1 Law Firm Start Up Kit for Aspiring Law Firm Owners Prepared by Bizibody Technology Articles, templates and checklists to help lawyers navigate through the practical issues of setting up their own practice. C o n t a c t D e t a i l s S e r e n a L i m B i z i b o d y T e c h n o l o g y T e l : s l i b i z i b o d y. b i z
2 Law Firm Start Up Kit for Aspiring Law Firm Owners CONTENTS: Title Type 1 Starting Right Overview Article 2 Compliance and Registration Checklist Checklist 3 Small is the new Big Article 4 Marketing - Lawyers Are Not Salesmen the Art of Selling Professional Services Professionally Article 5 Marketing Website Basics for Lawyers Article 6 Marketing Web Marketing Suite Brochure 7 Technology Overview Article 8 Technology - Sample Budget for 5 Person Law Firm Template 9 Technology - Sample Budget for 2 Person Law Firm Template 10 Finances Overview Article 11 Finances Choosing Your Bookkeeper Article 12 Finances Client Account Management Article 13 LEAP Accounting Product Factsheet Brochure 14 LEAP Documents Product Factsheet Brochure
3 1 Starting Right Overview With the right guidance, setting up a law firm need not be a daunting affair, in fact, it can be a rather enjoyable process. This overview will guide you through your setup process and highlight the key considerations you need to think about. A. Business/Marketing Planning Decide where you Want to Go This is probably the most important. Take the time to do the necessary business planning. Key questions to ask yourself : What do you do better than the next lawyer? Should you be a General Practitioner or market yourself as a specialist provide specialist? Who is your target client? Sample Business/Marketing Plan available at: Your-Strategic-Marketing-Plan.doc B. Determine the Road Map for Getting There 1. Marketing Plan 2. Technology Plan 3. Premises 4. HR 5. Business Structure 6. Budget C. Statutory Compliance and Registration Some of the statutory requirements for setting up a new law firm include: 1. Choosing A Business Name 2. Consider what form of business organization you wish to work with: Sole Proprietorship, Partnership LLP, LLC 3. Register your intended law practice with the Law Society of Singapore 4. Register your business with ACRA 5. Familiarise yourself with the second signatory and approved bookkeeper requirements under the Solicitors Accounts Rules. For a more detailed checklist, refer to the Compliance & Registration Checklist in the Startup Kit. D. Costs of Setting Up Setting up fees are considerably lower than in the past as bits and bytes replace hard copy libraries. Budget for the following start-up costs: 1. Law Society Registration 2. Registration of business entity 3. Professional Liability Insurance 4. Rental Deposits, 5. Renovation, Furniture
4 6. Hardware Costs: Personal Computer, Printer, Scanner 7. Subscriptions to EFS, Lawnet, IPOS, STARS, Justice Online 8. Software: Microsoft Office, Anti Virus, Legal Accounting Software 9. Broadband and Telephone Setup 10. Marketing: Logo, namecards, website, printing, signboard 11. Optional items: PABX, Door Access System, Multi-Purpose Copiers, Disbursement Recovery Systems Grants and Financing: It is important to preserve cash at the startup. Cash preservation strategies include: Managing your Expenditures: Prepare detailed budgets and resist the temptation to spend on plush premises and carpets unless they are absolutely critical to your branding and marketing. Government Grants: Check if there are government grants that you can use to subsidize your start up costs, eg: IDA-SIP Grant for websites, GST Grant and LETAS Grant from Spring Singapore Financing : It may make sense to finance your startup costs via a hire purchase or finance lease. If possible, try to secure a package that does not penalise you for early repayments. E. Operational Tips For Easier Operations Here are some things you can do to ensure that you don t get unnecessarily bogged down by administrative matters. 1. Choose a conveniently located and responsive bank to open an Office and Client Account with. 2. Engage an outsourced bookkeeper who is approved by the Law Society. 3. Consider outsourcing the following functions to reliable, experienced and responsive free lancers: despatch, filing, completions. 4. Operating Budget: Budgeting is important. Make time to crunch out your budgeted monthly expenses, and to monitor the same.
