profile”, just like in the movies. At the same time, fictional detectives appear to have all the resources they need.

Again, the “why” question. This by itself creates more questions than answers. Instead, let’s use “what” to pose the query. What then, with all the high tech sci-fi stuff, that every police department must have, is the problem? Because after watching the movies, we all know every police agency has the most well-equipped crime lab in the world. Right? Not to mention, local law enforcement manages unlimited budgets, plenty of over-time and easily cleared caseloads. You think? Plus, there are plenty of psychics, who claim numerous cases solved across the country. By their own admission of course. And, if you’re a “mind hunter”, and you’ve figured it all out. Got all the latest answers. Developed a “profile” from vast statistical data bases. Then, shouldn’t the rest be pretty simple? Hold on a second though. If the “mind” is an illusion created by the brain. Then, aren’t we hunting something that doesn’t exist? How do you get inside of an illusion? How do you interview a phantom, ghost or a specter? Okay, back to the psychics and the paranormal world of investigations. Such extraordinary sensory perception, from profiling to clairvoyance, should be right on target. Correct? Wrong!

These days it seems easier for some of us to talk to the dead. That is, than getting the dead to talk to us. In the market place of communal intercourse, we can sell snake oil curatives all day long. Post-modern times provide opportunities for anyone to be an “expert” at just about anything. Doesn’t matter if you’ve ever had any real world experience. Or, worked the streets in a police car. You don’t have to be a practitioner anymore. Just be clever, assert spurious notions and know how to work the crowd. Besides, when it comes to accuracy of prediction, how come “profilers” miss the criminal target consistently without any sense of accuracy? The reality is that none of the nebulous assertions are solutions in and of themselves. It’s a veil, a cloak and a mirror over what cops usually do. That is, analyze the crime scene and theorize about the M.O. based on the facts of evidentiary considerations. Specious allegations claim something new and different. Which isn’t really different from an assessment of more traditional approaches to modus operandi. It is different in a unique sense. Such faux replication declares scientific credibility. Unfortunately, this type of thinking into criminality is deficient in regard to the complex nature of human behavior. Generic “profiles” are turned out to “keep it simple” for others to understand. That’s trickery in creating the deception.

Perhaps we’re looking at this all wrong. Maybe the psychics are on to something. Why not? If nothing else works, then let’s go paranormal. Forget the scientific methodology of applying reason, logic and rational thinking. When in doubt, we can emphasize pseudoscience. Make it up as we go along. Most people won’t question you. This stuff gets better every time you don’t think about it. Just when you wondered it was safe to go outside your dreamscape, the magicians are telling you the dream was reality. Instead of being “mindhunters”, they now call themselves “criminal behavior consultants”. They have websites, write blogs and help real police find real suspects. And, some of them do this by talking to the spirit world. Others, in official government circles, discuss such things with their ego instead of ghosts.

How gullible do we get in solving crimes? For the arena of non-practitioners, very susceptible to cognitive bias striving for subjective affirmation. Fictional crime writers, for instance, make stuff up all the time. Likewise, so do certain aspects of the pseudo-sciences. In the so called “social and behavioral sciences” we expect you to believe it. Just because we’re from academia. Even if we don’t do the research very well. At least the publisher will still market the text book. For fictional crime writers though, isn’t that why we call it fiction? More often than, it’s getting harder to tell the difference. Especially from those theorizing about criminal behavior. Since they’ve never been to the police academy, written a police report, or made an arrest.

For many, their salacious excitement stems from prurient passion of socialistic construction, pursuing deterministic precursors of crime causation. Some are influenced by crime fiction, movies and related theatrical productions. Collectivist thinking extends from feelings instead of facts. Many academic theorists, for instance, do the same thing as the crime writer. Sometimes, the academic turns crime writer. Then cleverly finds a way to lecture the police practitioner on how to catch criminals. They might even “borrow” research papers from their students. Misappropriate a colleague’s tentative project proposal. Use it to their own ends. Pilfer from colleagues, plagiarize and so on as the magic tricks continue. Meanwhile, the nature of criminality gets blurred in the mix.

The illusion continues. Along with the distractions of academic oriented “criminal profiling”, the “psychic profilers” have joined the internet “tube” circuits. In addition to that, every Psychology 101 student, and wannabe undergraduate criminologists, wants to be “forensic profilers”. Could that be a post-modern oxymoron? If “forensic” means scientific application of scientific principles to crime solving. And, suggests the criticality of “forensic evidence” with a degree of specificity. Along with the addition of “profiler”, which means one who sketches, outlines or shapes an overview. Then, don’t we strain the meanings of the words? Whatever, some still like the card tricks angle. You got to admit these are great schemes. Make it up as you go along. Say as often as possible. Act like you know what you’re talking about. Use fallacies of logic and you’ve got it. Simply tell us you got a vision. Some spirit gave you the answer. How do we test the validity of that? Something that doesn’t exist in a three dimensional plane of reality. Can we replicate to test for the truth of such an assertion? How come the “spirit world” is not more cooperative? At the same time, why can’t visions, clairvoyance and precognition be more precise? As in say physics, astronomy or biology. You know, give us the name, date of birth, addresses and incriminating evidence for the perpetrator.

