LegalFuel.com offers expertise and advice 24/7.
There’s a lot that must be learned in three years of law school to prepare for the Bar exam.
The reality is the demanding curriculum doesn’t allow teaching the other side of establishing and sustaining a career as an attorney: The fact that it’s a business.
The Florida Bar President Michelle Suskauer said that while she was traveling the state before she was elected, the need for business as well as legal skill was made clear by the attorneys she met.
The need is even more evident for those starting their practices on their own or by establishing firms with other new attorneys, Suskauer said.
“And 76 percent of our members are solo or in small firms,” she added.
To help bridge the gap between having a Bar card and being able to establish and sustain a small business, the website LegalFuel.com was developed and launched in July by The Florida Bar.
Described as the Bar’s “Practice Resource Center,” it’s a digital collection of instruction available 24/7.
Topics include finance, marketing, practice management and technology. Content is available as written articles and essays as well as podcasts and video presentations.
“Law school teaches us how to think like lawyers, how to ask the right questions and how to research,” said Suzanne Hollifield Clark, discovery counsel at eDiscovery CoCounsel PLLC in Jacksonville.
Admitted to the Bar in 2002, she’s a graduate of the University of Florida Levin College of Law who also has a bachelor’s in business administration and finance.
“But a law firm is a small business, and you don’t learn how to do that in law school. I have a business degree and I didn’t learn that,” Clark said.
She uses LegalFuel.com for insight and advice and said she finds it useful and easy to use.
“The best resource is having the framework for what I need to do without having to figure it out for myself. It makes access to experts easy. And it’s from The Florida Bar, so I know it’s valuable and reliable,” Clark said.
Suskauer said one of the most popular features of LegalFuel.com is the free continuing legal education content that qualifies for credit toward the annual CLE requirement.
In the six months since the site debuted, members have applied for nearly 2,400 hours of CLE credit, according to The Florida Bar.
Also available are more than 100 standard forms and document templates that can be used as is or adapted to meet specific needs.
Another popular resource is “Lawyers Advising Lawyers,” sponsored by the Young Lawyers Division.
Clark compared it to being able to walk down the hall in a law office and ask a more experienced colleague a question.
“It’s like a virtual office with human expertise. Everything you could want, it’s there for you,” she said.
More content is added regularly to increase the archived material and usage has grown to about 60,000 page views per month.
“I think it’s a model for other states,” Suskauer said.