5 2 (A) Registration Process COMPLIANCE AND REGISTRATION CHECKLIST ACTION SOLE PROPREITOR / PARTNERSHIP LIMITED LIABILITY PARTNERSHIP (LLP) LIMITED LIABILITY CORPORATION (LLC) 1. Apply to Law Society for Approval of Name LF FORM 1 ctice/pdf/lf1.pdf LLP Form 1 pendix/appendix2.pdf LLC Form 1 _appl_form.pdf 2. Register with ACRA Online Register a New Business. A Unique Entity Number (UEN) will be issued upon successful registration. Register an LLP Note that all Partners must log in with their SingPass to endorse the application pendix/appendix4.pdf A UEN will be issued upon successful registration. Register an LLC orp/app2_lawcorp_rules.pdf A UEN will be issued upon successful registration. 3 Prepare Partnership Agreement / Memorandum & Articles of Association (for LLC Only) Partnership Agreement LLP Agreement The Partnership Agreement must be subject to the LLP Act & LLP Rules. See First Schedule of the LLP Act pendix/appendix3.doc Memorandum & Articles of Association corp/app4_memo&art.pdf 4. Apply to Law Society to appear in the Register of Law Practices LF FORM 2 ctice/pdf/lf2.pdf LLP 2 Form pendix/llp2.pdf LLC 2 Form orp/llc2.pdf (B) Qualifications REQUIREMENT ACTION 1. MEDISAVE All self employed (including partners of LLP) To find out your Medisave liabilities log in to using your SingPass must top-up Medisave before they can register / renew their To top up your Medisave, you can pay by NETS (AXS machines), internet transfer through bank account, or by cheque visit Bizibody Technology Pte Ltd Tel:
6 registration of business with ACRA 2. LPMC Course Requirement under S75C of LPA Exemption: Lawyers who are already sole prop / director / partner of a law practice prior to 9 March Continuous practice experience for 3 years Applies to all lawyers admitted after 1 March 1997 Exemption: Lawyers who are already sole prop / director / partner of a law practice prior to 9 March Sharing of Premises Consent required if sharing with a non-law firm for application forms. Register for the LPMC Course (LPMC_Reg) or undertake to complete the course within 1 year from date of commencement Mandatory Requirement, no exemption. However you may write to the Minister of Law for exemption (to shorten the 3-year period) if you have prior experience of legal practice in Singapore or elsewhere Write to Law Society attach floor plan. Describe 1. Nature of business of shared occupier; 2. Nature of relationship between shared occupier and law firm; 3. Physical separation of space between law firm and shared occupier; 4. Steps taken to ensure client confidentiality 5. Practicing Certificate You must hold a valid practising certificate at the time you commence new practice. Guidelines for Application Professional Indemnity Insurance All Directors / Partners must be covered. In addition, the LLP / LLC itself must have separate mandatory cover of up to $2million Apply to First Capital Insurance Limited telephone Mr Nardan at or download forms at Bizibody Technology Pte Ltd Tel:
7 3 Small is the New Big Presentation at the Future of the Legal Profession Conference 2007 by Serena Lim, Bizibody Technology You don t have to be Big to be Strong We used this tag-line to launch our Small Practice Solutions family of outsourced services and technology applications a year ago; and it is still true today. Growing big for the sake of size is no longer fashionable when the focus is on profitability, the quality of service delivery and the durability of the client relationships. The good news is that being small can be PROFITABLE. The main thrust of my paper at this Conference is to show you how the business environment today favors small practices over large. In our capacity as technology and business process consultants to law practices over the last four years, we have witnessed, at close proximity, the trends taking shape in the industry in Singapore and abroad. The prevailing global trends which support our claim are 1. SMALL = FAST & ADAPTABLE We have moved away from the old paradigm where the Big ate the Small to one where the Fast eat the Slow Jason Jennings, author of Think Big, Act Small: How Best Performing Companies Keep the Startup Spirit Alive Small means the founder makes a far greater percentage of the client interactions. [The founder] is close to the decisions that matter and can make them quickly Seth Godin, Author of Survival is not enough: Why Smart Companies Abandon Worry and Embrace Change The increasing pace of change wrought by technological advancements makes it increasingly difficult for any business to predict the future. The best strategy for survival in an ever-changing business environment is the ability to stay responsive and agile. With few exceptions, we are constantly discovering that entrepreneurial drive, innovation and derringdo are much more evident in the Davids of the legal scene and not Goliath. A small practice only needs a dynamic and business-minded head to respond to the challenges of an increasingly competitive market; while business and management decision making in a larger firm are convoluted processes often encumbered with