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20 Practice Tips to Wow Your SmallBiz Clients

(1447 reviews)

Produced on May 28, 2019

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Course Information

Time 62 minutes
Difficulty Beginner

Course Description

Small businesses comprise 99% of America’s workforce - many of whom will struggle or fail within the first 5 years. Not all of these challenges can be solved by legal counsel, but attorneys with a demonstrated and comprehensive understanding of small business issues can help shepherd start-ups to success. For this reason, successful solo and small firm attorneys are uniquely positioned to counsel these clients, as the attorneys can relate firsthand to the issues posed by entity selection, marketing, service delivery models, the staffing structures, accounting matters, and other operational issues.

In addition to business ownership principles, great attorneys should understand the client’s business’ subject matter, and to truly wow clients, define their niche. For example  - do you enjoy researching and synthesizing administrative rules and regulations? Does offering legal services to creatives provide you with a rewarding practice? Does keeping abreast of cannabis laws excite you? Whatever niche you choose, you have the opportunity to continually impress your clients if you can offer both legal advice on the fundamentals of business ownership and subject matter knowledge from a legal perspective.

This program, taught by Max Elliott, the principal and founder of a Chicago-based firm, and the General Counsel for the Bernie Mac Foundation, Inc. will help attorneys counsel their small business clients in a “wow” way.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify your niche (small business clients who will likely use your services) while staying compliant with the Rules of Professional Conduct
  2. Determine which legal entities, including newer entities such as Series LLCs and L3Cs, will best support your client’s short- and long-term business goals
  3. Gain familiarity with primary laws, rules, and regulations governing critical components of business operations, such as business income tax laws, Intellectual Property, and wage rules
  4. Review broad rules and regulations that apply in the uncertain environment of cybersecurity and how they may affect your clients
  5. Review new frameworks, such as Opportunity Zones, which may assist your clients in furthering their business success

Credit Information

After completing this course, Lawline will report your attendance information to {{ accredMasterState.state.name }}. Please ensure your license number is filled out in your profile to ensure timely reporting. For more information, see our {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} CLE Requirements page . After completing this course, {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} attorneys self-report their attendance and CLE compliance. For more information on how to report your CLE courses, see our {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} CLE Requirements FAQ .


Max Elliott

The Law Offices of Max Elliott, Ltd

Max Elliott, Managing Attorney and Founder of The Law Offices of Max Elliott, Ltd., is a licensed, Illinois estate planning, estate administration, and wealth preservation attorney. Her firm, with offices in Chicago and New York City, focuses on unique families and women small business owners, and services include estate planning for taxable and non-taxable estates, estate administration, and advising small businesses in start-up, growth, restructuring, cybersecurity compliance, and succession planning phases.

On behalf of her firm, Ms. Elliott is also General Counsel for the Bernie Mac Foundation, Inc., a private non-profit foundation, and spearheaded the organization’s most recent restructuring. 

Ms. Elliott routinely speaks to lawyers, students, and community groups on the intersection of estate and retirement planning; small business essentials, including legal entity selection, succession planning, generational wealth transfers, and cybersecurity program planning; and fiduciary selection and other protective measures for seniors and the LGBTQ community. 

She is ranked as one of the Top 100 Black Lawyers by the National Black Lawyers organization, a member of the Executive Committee for the Chicago Bar Association’s Trust Law Committee, a 2017-18 Super Lawyers® Rising Star, a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a volunteer faculty member for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (IICLE), a faculty member for Manhattan, New York-based Lawline that provides online legal CLE for attorneys nationwide, a faculty member of Esquire CLE, a member of the U.S. Trust, Bank of America Center of Influence on estate planning, ranked “Superb” and a recipient of the Top Contributor in Estate Planning Award from Avvo, a lawyer peer ranking site, and a member of the Association of African American Financial Advisors. 

Before launching her practice in 2011, Ms. Elliott was a law clerk in a small tax law firm, assisting the principal in probate, domestic relations, corporate records, and non-profit corporation compliance.

Ms. Elliott graduated from DePaul University College of Law and, while there, Ms. Elliott co-founded, as Co-Editor-In-Chief, the DePaul Journal of Women, Gender and the Law, the first legal journal in Illinois dedicated to women and gender legal issues. She also served for 2 years as Editor of DePaul’s public interest law newsletter, “The Advocate.”

In addition to her legal experience, Ms. Elliott has more than 20 years of non-legal experience, including several years’ employment in the American Bar Association’s International Liaison Office and several years with Fortune 500 companies, including a former “Big 8 Accounting Firm” and a leading international management consulting firm. 

Throughout Ms. Elliott's career, she has also assisted entrepreneurs in creating viable business planning solutions, such as creating and implementing marketing plans, strategic operation plans, securing capital, and business succession. She has worked with start-ups in the personal care, healthcare, small manufacturing, and nonprofit sectors. This experience provides a solid foundation for the business advisory services she provides to small business owners.

Ms. Elliott has received numerous awards, starting in law school and continuing through her legal career, for her commitment to advocating for the rights of marginalized individuals and communities. 

Besides her blog started in 2011, “The Lotus Rules,” (formerly, “The Shark Free Zone”), Ms. Elliott's publications include “Improving Afghanistan Maternal Mortality Rates despite the Lack of the Rule of Law,” International Human Rights Law Institute (IHRLI) Human Rights and Rule of Law Review, Fall 2010; “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: What the Reversal of U.S. Asylum Law Means to Advocates and Women Asylum Seekers,” The Women's Advocate, Fall 2009; and “Catching Up with International Criminals in the Twenty-First Century: Modifying and Accelerating U.S. Extradition,” White Paper, Library of the International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda, Spring 2009. Ms. Elliott is also the author of the non-fiction book, “Ms. Thang, Real Knights Don't Show Up at 3 in the Morning,” published by Pocket Books, a Division of Simon & Schuster. 


