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Risk Management Practices for Small Firms & Solo Practitioners

(1k+ reviews)

Produced on August 10, 2017

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Course Information

Time 1h 2m
Difficulty Intermediate
Topics covered in this course: Ethics Litigation

Course Description

Risk management issues, including avoiding bar discipline inquiries, are a particularly tricky area for solo practitioners and small firms, who often lack sophisticated internal risk controls. Please join professional responsibility lawyers Colleen Burke (from Collins Einhorn Farrell PC), Kathleen Clark (of Washington University Law in St. Louis), Trisha Rich (from Holland & Knight) and Shannon Nordstrom (from Nordstrom Law Office, PLLC)
for a lively panel where they will discuss common ethical pitfalls, including managing data security and metadata, social media responsibility, partnership agreements, identifying and managing conflicts, and properly handling client accounts.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Assess the ethical implications of data security
  2. Understand appropriate social media use for attorneys
  3. Discuss best practices for attorney Partnership Agreements
  4. Identify and mitigate conflicts of interest
  5. Examine good billing procedures for small firms and solos

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 .


Trisha Rich

Holland & Knight LLP

Trisha Rich is a Chicago litigation attorney and a member of Holland & Knight’s Litigation and Dispute Resolution practice. Ms. Rich focuses on complex commercial litigation, as well as legal ethics and professional responsibility matters.

In her commercial litigation practice, Ms. Rich represents a wide variety of clients in litigation and other disputes, including national and international companies, small businesses, municipalities and state agencies, and individuals. She has extensive experience in resolving disputes between businesses and represents clients at the trial and appellate levels in a wide variety of matters, including actions for breach of contract, breach of warranty, fraud, consumer fraud, deceptive trade practices, tortious interference and all aspects of real estate, property management and receivership litigation.

As a member of the firm's Legal Profession Team, Ms. Rich advises lawyers, corporations and law firms on various issues related to professional responsibility, including partnership and corporate structuring, fee disputes, conflicts, confidentiality and privilege, and professional disciplinary issues.

Ms. Rich has first- and second-chaired a number of trials and evidentiary hearings in both state and federal courts, and also has represented clients in administrative hearings. She is a member of the Trial Bar for the Northern District of Illinois, has argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and is a 2012 graduate of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy’s national trial practice program.

Ms. Rich is active in the legal ethics community. She founded and coordinates the Attorney Defense Initiative, the first privately sponsored pro bono initiative in the nation that focuses on assisting impaired lawyers facing disciplinary charges. Ms. Rich is a member of the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers, and a frequent speaker and author on a variety of issues related to ethics and risk management. She also is an adjunct professor at Northwestern University School of Law, where she teaches legal ethics and professional responsibility. Prior to practicing law, Ms. Rich taught practical and theoretical ethics at two universities. 

Colleen H. Burke

Collins Einhorn Farrell PC

Colleen has extensive experience in defense litigation and focuses her practice in the area of professional liability including defending lawyers in legal malpractice cases, defending lawyers in grievance matters with the Attorney Grievance Commission and defending judges in matters brought by the Judicial Tenure Commission. She has also represented accountants, land surveyors, and real estate brokers. Colleen also has experience in insurance coverage work, premises liability, product liability, and employment law. She has represented a wide-range of clients including a national sump pump and small tool manufacturer and an international retail chain. Colleen’s experience has included analysis of pre-litigation claims, providing resolution opinions, and litigating cases to trial.