self-interest groups and cronyism. A striking example of this is found in the impact of the liberalization of conveyancing scale fees in In a very short time, traditional giants such as Khattar Wong and Lee & Lee gave up their dominance in the retail conveyancing sector to emergent practices such as KK Yap and PKWA Law Corporation. These practices responded to the liberalization with lightning speed by restructuring their lawyer-staff ratio and relocating their offices to the HDB Hub. By investing heavily in document automation systems and in customer relationship skills upgrading for their staff, they have worked an amazing transformation. With waiting lounges that rival those of first tier law practices in the CBD, these practices now offer efficient and consumer friendly legal services in conveyancing and personal law to consumers in the heartlands.
8 Not surprisingly every small practice lawyer we interviewed in the making of our CD Joys of Being Small referred to their ability to respond quickly to market forces as one of their strengths over larger practices. 2. Economies of Small vs. Economies of Scale Let s look at the business of law from an economic viewpoint. The practice of law is a quintessential knowledge business where the theory of Economies of Scale (cost of production decreases as the scale of production increases) does not apply. Where your sole means of production is your knowledge worker and not factories or machinery, having more fee earners to share your cost does not necessarily translate to a lower cost of production. Why? Firstly, each fee earner can only support a fixed amount of work, and after all there are only 16 waking hours in each day. Secondly, the task of managing, supervising and training more fee earners invariably requires the practice to support a suitably large pool of non fee-earning personnel such as an office manager, IT technicians, accounts staff and a financial manager, a librarian or knowledge manager, a HR manager, amongst others. Quite clearly, in terms of cost, being large enough to own the means of production (in relation to support and non fee-earning capacity) does not necessarily translate to lower cost of production per knowledge worker. It s no longer about OWNERSHIP, but ACCESS by Douglas Brown & Scott Wilson, author of The Black Book of Outsourcing Reducing operational overheads can be achieved by smaller practices through sharing of office premises, office equipment, and clerical staff; while back-office administrative functions such as IT support, courier services and bookkeeping can be outsourced to professionals. The fundamental wisdom of outsourcing lies in the principle Do what you do best and let others do what they do best; most efficiently and at least cost to both parties. Outsourcing allows the lawyer to focus on core fee-earning activity while leveraging on the expertise and resources of the outsourced services provider to fulfill the other non-core areas; at a cost that a small practice can afford as fees to the outsourced provider are easily tailored according to degree of utilization of services. While outsourcing of administrative and non-legal support functions by law practices is commonplace, the recent phenomenon of legal off-shoring by big companies such as GE and Citicorp who began outsourcing low value legal work, primarily in transcription services, document drafting and management to low cost centers in India proved that even work that requires legal input can be outsourced to legally trained professionals. In Singapore, we are likely to see small practice lawyers cross-hire other lawyers to provide legal research or litigation support whenever they need more legal minds on a project. 3. The Problem with Larger Practices The drivers of profitability in a law practice (as for any other business) are utilization, expenses and leverage. I have explained, in the earlier paragraphs, why I believe that size has no positive bearing on the first two factors. As for leverage, large practice profitability depends on having the work completed at the right level of delegation and on successful collaboration and teamwork. The truth is that lawyers, lacking training in project management roles, make poor managers. Too often, supervision is done at the
9 output rather than the input level, thus negating hours of work which the junior associate has put in. Lawyers are prone to under-delegate, negating the advantage of leverage. Law practices are notorious for inherent cultural and organisational inhibitors to knowledge sharing. Maybe it s a psychological tic carried over from the adversarial nature of our legal training, or maybe it s because lawyers are paid to know things which others do not. Whatever the cause, in an imperfect knowledge system, the benefits of previous work products, know-how and experience will not be fully realised. 