  • Virtual Estate Planning: Digital Currency & Posthumous Children
  • Preventing Disasters: Estate Planning for Older, Unmarried, LGBTQ Couples in Illinois
  • Future Planning: Cryptocurrency, Cryonics & Posthumously Conceived Children
  • Planning Family-Owned Businesses: Avoiding Earthquakes and Landslides while Building Legacies
  • Diversity Matters: In/Tolerance Tales from the Solo/Small Firm Trenches
  • How to Incorporate Estate Planning into Your Offering: The Silver Tsunami, Planning Trends, and Estate Planning Myths
  • Avoiding the ARDC Checkmate: The Ethical Difficulties of Lawyers Functioning in Dual Roles
  • Professional Wills and Advanced Directives for the Solo/Small Firm Practitioner,
  • Working in a Solo Small Firm Practice Environment
  • Estate Planning and Wealth Preservation Considerations
  • The Lottery & Estate Planning for Elders: You Don't Need A Ticket to Win
  • What if I Am Neither: Estate Planning for the Transgender and Queer Community
  • Estate Planning for LGBTQ Couples: Legal Changes in Plain English, Part Deux
  • Estate Planning for LGBTQ Couples: Legal Changes in Plain English
  • Celebrating Black History Month: The Essence of the African American Community and the Law
  • Tax and Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples
  • The Silver Tsunami: Are You Prepared? (Estate Planning for Baby Boomers & Their Families)
  • Fundamental Estate Planning Documents for Today’s Families
  • Succession Planning for Attorneys
  • Basic Estate Planning Is an Oxymoron
  • Fundamental Estate Planning Documents for Same-Sex Couples
  • Changes in the Estate Planning Landscape in Light of the Illinois Civil Union
  • Basic and Intermediate Estate Planning Fundamentals
  • Marriage Equality, Hot Topics in Family Law,
  • LGBT Employment and Relationship Rights
  • Estate Planning and the Illinois Civil Union

Professional Affiliations

  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Illinois Bar Association
  • American Bar Association

 Volunteer Support

  • Chicago Women’s Health Center
  • Howard Brown Center
  • Marillac-St. Vincent Family Services 
  • Legal Advisory Board of Raise the Floor Alliance,


DePaul University College of Law, International Law

Northwestern University, Political Science, International Relations


Paulette T.

Great program

T. O.

Well presented course!

Kenneth L.

I was Wow'd by this very informative and enthusiastic presentation. Thanks!

Thomas D.

Excellent presenter!

Danielle M.

good topic

Geoffrey D.

I liked the way the presenter broke the areas down into tips.

Kristine Anne R.

The quality of the audio is very good

David L.

She was great!

Kelly H.

Great speaker --very knowledgeable in subject!

Peter F.

Very enjoyable and interesting.

David R.

Really well done. Presenter is a human being and extremely competent and engaging.

Danielle S.

She is an excellent presenter- easy to follow and remain engaged....

Michael S.

Interesting presentation of numerous topics

Bruce C.

Not what I expected, but very interesting

June C.


Dirck H.

Totally relevant to the work that I do and speaker has both mastery and clear love of the material presented.

Valerie W.

My favorite, by FAR!!

Fatima S.

Good CLE. My suggestion is to make it longer. She had a lot of material to cover and is very knowledgeable.

Eric F.

outstanding CLE

Allyson M.

Fantastic tools, especially the entity selection chart. Thank you very much.

Phillip C.

Very well presented and packed full of information.

Barbara L.

Very Informative.

Gabriel D.

Particularly informative, and well presented

Kim K.

VERY engaging presenter

Annie M.

A lot covered in this one; quality and quantity of written materials was excellent.


Ethical considerations were very well done

Liza C.

Speaker was wonderful - clear and concise.

Stuart I. J.

So informative

Joseph S.

Very good presentation

Stephen K.

Excellent and lively

Rafael G.

Good general overview of key issues for new small business clients

Agnes M.

Ms. Eliot was amazing...just brimming with information and very enthusiastic. Well done!

Holly R.

Excellent presentation that I will use in my work almost immediately. Thank you.

Ian M.

Id love to see more CLEs like this where the application is practical and immediately useful. Great presenter as well.

Kevin S.

Well done Well done presentation

Laura K.

I would also recommend the attorney presenter for my company's small business clients and borrowers.

Edward C.

Thoughtful presentation of various issues of interest to the small business lawyer.

ralph d.

Very helpful tips presented in an organized and interesting way

Amanda C.

Excellent course! Fantastic and engaging speaker.....

Arthur R.

Good presentation

Kristin W.

Excellent overview - great case law and examples. Would like more CLEs like this

Danielle W.

unique idea. Nice change of pace for a seminar.

Sarah R.

This program had a lot of practical value for myself in particular, as I cater specifically to small business owners. Excellent presenter with great in-depth materials accompanying the course.

David T.

Great tips!

Guy L.

Essential knowledge for attorneys with small business clients. And presented with details and examples in flowing and easy manner. Excellent course.

Lauren M.

Excellent presentation skills and very engaging material, one of the best videos I have seen on Lawline.

Dewette A.

she was excellent .

Barbara R.


Hyunah K.

Nice presentation!

Gilbert S.


Johnny R.

Wealth of information. Will definitely use some of this material in my client meetings and business operations.

Hope S.

Loved the content!

Mark B.

one of the best presenters kept it lively, and moved it along with a good flow and great slides

C. T. A.

Clearly knew her stuff!

Adria B.

Knowledgeable presenter. Very thorough.

Jeffrey D.


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