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How to Start & Build a Law Practice (Career Series / American Bar Association) 5th Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1590312476
ISBN-10: 1590312473
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Frequently Bought Together

  • How to Start & Build a Law Practice (Career Series / American Bar Association)
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jay G. Foonberg was sworn in as a lawyer in January of 1964 and immediately opened his own practice. He lives in Beverly Hills, California, and practices probate litigation, trust litigation, and business litigation. Foonberg is the author of numerous articles and books, including How to Get and Keep Good Clients, Finding The Right Lawyer, and The ABA Guide To Lawyer Trust Accounts, and co-author (with J. Harris Morgan) of How to Draft Bills Clients Rush to Pay, Second Edition, all published by the American Bar Association.
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Product Details

  • Series: Career Series / American Bar Association
  • Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: American Bar Association; 5 edition (April 29, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590312473
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590312476
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.3 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,398 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book before starting up my new law practice because it's one of really only two good books on opening a law office, and this one seemed to have the most praise.

On the positive side: (1) It appears that Foonberg really cares about the legal profession, and he would like to help future lawyers become better advocates and counselors for their clients. This is obvious in his writing style, and in his constant reminders that attorneys are in a service profession. (2) Foonberg really makes an effort to try and keep the book updated and relevant by offering new editions. Many authors would have just let it ride on a book written 20 years ago. (3) There aren't many attorney-authors that have really attempted to put together such a comprehensive and focused book specifically on opening a law practice.

On the negative side: (1) With all due respect to Mr. Foonberg, the current edition is very much a work of Dr. Frankenstein. It has been pieced and stitched together, with parts being swapped in and out. The book does not flow with a theme, and it appears the author has made so many revisions over time that the chapters have been inserted and removed simply as needed. My opinion is that the book needs to be completely rewritten from the ground up. (2) Despite his best efforts to stay current, many of Foonberg's ideas are terribly outdated. For example, his chapter on Personal Data Assistants (PDAs) consists of essentially a paragraph. My PDA is not only my complete calendaring and docketing system, but it is also a significant part of my client conflict checking system, and it contains all of my "to do" or task lists.
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Format: Paperback
I have been in private practice for a while, but thought I should "sharpen the saw" when I found this book on line.

I was immediately drawn into this volume of simple, clear and time proven practical techniques for starting and managing my practice. I know the techniques are effective because I had learned some of them through the years.

It is easy to read with concise chapters addressing every essential aspect of private practice. While a newly admitted attorney may find some of the suggestions difficult to implement because of a lack of cash flow, a more seasoned attorney will see the benefits and make the sacrifices willingly.

Easily, the best "How To" book I have ever read, and the best investment I have made.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Okay, at one time (in earlier editions) this was a great book, but it has become outdated. It is still good, but it is not the best. I gave it 4 stars, but I would really have given it a 3.5 if that had been an option.

The addition of multiple short "chapters" - many of which are no more than half a page long - does not really constitute making it into a revised and updated "platinum" edition. Foonberg has been practicing law for somewhere over 40 years, so while he has a lot of experience, it has also been quite a while since he was the one starting a law firm. This is not said to diminish his accomplishments, but simply to point out that the world is very different now than when he started out.

In addition to being outdated in many areas, this book simply contains many things that are just not useful to the average lawyer starting a new firm. Even though it is marketed to solo attorneys, it often sounds like he is talking to a member of a large firm with unlimited resources. The new attorney on a limited budget may not be able to fully relate to the Foonberg experience.

This is certainly the longest book on the market on this subject, but it is also by far the most expensive. Much of that extra length really just looks like padding that has been stuck into the book. There are some chapters that seem carefully thought out and are written very well. Then, there are other short, choppy chapters that are plugged in with barely relevant and mostly useless information.

On the good side of the book, it does contain great advice on a number of topics on matters such as billing and client communciations. These are these sections that really generate the higher rating for the book, and are why it has lasted so long on the market.
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Format: Paperback
It would be a mistake for anyone to think that this book is only directed at lawyers just starting to practice law or lawyers practicing on their own or in small firms. This book is for the seasoned practitioner as well as the newly admitted attorney. After all, who doesn't want to know how to more efficiently practice law and be more profitable?

If you haven't yet heard of this book, get your head out of the statutes and take a look. If you've read an earlier edition, it's time to get the new one and brush up on strategies that you've been missing. This Platinum 5th edition is chock full of useful ideas - any one of which will pay for the cost of the book many times over. How valuable is this book? Let's put it this way, I still have my copy of the 1st edition printed in 1976 (with a whopping 212 pages) on my bookshelf. This A to Z indispensable reference book just keeps getting better with every edition.

This 5th edition is jam packed with many new things not contained in even the most recent edition. As noted in the preface to the Platinum Edition:

There are several "new" topics that this fifth edition addresses, including:

1. E-mail and the Internet
2. Law firms merging to become mega-firms
3. Law firms of all sizes breaking up
4. The globalization of legal practice
5. The increasing size of student loans
6. Increasing attempts to convert the profession of law into a law business
7. Aggressive marketing being done by firms of all sizes, including cold calling by larger firms and the hiring of nonlawyer salespeople to seek clients for the firm
8. An aging population creating greater opportunities for serving senior clients and prompting the growth of elder law as a practice are of law
9.
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