Kathleen Clark

Washington University Law in St. Louis

Kathleen Clark, John S. Lehman Research Professor, is a leading expert on legal ethics and serves on the D.C. Bar Rules of Professional Conduct Review Committee. She also teaches and writes about ethics standards for current and former government officials and government contractors as well as the law of whistleblowing. Her extensive academic work on government ethics and corruption has been cited in hundreds of books and articles, and her scholarship has been excerpted in casebooks. She has led ethics workshops in Nigeria, Venezuela, Russia, Japan, Poland, Australia & Canada and conducted in-person and web-based ethics training for federal, state and local agencies. Clark recently served as Special Counsel to the Attorney General of the District of Columbia; wrote an Ethics Manual for the District’s 32,000 employees; and provided advice on ethics, open government and campaign finance laws. She is the Associate Reporter for the American Law Institute’s Principles of Government Ethics, drafting a treatise on anti-corruption standards. The Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) commissioned Clark to investigate how government ethics standards apply to contractor personnel, and her report became the basis for ACUS’s recommendation for the adoption of such standards. In 2011, the Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Council issued a regulation imposing such standards on some contractor personnel. Clark teaches courses on government and legal ethics, the law of whistleblowing and national security law. She co-authored a Washington Post op-ed about the Justice Department torture memo, and later expanded that analysis into Congressional testimony and a law review article. She has written about government lawyers who have blown the whistle on perceived misconduct and Congressional lawyers involved in intelligence oversight. She created a course on government and political ethics for the law school’s Congressional & Administrative Law Program in Washington, D.C., and taught that course for 13 years. She also created another course, The Law of Whistleblowing in Comparative Perspective, and taught that course at Utrecht University. Clark has taught at the University of Michigan and Cornell law schools, and was a 2010-11 Israel Treiman Faculty Fellow at Washington University in St. Louis. She graduated cum laude with a B.A. in Physics and Philosophy from Yale College, studied Russian in the Soviet Union, and studied Spanish in Guatemala. After graduating from Yale Law School, Clark clerked for Judge Harold H. Greene, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and served as counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, where she drafted health care fraud legislation and worked on issues of white-collar crime.


Mark J

Pretty basic, intuitive material.

Allan W.

Discussion of specific court decisions may be helpful.

terry p.

Very Good.

Robert E.


Terrel T.

Thank you

Paul A.

Well presented by highly knowledgeable and experienced attorneys - well done!

Frances G.

This program was very informative and useful. I appreciate that it was easy to access and met my needs for CLE on my schedule. Thank you!

Jamie N.

All of the presenters were very interesting and provided helpful "real world" tips for law practice.

Daniel O.

Great discussion, practical points.

Kathleen W.

Loved the format!

Erik G.

Good stuff, thanks.

Brian F.


Cody D.

Exceptionally relevant to current succession of the three-attorney firm I work for.

Jeffrey T.

I liked the format with the panel presentation because it gave the audience a chance to hear comments on each issue from more than one perspective.

James B.

Excellent panel presentation - substantively designed and well presented. Thanks.

Matt M.

Very informative. I plan to use some of the things I learned to update our partnership agreement.

Mark W.

Very well done. The speakers were knowledgeable.

Gordon S.

Good group discussion of important issues.

Georgia M.

Great panel discussion.

Hope J.

Good CLE

Thomas T.

Thank you!

Denise G.

Great panel/useful information.

Stuart W.

Well done.

Jaime Alejandro T.

This was truly a very informative program. The staff was very knowledgeable, and the fact that it was a panel, rather than one individual presenting, made it very agile and practical. Great program!

Antoine F.

Great course and information

Suzanne H.

I liked that the commentators did not go off on a tangent that was highly specialized, difficult to follow, and largely irrelevant to the majority of viewers.

Mark M.

Instructors really worked well with each other.

Ryan S.

Good, broad discussion of common pitfalls for small firms.

Lee H.

All four panelists were really excellent--great insights, comments, suggestions, precautions!! Really impressive, and as a U of Michigan grad myself, I thought that Trisha Rich --also U of Michigan--did a fantastic job in leading the panel!! Great course!!!

Timothy S.

Would love to have a team like this review some of the products and tools being promoted to help manage a practice (data, billing, etc...)

Karl O.

I think this class would be most useful to an attorney who uses computer technology, social media and is a partner in a small firm.

Stephanie O.

Panel format was great.

Becky M.

excellent presentation --!

David L.

I liked the panel concept.

pamela s.

It was enjoyable having a panel of all women teach this CLE

Jim S.

This is a very good program!

Vickey W.

Gave me a lot to think about especially concerning social media

Georgia M.

The female attorneys were wonderful. I would like to see more CLE programs by female attorneys

Ann W.

Class is a must!

Clay L.

Nicely paced. Informative.

Elizabeth C.

Dry subject, very well presented

Bonnie P.

Very informative program and easy to follow the presenters who appeared to be very knowledgeable on the subject of legal ethics & professional responsibility.

kathryn k.

I liked the use of a panel of attorneys to present the information, made it more interesting and engaging.

Megan B.

This was very well done and informative.

Brittany B.

I thought the panelists did a great job.

Frederic M G.

Both interesting and useful.

Richard S.

Nice overview of this topic

Bridget H.

nicely done.

Lynnann K.

excellent! panelists and panel format extremely effective

Carolyn S.

Very good course

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