4. Technological Advances Level the Playing Field Now the means of production is in your head dispersed physically but connected by technology, workers are able, on a scale never before imagined, to make their own decisions, using information garnered from many other people and places Thomas L Friedman, Author of The World is Flat, A Short History of the 21 st Century In his book, Thomas Friedman describes how exponential technical advances in telecommunications and the internet has leveled the playing field by allowing people from all over the globe to plug and play, collaborate and compete, share work and knowledge. Globalization 3.0, coined by Thomas Friedman, is driven not by major corporations or giant trade organizations, but by individuals desktop freelancers and dynamic startups from developing countries who can compete and win, not just low wage manufacturing jobs but, increasingly, high-end knowledge services. By leveling the playing field and granting individual lawyers the same access to resources, information and expertise traditionally held by the large law firms, a small practice is now bestowed the same potential to succeed. The leveling of the playing field makes it even more attractive for lawyers to run their own practices for these reasons:- A. The falling cost of hardware and software (for word processing, practice management and other work processes) has made technology resources affordable to small practices. In our experience, smaller practices in Singapore are quicker to adopt and benefit from new technology than larger practices as they are not burdened by legacy systems nor deterred by the comparatively larger implementation cost. B. Small practices now have access to communication and collaboration systems to help them deliver services as effectively (and impressively) as larger practices. In fact small practices that deploy cutting edge, sexy applications (such as deal rooms and video collaboration) do so not only for the useful cost-saving functions such applications offer but also to enhance their image as dynamic, progressive AND big.
10 4 Marketing Lawyers Are Not Salesmen the Art of Selling Professional Services Professionally In Selling the Invisible best-selling author and advertising guru, Harry Beckwith argues that what consumers are primarily interested in today are not functions and form, but relationships. We are told that first, we must first establish credibility; then trust, and eventually the agreement to collaborate will be won. Because professional services are not a commodity that customers can see, touch and taste for himself, trust is critical to getting new work. At the same time, being in the business of providing professional services requires lawyers to sell their expertise. This puts many lawyers in an uneasy quandry the distaste for self-promotion kicks in hard every time an opportunity to market your expertise presents itself, for you intuitively feel that engaging in any form of hard sell is destructive of trust. Persuasive marketing is somehow unbecoming for a lawyer, and degrading to the profession. This apparent contradiction continues to plague lawyers today; especially solo and small firm practitioners who do not have recourse to the institutionalised and indirect marketing channels (such as free client seminars, newsletters, ads in legal publications) deployed by larger practices. How many times have you heard a colleague declaim I am a lawyer, not a bloody salesman? This article discusses underlying perceptions and mistaken beliefs that hinder marketing efforts by lawyers. Selling intangibles, unlike commodities, requires a different approach. Angst over what you believe is required of you to win new business might be serious impediment to effective marketing. 1. It s Not About Winning Thinking in terms of winning means that there is a winner AND a loser. This brings a needlessly competitive perspective into the professional relationship. If it s either win or lose in your mind, the insidious message is that you have to beat out your competition, beat down your client and win at all cost. It is no wonder you consider marketing degrading. In selling intangible services, you only win when the client wins too. Your goal is to serve the client, NOT to make the sale. If you serve the client, you ll probably get the sale. If you don t get this sale, you stand a good change of getting the next one. See Paragraph Do the Best for Your Client, Every Time Even if it means referring your client to another lawyer who is better placed to serve him, your client will appreciate your integrity evidenced by your willingness to place his interest above your own. This gesture builds trust more effectively than any number of cases fought and won on his behalf. In winning the case, you are merely doing a job you have been paid to do, and the client will expect no less. If you subscribe to this mantra to do the best for your client, every time and live by it; a remarkable result ensues when a business opportunity presents itself that is within your expertise. If you are honest about the value of your service to the client, then it is the very essence of professionalism to aggressively help the client see that value you are no longer the salesman spinning the con ; you are, as in all cases, doing the best for your client.
