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Opening and Managing your Practice: Do’s, Don’ts, and Everything In-Between (IL)

Opening up your own solo or small practice is challenging and scary and exciting all at once. And no one teaches about it in law school. And even if they did, if you go out on your own after working for another firm for many years, you still face the same sorts of challenges and have the same questions. And there are about a million things you need to know and do, beyond just practicing law, to successfully launch, run and grow your practice.

This program will give you a good foundation and explore the most important things you need to know to make it happen — and to make it happen as smoothly as possible.  We’ll talk about the real basics, such as formation entity, name, physical or virtual office space, and cybersecurity and we’ll move into the more difficult stuff like hiring staff or taking on partners, risky clients, billing, fee structures and forms, conflicts checks and engagement letters and managing client expectations.

We’ll end the day with a discussion about ethics, preventing problems and “things I wish I knew when I opened my practice.” If you take a look at the agenda in the tab below, you’ll see more specifics about each topic and many more that we’ll discuss at this program.

This is a fantastic program for those about to launch, or those that have launched in the last few years and still need to know about certain areas of running your practice, or better ways to do it (see the agenda).

We look forward to having you at the program!


Special Offer: Sign up for this course and our annual Presentation Skills for Attorneys (IL) program (on June 8th) and get 25% off your total order! (See the fees section for details.)


9:00 – 10:00
Setting up a practice
The Basics

  • Name
  • Entity Choice and Formation
  • Malpractice Insurance
  • Website/Logo/Bio
  • Office or virtual office and leasing

10:00 – 10:45
The Tough Decisions

  • Hiring someone or not
    • Independent Contractors v. employees
    • FLSA, UC, WC and other implications.
  • Taking risks on clients
  • Partnership
  • Using consultants to bullet-proof your practice

10:45 – 11:00  BREAK

11:00 -12:15
Finance & Accounting

  • A quick accounting and tax primer, or why your accountant is your new best friend
  • Banking – IOLTA Accounts, record keeping
  • Accounting/bookkeeping systems
  • Tax planning
  • Billing and invoicing systems
    • Accounts receivable and other billing and paying issues
  • Payment methods (processing credit cards)
  • Business and personal budgets/planning

12:15 – 1:15 LUNCH
(lunch on your own)

1:15 – 1:45
What I wish I knew when I started

1:45 – 3:00
Client and Practice Management

  • Practice Management Software
  • Engagement letters – engagement/disengagement practices
  • Conflicts Checks
  • Work flow management
  • Legal Research
  • Client service/Managing client expectations/Communication with your clients
    • Fee structures
  • Mentors

3:00 – 3:15
Preventing Problems

  • What gets put in writing and what doesn’t
  • Confirmations
  • Retaining information
  • Client sign-offs

3:15 – 3:30 BREAK

3:30 – 4:30
Ethics issues

  • Cybersecurity
  • Spotting and avoiding conflicts
  • Attorney Client privilege issues
  • Other issues and traps to watch out for

Dates and Times and Locations

June 9, 2017

9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (lunch on your own)
Check in between 8:30 – 9:00 a.m.

DoubleTree – Magnificent Mile
300 E. Ohio Street
Chicago, Illinois, 60611

(Be sure to arrive at least ten minutes before start time if you want to make sure you have a good seat)


Trevor Clarke, Esq.
Director, Justice Entrepreneurs Project
The Chicago Bar Foundation

Trevor Clarke is the Director of the Justice Entrepreneurs Project (JEP) of the Chicago Bar Foundation (CBF). The JEP, a groundbreaking incubator for newer lawyers to start their own socially conscious law firms seeks to expand legal services to low and moderate income people by developing innovative new models through which lawyers in solo or small practices can sustainably serve these clients. 

Before joining the JEP and CBF as staff, Trevor was one of the first graduates of the JEP program and started his own law office counseling small business and nonprofits, an area of law he developed through pro bono work at The Law Project at Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Trevor earned his law degree from DePaul University College of Law, summa cum laude. While at DePaul, he was a legal extern in the Office of the General Counsel at the MacArthur Foundation, a Sullivan Human Rights in the Americas Fellow, and a Fellow at the National Commission against Biopiracy in Lima, Peru.

Lisa L. Clay, Esq.

Lisa L. Clay, Attorney at Law

Lisa Clay is a lawyer because, to her, practicing law means being able to help people accomplish their personal and business goals. To be a solo attorney – unaffiliated with a traditional law office – requires maintaining the knowledge and independence to help her clients solve problems in creative and cost-effective ways.

As a solo practitioner she assists small businesses and individuals with practical and effective solutions to problems arising in day-to-day management, employment, and commercial disputes. She works hard to avoid litigation whenever possible, but pursues it when necessary.