Whether “criminal profiler” or “supernatural profiler”, nothing is ever foolproof, absolute or certain when it comes to the criminality of human behavior. Except the foolish arrogance of one’s self-centered intentions. Profilers get conned by the illusion of their own game. Perhaps the conceit of sociological misconceptions about determinism fools us all. For instance, one profiler became the victim of a notorious Nigerian email scam. In his case, he’d allegedly developed special techniques to “reveal” a suspect’s “unique needs, desires and probable behavioral responses”. In dealing with his criminal “accomplices” he failed to recognize with due diligence exactly that. The “needs, desires and probable responses” of the perpetrators who chose crime as a lifestyle. In this instance, it should’ve been easy. The suspects were present at the crime scene. In cases in which people try to apply “profiling techniques”, or “psychic” intervention, the suspect is unknown. Gone, flown the coop, unknown. Note the irony here.

But, beliefs become ingrained because we want them to. Once in place long enough, it’s hard to ensure corrective countermeasures. Public officials don’t like to backtrack. Having bought into some gee whiz, quick fix latest fad “crime solving” technique. Even if they’re fairy tales based on the mythology of needful illusions. Movie magic pervades the public senses. Instead of truth, supported by fact, conclusions are based on questionable “evidence” or entrenched theories. Serious forensic applications of scientific effort, supported by strenuous crime scene analysis, may get brushed aside. In place, “psychic profilers”, non-practitioner academicians, and, a host of “criminal profilers” rush to the scene of the crime. Pandering the politicos, they might get called in to “consult” on the case. Naturally, this helps a resume’.

Fake it, say it and play it until the legends unfold. This sets the stage for potentially detrimental social policies and disastrous societal consequences. These masquerade in the disguise of some factual molding. Eventually, the magic tricks find comfort in the communal mainstream. From which, we get the “devil made me do it” mentality. So we can find multiple ways to deny accountability and responsibility. If “demonic forces of evil” are busy at work. No one has to be responsible for his or her crimes.

Therein resides the problem of “profiling” anything and turning into a “serialized” event. Conventional viewpoints search for reasons. In so doing, we instantly have “no fault” crimes. Because there’s an absolution for everything, since the culpability hides in the realm of the supernatural. How do you cross-exam a figment of the imagination? May be its “evil spirits”, or damaged DNA, or allusions to studies in phrenology. For an article of ideation to be believed, it just has to sound plausible. Make it into reruns on television and you’re almost there to the hasty generalization. Doesn’t really have to be the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Just dramatic, other worldly and clever, with lots of neat catch phrases. Like TV show crime stories. And, make sure you get it on the six o’clock news. From there, all you do is let the entertainment industry run with it. In time, the rest is social history and cultural adaptation. Sooner or later the illusion becomes fact. Fiction transforms into urban legends. Textbooks are written. Reality has been re-invented. Revisionism can change everything to look good, not necessarily credible, or being good. For the most part, that’s the human hidden agenda. Truth, based on supporting evidence, is trumped by the personal preference of self-interests.

Proficient investigative efforts respond to unsubstantiated claims by ensuring skilled inquiry. Interestingly enough, credible research and analysis concerning “psychic profiling” critically emphasize the exaggerated claims often made. None of which can be proved at any level of realistic authenticity. By extension, “criminal profiling”, in similar vein of vanity, is considered comparable to these excursions into the supernatural. Many in the field of classical criminology, from the practitioner’s perspective, take an unfavorable viewpoint regarding these pseudo-scientific perspectives. Testing the assertions of clairvoyant “experts” typically ends with hazy formless results.

Vague, imprecise and ambiguous information provide meaningless applications to real world crime-solving. In short, “psychics” don’t really help the police even when used during times of investigative desperation. Most police departments will not utilize this kind of questionable “expertise”. Given their supposed ability to tap into the spiritual realm, none have located missing children. Neither have they revealed the identity of multiple murderers. Nor, solved any other major criminal case. Yet, in collusion with mass media exploitation, “psychics” would argue to the contrary. And, for the most part, given our inherent need to believe that something beyond our human abilities is out there. The public’s disposition toward these illusions remains well ingrained in our communal mindset. Pretext of viability has stone walled an illusion difficult to dismantle.

Law enforcement is a thinking person’s gambit. Judicious thinking requires the ability to substantiate social problem-solving based on reasoned, well-support evidentiary considerations. This is a realm of mindset where bias is self-controlled by disciplined introspection. Realistic appraisals of people’s behavior necessitate an appreciation for the complexities and mysteries of human nature. None of which can be characterized with perfect specificity of detail. Career police officers understand this multifaceted intricate makeup of humanity. Most of which cannot be easily quantified into simplistic generalizations. To do so, underscores an underlying hint of ethnocentrism, potentially influenced by racism. No matter how many ghosts you talk to, or the number of killers you interview the outcomes remain nebulous at best. You will never get an accurate template that fits every single person within the spectrum of criminality.

Sources, reference data, additional resources available from author on request.