11 3. It s about the Client; Not about You When making a pitch, it s natural to feel the pressure personally. After all, the Client is evaluating your trustworthiness, your ability to deliver on your credentials, even your personality; all on the basis of a single face-to-face meeting. You make it worse by obsessing about how to inveigle a rehearsed spiel of capabilities, past successes and references into the conversation. Come prepared to have these things said, but plan to use none of them. You may believe that such things add to your credibility; the fact is, it either intimidates or bores the client because it s about you, not about them. Limit yourself to 60-second answers, and then turn your attention back to the client. The client has a legal problem, find out how you can help him. In your interview, focus on the client needs, not on your menu of services. 4. Focus on what you can do for the Client, not on what you have done for others. Naturally Clients will use experience and credentials as a qualifier and as justification to the Board who might question their choice. But these are merely ways to make the shortlist; they are not foundations for trust and dependability in the relationship. In your interviews with a prospective client, discussions on your wealth of experience, your credentials, past cases valiantly fought and won are not the most persuasive means for the client to decide if they can trust you. In effect you are saying you should hire me because of what I am telling you about other clients I have helped and other cases I have won. Instead you should stay focused on what you can do for THIS client NOW. You can t sell intangibles by talking about them; you can only do it by giving the client an experience of having you on their team, working with them to solve their problems. The good news is that as soon as you begin to do so, you are displaying your experience, living up to your credentials, fulfilling your professional obligations and marketing your services, all at the same time! 5. Clients Do Not Seek to Trust their Own Expertise they Seek Experts they can Trust. Clients may appear to know all the legal issues and what they need. They don t. Clients don t like to display their ignorance for fear of being weak and taken advantage of. So they respond by tightly bounding the problem statement and telling you only what they think you should know. Only the most self-confident clients admit that they don t fully understand the problem which is precisely why they seek out experts. A well-defined problem makes the answer look easy. The real expertise lies in ferreting out the underlying anxieties and attendant complexities; and re-crafting the problem in a more realistic and helpful way. Clients will appreciate that you have taken time to really listen and to knuckle down on their problem even if you don t know what the legal answer is at this point. 6. Create New Opportunities to Demonstrate your Usefulness. It s a myth that if you just do good work, the business will come. Good work on the last project simply says you are best qualified to do the next project. The crux still to be addressed is what is the next project? Only very occasionally will the client ask you to start work on another project after the successful conclusion of the first; more usually, it is up to YOU to create the opportunity to provide further services to the client.
12 To sell him on the next project, you will need to be knowledgeable about his business; to be creative and bold; and to believe in the value you deliver to his business. You can suggest ways to reduce risk, tighten contracts, engage more constructively with business partners; in real and practical ways, show them how useful it is to have a lawyer on the team. In conclusion, there is only one piece of advice here that bears repeating It s About the Client, Not About You. Serve the client and you will find yourself effectively marketing your professional services professionally, without having to make a sales pitch.