Practice Areas:

Lisa has nearly 15 years in practice. She currently focuses her practice on the following areas.

* Employment and Commercial Litigation

* Employment counseling, policies, manuals and handbooks

* Family law counseling and litigation

* Title VII, FLMA, ADA, ADEA, FLSA and related state litigation

and administrative agency matters

* UCC, FDCPA, FCRA, consumer fraud and related claims

* Contract, fiduciary and tort claims

* §§553 and 605 piracy claim defense

* Copyright troll defense

Eleanor Endzel, Esq.

Endzel Law, LLC

Eleanor (Nora) Endzel received her B.S. from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in 2006 and her J.D. from the DePaul University College of Law in 2012. During law school Eleanor clerked for the Honorable Judge Michael Hyman and the Honorable Judge Kathleen Kennedy in the Cook County Circuit Court’s Domestic Relations Division, where she saw time and again how people without attorneys stumbled through the litigation process. Upon graduation, Nora was accepted to the inaugural class of the Chicago Bar Foundation’s “Justice Entrepreneurs Project”, a legal incubator created to help new lawyers develop sustainable practices serving low and middle income clients.

Dedicated to serving people who lack access to affordable legal services, Nora formed Endzel Law, LLC in 2013 and focuses on providing affordable representation using alternative billing methods and limited scope representation, when possible. Nora primarily practices family law with an emphasis on cooperative divorce.  In 2014, Nora completed an interdisciplinary Collaborative Law training and is proud to also offer the Collaborative Divorce process to her clients.

Nora is a member of the Chicago Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association and the American Bar Association.  She also volunteers her time as a pro bono attorney at Chicago Volunteer Legal Services in the areas of divorce, parentage, adoption and as a Child’s Representative. She also serves on their Junior Board.

Clinton Ind, Esq.

Clinton is an experienced litigator having worked in both big and small firms and on both big and small cases throughout his career.  Clinton built IND LAW LLC with the objective of providing superior legal services to each and every client.  Clinton achieves this goal by working cooperatively with each client to understand the client’s objectives in both the case and the client’s greater business strategies.

Clinton practices in a wide range of areas.  He defends commercial and residential cases in contested foreclosure litigation,  represents commercial clients in contested contract litigation, and also prosecutes cases on behalf of injury victims.  Clinton is an experienced litigator and trial attorney.  He has obtained multi-million dollar jury awards for his clients, and effectively litigates cases to obtain favorable settlements prior to trial.

Clinton lives in Chicago with his wife and three small children.

Patrick J. Lamb, Esq.

Valorem Law Group

Pat is a founding member of Valorem Law Group, a business litigation law firm. The firm pioneered the use of Value Fees (some use "alternative fees") for business litigation, believing fees can be fixed and incentives created for any business dispute. 

Currently a Member of the Board of Trustees for the College of Law Practice Management. Former Partner at Butler Rubin Saltarelli & Boyd.

Pat earned his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School in 1982 and has a BA from Northwestern University.  

Jessica L. Oldani, Esq.

Oldani Entrepreneurial Law, P.C.

Ms. Oldani holds a Juris Doctor (J.D.) and a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in International Business and Trade Law from The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois, with LL.M coursework certificates in International Corporate and Finance Law and International Trade Law. Prior to founding Oldani Entrepreneurial Law, P.C., Ms. Oldani practiced international business and trade law at a boutique Chicago-based firm representing multinational business clients. 

Years prior, after graduating from Washington University in St. Louis, Ms. Oldani founded and ran her first business, a successful Chicagoarea not-for-profit corporation. With an innate understanding of business and law and a life-long love of the market, Ms. Oldani brings real-world operational and bottom-line intelligence to her practice, advising small-to-midmarket businesses on structuring and protecting domestic and international entities, relationships, and transactions. Ms. Oldani represents for-profit and not-for-profit clients in a wide range of industries, and serves as a knowledgeable and trusted advisor, not only for her clients, but also within the local business community.

In addition to running her practice, Ms. Oldani serves on the Board of Directors of the Main-Dempster Mile, addressing district-wide commercial development in Evanston, Illinois, and is a Member of the City of Evanston Minority, Women, and Evanston Business Enterprise Development Committee, working to address community needs. Ms. Oldani is a respected speaker on legal issues relevant to entrepreneurs and business leaders.

R. Matthew VanHoeven
VanHoeven & VanHoeven, LTD

Please check back soon for full bio!

Patrick Walsh, Esq.
Trial Lawyer & Real Estate Attorney

Trial attorney. Real Estate: Curative litigation, multi-state residential real estate document preparation practice. Licensed to practice law in California, Illinois & Texas. Co-Counsel relationships throughout the United States.

