What are the State Bar of Georgia’s best free resources for small and solo firms? Continuing with our tragically mooted National Small Business Week content . . . one thing I’d encourage any Georgia lawyer to do about once a year is to log on to the state bar website and look around to see what resources the bar offers. It seems like each time I notice something new I should be taking advantage of. To save you some time, here’s Kastorf Law’s list of the State Bar of Georgia’s best resources for solo and small firms.
The Law Practice Management Program
The Law Practice Management Program assists Georgia attorneys on office management of their firms. The program offers advice and resources for technology training, firm finances, organization and library materials. Here’s the most basic thing you need to know about it: If you ask them to, the program will send you a free book they put together for management that is well worth the price. Anyone with a small firm should go ahead and request it nowish. They also give you access to their extensive library of books to check out.
The Bar also hosts a Solo and Small firm institute, called Take Charge, and have resources specifically for solo and small firms. Contact the program director, Natalie Kelly, here, if you are interested in participating in the institute.
Fastcase, a legal research service, merges legal research with Web search to simplify case research. Fastcase is an example of something lawyers might want to re-assess periodically during their careers. It has gotten a lot better over the past few years. The web interface is at times clunky, but the case library is good and its authority check feature has improved. The truth is that most firms without massive research needs could get by just fine with this service, though its hard to see nearly as many firms cutting the Lexis / Westlaw cord as could get away with it.
The Law Practice Management Program offers training programs on Fastcase. This is a worthwhile option if you want to delay or possibly avoid adding an additional monthly expense when you first start your business.
Most lawyers know that parking at the Bar Center is free for members visiting the Bar Center for business purposes. What they may not know if that you can, in actuality, park there anytime. Its also a good option if you’re going to the Northern District and don’t want to deal with the Gulch, or if you need to park downtown during an event.
The Conference Center
The Georgia Bar offers meeting space in the Conference Center. Licensed Georgia attorneys can reserve rooms in the Conference Center for free, and the space can accommodate up to 200 people. Contact Faye First for room reservations here. The Conference Center is also equipped for video conferencing needs. To reserve a room for video conferencing, contact Georgia Bar AV manager Kyle Gause here.
The Conference Center also includes a Lawyer Lounge, which is not overly ritzy, but a good option between meetings. I used it when I was in the process of moving back to Georgia, and new firm attorneys who do not yet have client-suitable office space should consider scheduling client meetings at the bar and working in the lounge between meetings.
The Georgia Bar compiles a list for members to locate vendors. Its not ax ectensive as it ought be, but you’ll occasionally find useful contacts or discounts on services. But the more important reason people should be aware of the directory is that if you’re a small firm offering specialty services or you’re a vendor, you should probably be in the directory, and may not be yet. Submit your listing.
Lawyer Assistance Program
The Lawyer Assistance Program is a confidential service provided to Bar members dealing with a broad range of life’s difficulties. The Assistance Program provides assistance related to depression, stress, alcohol and drug abuse, family problems, workplace conflicts, psychological, and other issues. In order to maintain confidentiality, the Bar works with CorpCare Associates, Inc., an employee assistance program located in Georgia. Further, the LAP operates a hotline, staffed 24/7, for any of life’s problems. Access the hot line here.
The Bar also operates Georgia Lawyers Helping Lawyers, a confidential peer-to-peer assistance program, that connects colleagues suffering from stress, depression, or other personal issues, with a fellow Bar member to listen and help. For more information on the program, or to sign up to be a volunteer, check out the website here.
Check out the Lawyers Living Well website for more information on resources for physical and mental well-being.
The Georgia Bar also operates a Speaker Clearinghouse, which contains information about women and minority lawyers who would like to be considered for faculty members in continuing legal education programs or other speaking opportunities. The Speaker Clearinghouse is a searchable database that includes contact information. Search the database by city and course here. At the risk of stating the obvious, in 2020, if you’re hosting a panel or a multi-speaker CLE, there’s really no excuse whatsoever not to include a number of well-qualified women and minority lawyers as presenters at your event. If you don’t have someone in your rolodex already, check out the clearinghouse (and take them out to lunch afterwards).
If you would like to be part of the Speaker Clearinghouse, learn more here.
Want to learn more?
If you are interested in all resources the Georgia Bar has to offer its members, check out their website on resources for lawyers here. Learn more information about membership, or become a member, here.
Are you a small firm interested in being featured on Kastorf Law’s website? Contact Kastorf law here.