13 5 Website Basics For Lawyers Like it or not, the internet has changed the way information flows around the planet. Increasingly, the internet is our first port of call when looking for information. In a world that is increasingly online, using a Web site as a way to obtain new and qualified clients has become a necessity. Some solo and small practice lawyers may still hold firm to their belief that an internet presence merely leads to more nuisance calls rather than more business; preferring to rely on traditional methods such as personal and word-of-mouth referrals. A few are happy to announce that they have enough work, thank you very much, and don t need the internet to extend their reach. We believe that no matter how established a law practice is, an omission (your prospective client not finding your practice on the internet) is likely to leave an adverse impression that you are a not a serious business undertaking with a sterling professional reputation and a credible client list. As a supplier of legal services, your corporate website in this internet age shows pride and professionalism in your craft. A corporate website has become an essential business tool, just like your business card. HOW TO BEGIN? Your law firm website must serve its primary purpose which is to inform prospective clients of your experience, skills and reputation. To be effective in delivering this message, the site must be informative, aesthetically pleasing, user-friendly and easily found by the internet search engines. We will discuss each element in turn 1 Domain Name Selection Your domain name should be a) Short Long domain names are user Make it easy for people to type and remember it. b) Memorable Short does not mean memorable. However, using initials for your domain name may be unmemorable, unless the initials are already a famous brand, eg IBM. For this reason, if you are a partnership, the law firm naming flexibility offered by LLPs and LLCs (eg Justlaw; Onelegal; Legal Solutions; is a factor to be considered when structuring your law practice. c) Related to the Business Name or Core Business Consider adding law or legal as the name will then help to establish the nature of the business eg: You should also consider choosing a domain name that reflects your area of practice, rather than the name of your firm. Eg This may be a good strategy if you are a new firm, and have not yet established a brandname in the market.
14 d) Difficult to misspell Try to avoid names that are easy to misspell. Eg Globallaw. Should there be one l or 2 l s? 2 Hosting With every domain names, there will be 3 hosting factors to be considered: the domain name hosting, the web hosting and the hosting. The 3 types of hosting can be by 3 different hosting companies. Eg: domain name hosting can be by the domain name service provider whom you registered your domain name through. The web hosting can be by the service provider who is maintaining your website; and the hosting can be by the broadband provider or a specialist hosting provider. From our experience, it does not matter that the hosting is done by 3 different companies, as the different types of hosting require are a different area of expertise, and it is usually difficult to find the expertise in one company. Eg, Singtel may be a big company that can provide broadband + web hosting + hosting, however their main focus is on providing broadband and connectivity, so their domain, web and hosting facilities lack beyond some of the players who only specialize in web and hosting. The main factors to look out form in respect of the different types of hosting are: 1. Is the company specialized in that form of hosting 2. Do they provide 24/7 helpdesk service 3. Is the helpdesk easy to get through? 4. Does the hosting service provide a system administration that enables you to control the hosting eg: for domain names, do you have a login access to a system admin interface that allows you to point the domain to a specified name server? Transfer the domain name or update the details of the owner without the assistance of the service provider? 3 Selecting A Web Design/Development Company Web design and development is challenging as it requires both technical and creative skills. Aside from the usual factors of cost and experience, level of professionalism and understanding shown, client references, we would recommend that you select a company that has on their team, graphic designers trained in web design, web programmers, and people who understand search engine optimization and marketing, even if you do not intend your website to have any interactive or e- commerce facility. Why? Because a company that is equally strong in graphic design, technical programming and search engine marketing will be able to deliver successful websites that are not just pretty to look at, but coded in a way that is easy to update and search engine friendly. Furthermore, if you needed to enhance the website in future, eg to plug in a shopping cart or to include a client login facility, the same company would have the capacity and skillsets to provide the same. For those reasons, and for reasons of reliability and continuity we would also suggest that you avoid freelance web designers, unless you know them personally.