Received his JD from the John Marshal Law School in 1989. Formerly served as an ASA at the Cook County State’s Attorneys Office.


Martin Whittaker, Esq.
Senior Counsel
ABA Center for Professional Responsibility

Martin Whittaker is a Lead Senior Counsel at the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility and Director of the ABA Standing Committee on Specialization.  He previously worked for five years as an Attorney Editor of the ABA/BNA Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct and the ABA’s Annotated Model Rules of Professional Conduct and was counsel to a working group of the ABA’s Commission on Ethics 20/20, a commission appointed to perform a review of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct and the U.S. system of lawyer regulation in the context of advances in technology and global legal practice developments.

Prior to joining the ABA he worked for approximately fifteen years as a civil litigator for several Chicago firms, the last six years of that time as a sole practitioner.


Special Offer: Sign up for this course and our annual Presentation Skills for Attorneys (IL) program (on June 8th) and get 25% off your total order! (See the fees section for details.)

Use coupon code SpecialPS in the “view cart” screen. This offer cannot be combined with other coupons. *Legal Aid attorneys and students should call us directly to place an order at 877.858.3848. The discount applies to audio/DVD orders as well.


Registration fees are per person.

Individual: $425

Group: $399 per person for 2 or more from the same company pre-registering at the same time

Government employee/Non-Profit* Rate: $299

Law Students/paralegals*: $235 (current JD students only – please call to register for this program as a student)

Program materials:

We’ve gone green.  Registration fees include an electronic copy of your handbook emailed one week in advance of the program.  Be sure to check your spam folder if you don’t see it by then.

If you prefer, you may order a hard copy of the handout to be provided the day of the program for $25. To do so, please be sure to check the box when you register. If you want a hard copy, you must order it when you register; there will not be any available for purchase the day of the program.

** Legal Aid/Non-Profit attorneys are those attorneys employed by Legal Aid/Non-Profit firms. It does not include attorneys who have their own practice, or are employed by law firms, that volunteer their time for non-profit causes or take on pro-bono cases. Full and partial scholarships may be available to a limited number of non-profit/Legal Aid attorneys, based upon registration. Please call (877) 858-3848 to discuss or email your request to info@pincusproed.com.


CLE Credits

IL General:  This program is approved for 6.0 general CLE credit through June 8th, 2020.

IL Professional Responsibility: This program is approved for 6.0 Professional Responsibility Credits through June 8th, 2020.

CA General:  This program is approved for 6.0 units of general CLE in California.

NJ General: The LIVE session of this course is approved, under New Jersey’s CLE Approved Jurisdiction policy, for 6.0 CLE units. Pincus Professional Education is a CA Accredited Provider, which is a NJ approved jurisdiction. See the New Jersey State CLE Board Regulations and Guidelines for further information.

NY General: The LIVE session of this course is approved, under New York’s CLE Approved Jurisdiction policy, for 6.0 CLE units. Pincus Professional Education is a CA Accredited Provider, which is a NY approved jurisdiction. See Section 6 of the New York State CLE Board Regulations and Guidelines for further information.

This program is approved for CLE in the states listed above.  Upon request, Pincus Pro Ed will provide any information an attorney needs to support their application for CLE approval in other states other than what is listed above.

Terms & Refund Policies

Recording policy: No audio or video recording of any program is permitted.

Seminar Cancellations: Should you be unable to attend for any reason, please inform us in writing no later than 14 days prior to the event and a credit voucher will be issued. If you prefer, a refund, less a $50 non-refundable deposit, will be issued. No refunds or credits will be given for cancellations received within 14 days of an event. However, if you notify us within 14 days of an event, and wish to convert your in-person attendance registration to an Audio CD package (with handout), we can do so. A small additional shipping charge, and sales tax in CA, will be incurred. No shipping charge is incurred for downloads. We will also issue a voucher for the amount paid if you notify us within 14 days and prefer not to have the audio recording.

Substitutions may be made at any time.

Reminder: The room temperature at hotels and other seminar locations are notoriously hard to control. Please bring a sweater or jacket in case it gets cold and/or layer as if you are going to the movies so you are comfortable.

For policies related to audio products, please select “I want a download or CD” on the right.

$299.00$425.00 each

Opening up your own solo or small practice is challenging and scary and exciting all at once.  And there are about a million things you need to know and do, beyond just practicing law, to successfully launch, run and grow your practice. Join us to learn the most important things you need to know to avoid critical mistakes in the future.


Printed Materials

[ All attendees receive a pdf of the materials one week prior to the program. To purchase a printed hard copy, please select this option to order it now. ]

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