Blawg Review # 126

Welcome to edition #126 of Blawg Review.

What is Blawg Review?

If you are a business reader of this site or arrived from a search engine, you might be wondering what Blawg Review is.

Blawg Review is a roundup of blog writings on legal topics, published on a different blog each week. A blawg is a blog written on law topics (law + blog = blawg).

Why is a business site hosting a law blog roundup?

I’ve expressed my opinion before that “businesspeople can be better at business by learning more about the law. And lawyers can benefit from knowing more about business. Armed with knowledge, we are all better off.”

Besides, law blogs have some of the most interesting names for their blogs and I like to visit them if just for that reason.  Business blogs tend to have names that are straight forward and descriptive, but law blogs often are named for some humorous take on a legal phrase, or some play on words.

So what are we waiting for?

Nothing! Let’s get started:

business opportunities Business opportunities and the legal implications — explore the legal pitfalls and benefits of growing your business:

  • Franchising is an option that certain types of businesses (retail outlets, consumer services businesses, restaurants, etc.) often consider if they wish to grow. But sometimes franchising can seem complicated and daunting, especially because in the United States there are laws regulating franchises. If you are thinking about licensing instead of franchising, Rush Nigut points out in Rush on Business that you must be careful your licensing arrangement does not run afoul of franchising laws.
  • Misrepresentation in local search engine listings? Apparently it is going on at Yahoo Local and it’s against the law in 22 U.S. states. Mike Blumenthal has a detailed expose of how companies vying for more business create fake local search listings.
  • Susan Cartier Liebel of Build a Solo Practice writes about three young lawyers who combine social activism, entrepreneurship and the law. They’ve made their office in a motor-home which they drive around to give immigrants legal advice and services — building controversy along the way.
  • Increasingly, today’s virtual and lean businesses find much of their company’s value is in “intellectual property” rather than tangible property such as inventory and real estate. With that in mind, check out the article by Victoria Pynchon at the IP ADR Blog. She has started a series on settling intellectual property disputes.
  • Do you know about the IRS whistleblower program? Whatever your preconceived ideas, Brian LaBovick at Whistleblower Law Blog shares his perspective and gives you the skinny on the IRS whistleblower program in its latest iteration.

clients and lawyers Lawyers and the clients who hire them — insights into better relationships between lawyers and business people, including their fee arrangements:

  • All of you business owners wanting to know how to hire a good attorney, check these two articles. Brett Trout of Blawg IT has a short and sweet post rounding up several writings about how to find the best attorney in the world. One of the posts he points us to is at The Small Guy’s Attorney by Roland Darroll, on How to Get the Best out of Your Attorney.
  • U.S. law firms should follow the same 10 commandments of law practice management systems that Australia requires. That’s my view after reading David Jacobson’s article on Developing Law Practice Management Systems, at External Insights. (Long ago when I was an attorney I sat on a Bar association committee that reviewed malpractice complaints against attorneys. It was sad to see lawyers get into trouble simply due to chaotic management procedures, or in some cases, lack of any management systems whatsoever.)
  • Billing by the hour has been the traditional way that lawyers (and other professionals) billed their time, but recently the billable hour has come under attack. David Giacalone at the f/k/a blog points out that some suggested alternatives to the billable hour may make clients and lawyers alike worse off.  (Late addition:  see the related article on the realities of alternative billing.)
  • Contrary to popular stereotype, not all lawyers make a lot of money. Bill Henderson offers some suggestions for law firms willing to rethink their business models, illustrated by the growing divide between high paid and lower paid attorneys, over at Empirical Legal Studies. Be sure to read the many interesting comments on the post, too.

employees and employers Employers and employment legal issues — all too often the relations between employers-employees have legal implications:

  • Will employers issue iPhones to employees as their company mobile phones? James Maule at Mauled Again says employers will stay away from the iPhone because of poor moves that Apple made, such as its “always on” feature that racks up international charges whether you use it or not, and burying notice of this feature in 7,000 words of boilerplate.
  • The aging Baby Boomer population is bound to change how lawyers — and others — view retirement. So says Stephanie Allen West at the Idealawg in Who are You Calling Old?.
  • Check out Dear Bosses – Friday Humor for a chuckle and simple but powerful insight into how not to be a bad boss. From George Lenard at George’s Employment Blog.
  • Are tattoos a constitutionally protected form of self-expression? So wonders Craig Williams at May it Please the Court as he points out a pending court decision. Could be a decision you will want to know about if your receptionist shows up for work with a face tattoo with a swastika or a full sleeve tattoo and you want to know if you can do anything about it.

technology and management systems Technology and management practices — for lawyers and businesspeople who want to manage their law firms and businesses better:

  • Do you know how to properly dispose of closed files with confidential information? What about tools to eliminate all traces of electronic files? In a post that targets attorneys but offers great nuggets for businesses alike, Jim Calloway at the Law Practice Tips Blog points to two detailed and highly practical articles about data security and the proper way to dispose of confidential data.
  • Email has been a transforming technology to help us do business, but at some point email becomes an impediment to doing business, says JD Hull in Email is Making You Nuts at What About Clients. Yep — get your email under control.
  • Speaking of email, Professor Gordon Smith at Conglomerate opines on those email disclaimers that you see at the bottom of emails, telling you not to disclose, etc. Do they really have any effect? Read and find out.
  • MBAs: you may have a career in a law firm. Law firms: you may want to do what more and more law firms are doing, and hire MBAs to manage the business side of the house, as Carolyn Elefant points out at’s Legal Blog Watch.

marketing intelligence Marketing — for lawyers and with lessons for businesspeople, too.

  • Drawing on a McKinsey study, Bruce MacEwen at the Adam Smith blog advises on the care and feeding of Chief Marketing Officers in law firms. The article points out the two trends affecting marketing today that you must be aware of if marketing a professional services firm (law firm or any other type of services, I might add).
  • We’re reminded about not over-promising and under-delivering by Jamie Spencer, in Austin Criminal Defense Lawyer. Jamie writes Would You Believe a Lawyer who Guarantees Results? Now if only those marketers who keep sending me emails claiming they can get me top 10 rankings at Google in a matter of hours would listen up ….  And to all those who believe them, wise up.

Thank you for joining us, and I hope you enjoyed the merger of business and legal issues at Blawg Review #126.

* * * * *The Blawg Review blog has information about next week’s host, and instructions on how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.

Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.