15 4 Design with Purpose You have many different design options when creating your website. This is usually governed by how much you are willing to pay the web designer. We believe that simplicity is key. A showy site replete with style-driven multi-media flash presentations is likely to alienate a cost-conscious client looking for a more conservative image. From a technical point of view, flash-driven web sites take a long time to download and are not search-engine friendly. We do not recommend it for these reasons. In designing websites for lawyers, we notice that lawyers have a tendency to one extreme or the other; either boring and nondescript or overkill. Simply put, your site should represent the image you wish to portray which is professional, competent and assured. 5 Make Website Content Informative For your website to serve its purpose of informing prospective clients of your expertise, it should contain up to date information about your credentials, awards, accolades and past achievements. Most search engine friendly sites also contain legal information useful to the public. Giving away free legal information will serve to draw new visitors to your site; and may improve your rankings on search engines. 6 Keep Your Site Up-to-date A cardinal rule for effective websites is to keep your content up to date. Even if your website contains only information about the practice, it should reflect current achievements and appointments. When was the last time you updated your website? Is the content up to date and relevant? If you can t afford to pay a web programmer to maintain your website you can do it yourself! Even without knowledge of HTML (the programming language used on the internet), a build-yourself website with content management enablement (LEAP WebBuilder is a subscription service) that allows you to edit text and images; and create fresh web pages as easily as a Word document. 7 Ensure your website is easily found by Search Engines In the course of our research on Singapore law firm websites, we have encountered a few well designed websites but could not locate them, even by typing the name of the law firm on Google. Without being found by search engines, your website is about as effective as a ream of glossy brochures tucked out of sight in your desk drawer. To make your site findable, you must submit your website to top search engines (Google and Yahoo at the very least). In fact, for your website to be truly effective in extending your reach, ensure that Google ranks your site on the first page for search words used describe your service (example, divorce lawyer in Singapore ). To do this, design your website with search engines in mind. Make it clean and search-engine friendly. The website text, titles and meta-tags must contain words that describe your expertise and specialization. Evaluate the search engines and submission criteria; study their methodology for ranking sites. Google takes into account links from other sites (to your site); so submit your website to as many online directories and public information sites as you can.
16 Search Engine Optimisation has developed into a science. If you lack the time or interest to monitor your page rankings and study your site for search engine optimization, you can hire a professional to do this for you. Web Marketing specialists, in addition to selling you Ad Words on Google or Yahoo, can also undertake SEO for a fee. 8 Be Your Own Webmaster To build, update and maintain websites, you need to know how to program in a web language like html, java or php. Lawyers (unless you have an abiding interest in the internet) will find it too time consuming to learn how to program in web languages (html) and the free text protocol (ftp) to upload the information to your host provider. To solve this problem, you need to ensure that your service provider plugs in a user-friendly content management system into your website. Such systems are usually provided for a small monthly subscription fee, and are well worth the fee, as it ensures that you have control over your website, and that you can update the site content at any time. Make sure that the content management system has a user friendly interface that you can manage. HOW WE CAN HELP For many firms, the Website development process can appear daunting, with the result that websites remain an item on their Law Firm s to do list, year after year. We have helped many mid-sized and small law firms develop their law firm websites. Our law firm portfolio is available on request. Our team comprises talented and experienced graphic designers and web programmers. Our project managers possess a legal cum IT background. Our team strives to develop law firms websites that are cost effective, easily update-able, and search engine friendly. To ease the financial burden, our Web Marketing Suite for law firms currently includes a very attractive government (IDA) grant of up to $ , which will finance up to 80% of the web development costs. Law Firms who do not currently possess a website are entitled to apply for this Grant, however please note that the grant is for a limited period only. Our web marketing services for law firms includes: 1. Website Design and Development 2. Content Management System 3. Web Hosting 4. Search Engine Marketing ( SEM ) 5. Search Engine Optimization ( SEO ) 6. IDA-SIP Grant Administration Please refer to the Web Marketing Suite brochure in the Law Firm Startup Kit. For more information, please call or
17 6 WHAT YOU WILL GET: Law Firm Website: Professional Web Design + Programming Development of Website with a choice of layouts Customised Graphics & Images Easy to use Text Editor + User Training Assisted Content Creation + Copy Editing Feedback/Contact Us/ Enquiries Form Web Hosting for 12 months Helpdesk Support during business hours Submission to Internet Search Engines Google, Yahoo and MSN Free 2 Hour strategic consultancy on how you can use the Web to market your practice Listing on SME MarketSpace, including account subscription fee for 1 year TERMS & CONDITIONS 1. You must meet the IDA SIP Grant Eligibility Criteria. 2. Prices quoted exclude GST
18 7 Technology Overview Technology plays a key role in every law firm. Some older practitioners may view technology as a necessary evil, and yearn for the days when technology was less pervasive, and legal work was churned out using type writers and conveyed through snail mail. Other practitioners simply cannot imagine practising without technology and embrace technology as an essential and indispensible part of their practice and worklife. Like it or not, technology has changed the way that law is practiced and the way that business is done, and there is no returning to the good old days. We have included 2 Sample IT budgets for a 2-person and 5-person law firm in the Startup Kit, to assist you in your IT budgeting. How We Can Help Legal technology implementation and consultation are areas that we excel in. We are able to offer the full spectrum of law firm technology services, from generic IT setup and maintenance to implementing software solutions specifically designed for law firms, including practice management systems such as LEAP office, Electronic Filing Systems (EFS) and Justice Online (JOL), website design and development and online marketing. We also assist clients to procure lease financing and government grants for their technology implementation. IT planning is difficult for most lay persons, and you are likely to need professional advice for your implementation, for navigating through your options and for prioritising what to implement first. We would be happy to answer any specific questions you may have regarding your IT setup, even if you are not intending to make your purchases through us. Where we are unable to meet your specific needs, we will help you to source for providers who can assist.
19 Sample IT Budget for 5 Persons (with Entry Level Server, EFS, Lawnet, Justice Online and Practice Management System) 8 1 Item Qty Unit Price Total Price Monthly Fees Entry level Microsoft Small Business Server with 4GB RAM, RAID 1, and 3 year (next business day) warranty 1 $ 4, $ 4, Desktops with 19" screen, MS Office SBE OEM Edition 5 $ 1, $ 7, External 1Terrabyte Harddisk (for movable backup storage) 2 $ $ Automated Backup Software 1 $ $ Entry Level Firewall 1 $ 1, $ 1, Antivirus SBS Edition (2 year license) 1 $ $ For 5 PCs and 1 Server Includes Antivirus, AntiSpyware, AntiRootkit 7 24 port Gigabit Switch 1 $ $ Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) 1 $ $ Installation/Setup 1 $ 1, $ 1, EFS Setup (including Smartcard, Adobe Acrobat) + monthly subscription 1 $ 1, $ 1, $ Lawnet Setup and Monthly Fees (Due diligence and Legal Workbench (2 lawyers)) $ $ $ Practice Management System (2 licences) + setup+ maintenance 1 $ 3, $ 3, $ Multi purpose Copier, Printer, Scanner, Fax (50 pages per minute) 1 $ Broadband 1 $ $ $ Virtual PABX (I-Phonenet) 5 $ $ $ SAMPLE - FOR REFERENCE ONLY 16 Justice Online Setup and Subscription 1 $ $ $ Website Design & Hosting (with Governement Grant subsidy of $2000) 1 $ $ $ TOTAL $ 22, $ Assuming 100% financing over 3 years at 4.5% pa $ - $ Total monthly instalments and subscriptions $ 1, PDF processed with CutePDF evaluation edition
20 9 Sample IT Budget for 2 Persons (Peer to peer network, EFS, Lawnet, Justice Online and Practice Management System) Item Qty Unit Price Total Price Monthly Fees 1 Desktops with 19" screen, MS Office SBE OEM Edition 2 $ 1, $ 3, External 1Terrabyte Harddisk (for movable backup storage) 1 $ $ Automated Backup Software 1 $ $ Antivirus SBS Edition (2 year license) 1 $ $ Switch 1 $ $ Installation/Setup 1 $ $ EFS Setup (including Smartcard, Adobe Acrobat) + monthly subscription 1 $ 1, $ 1, $ Lawnet Setup and Monthly Fees (Due diligence and Legal Workbench (1 lawyer)) $ $ $ Practice Management System (2 licences) + setup+ maintenance 1 $ 2, $ 2, $ Multi purpose Copier, Printer, Scanner, Fax (20 pages per minute) 1 $ 1, $ 1, Broadband 1 $ $ $ Virtual PABX (I-Phonenet) 2 $ $ $ Justice Online Setup and Subscription 1 $ $ $ Website Design & Hosting (with Government Grant subsidy of $2000) 1 $ $ $ SAMPLE-FOR REFERENCE ONLY TOTAL $ 10, $ Assuming 100% financing over 3 years at 4.5% pa) $ Total monthly instalments and subscriptions $ PDF processed with CutePDF evaluation edition
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