Category Archives: Wolf & Shore Blog

Thanksgiving Eve is the Largest DUI Night of the Year

Thanksgiving Eve, otherwise known as “Black Wednesday,” is the most popular night of the year to go out drinking at bars. Thanksgiving weekend is also the most traveled weekend in the nation. This combination results in the most DUI arrests all year.

From Thanksgiving Eve through Christmas, there are 45 fatalities per day involving an alcohol impaired driver in America. This number will only increase, climbing to 54 fatalities per day, as New Year’s Eve approaches.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been campaigning “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” for years now, and the message is clear. With the increased vigilance on Thanksgiving Eve, and throughout the holiday season, it is more likely than ever for an intoxicated driver to be pulled over.

Wolf & Shore, LLC wants to remind you that drinking and driving do not mix. There is never an excuse to get behind the wheel if you’re intoxicated. If you don’t have someone to call to get you home safely, try using Uber or Lyft, or another similar service. This Thanksgiving Eve, make sure to secure a designated driver. You can also call AAA for help. They offer a Holiday Safe Ride Program for members and non-members.

Wolf & Shore, LLC wishes you a safe holiday, and hopes that you drive safely and always drink responsibly.

Managing Your Billing

This article is brought to you by Attorney Kristen Wolf and Attorney Shari-Lynn Cuomo Shore.

If I had known that I was going to own my own business, I probably would have gotten an M.B.A. That’s a thought I have a few times per week. When you own your own law firm, you wear a number of different hats and are no longer just a lawyer. You are now a CEO, an accountant, a marketing manager, an office administrator, and sometimes, a collector. While it’s obviously ideal to “outsource” these different roles to employees, you, as the owner, ultimately are still responsible for everything. One way to lessen the burden on yourself is to keep thorough billing records so that you can easily generate invoices, you can invoice regularly, and hopefully, limit any collections.

Bill Thoroughly

Billing may seem tedious, but the vast importance of it is really two-fold. First, you cannot get paid if you are not billing. Even if you are working on a contingency fee case, your time keeping should be accurate so that you can produce your billing records if there is ever an issue. Second, keeping contemporaneous and detailed billing will largely protect you if you are ever grieved, audited, or dealing with an unhappy client in any manner.

Long gone are the days of analog billing, such as handwriting in a notebook, scribbling on receipts, etc. Unless you are a very small practice with only a handful of clients, you should be using some type of billing software. There are many software options available now for reasonable rates that can keep track of your billing, your calendar, due dates, client management, and even run a conflict checker. Once you have the correct tool to keep your billing on track, you need to get into the habit of tracking your billing regularly. A tried and true way is to bill immediately after you complete each task. That’s the only way to ensure that: a) you don’t miss something, and b) you bill the correct client for the correct task.

It’s also important to have a retainer agreement that specifies how you bill, how frequently you bill, and what your rates are. Again, this is a maneuver meant to protect you. If you have a detailed retainer, you can easily show that the client was informed as to your billing policies and procedures prior to retaining you.

Bill Regularly

If you are billing consistently, but do not actually run the invoices and send them to clients, it’s likely that you will not get paid. You should set a specific timeframe in which to run invoices. For example, every month by the fifteenth day. This way, your clients will get used to receiving a regular invoice from you and they won’t be surprised. Also, by doing this you can alert them if they need to replenish a retainer, make an evergreen payment, or in some cases, if they should expect money to be returned to them once their case is over. No client wants to see a large bill every few months, or at the end of their matter, and then be told they owe you a lot of money. If you aren’t billing regularly, the client may not feel like you are working on their file, even if you are.

Sending a monthly invoice is also a great way to check in with your client. You can either send the invoice as an attachment in an e-mail, or you can mail it with a cover letter, but either way, you should address the client personally. Use this recurring e-mail as an opportunity to check in with your client, see how satisfied they are with your representation thus far, and ask if there is anything not being handled to their satisfaction. Be sure to personalize this mailing so that it does not look like you are sending a mass mailing, but rather something that is crafted to their specific case. “Why would I do that,” you ask. What if it’s something I don’t want to hear? Well, isn’t it better to know up front if there is a problem rather than have a client be frustrated with you and not address it until it’s too late (i.e. they fire you or grieve you).

It is preferable to send invoices to clients, especially those that owe money, by e-mail rather than mail. Sending via e-mail also makes it easy for your clients to pay any outstanding balances owed, by including a “Pay Now” link which can be back linked to your website. Clients will be much more willing to pay you if you make it easier for them to do so. Sending invoices by e-mail is the easiest way to accomplish this.

Check with your law practice management software to see if you can easily run batch billing and send batch e-mails. Batch billing will allow you to simply and easily run your invoices in just minutes and save yourself the hassle of an unsatisfied client in the future.

Bill Smartly

If you bill smart (contemporaneously, regularly, and thoroughly), then your accounts receivable should be fairly low. If your firm operates on a retainer basis, get your entire retainer up front. Do not begin work on the file until the entire retainer balance is paid in full. Be clear of the terms of your retainer agreement which provide for the client to deposit more money if their retainer starts running low. Also, make sure to give the client plenty of notice if his or her retainer will need to be replenished. By billing smartly and consistently, your clients will not be surprised when a retainer replenishment email or mail comes to them.

If at all possible, have someone else in your office handle money matters with clients. Money and billing can be sensitive subjects for clients, especially when legal bills become higher than what they originally anticipated. By having someone else in your office handle the billing and collections calls, you remove yourself from the situation, allowing you to maintain your personal relationship with the client and not discuss money matters unless absolutely necessary.

Do not sue clients for money owed. If you are billing smartly and regularly, you likely will not be in a position where this is a problem. However, if you are, it is a better practice to write off the remaining balance than to sue the client for the money owed. Suing clients for money owed often opens the door for clients to be unsatisfied with your representation, which in turn allows for them to either file a grievance or a lawsuit against you. Additionally, it opens the door for an unsatisfied client to leave poor reviews for you on the internet and social media which you will likely never be able to remove. This could affect your future marketing and income of your firm. Instead of suing a client for funds owed, speak with your accountant and see if you can take a loss of money as a tax write off rather than creating an opportunity for a potential law suit or grievance from a past client.

Always consider your billing as your top priority. It is after all, how you get paid. If you follow these few easy steps, you will be able to stay on top of your billing, maximize your income, and most importantly, keep a satisfied client base.

The 2nd Annual Law Firm 500 Award Honorees List of America’s Fastest Growing Law Firms has been Announced!

Wolf & Shore, LLC is proud to be ranked on the Law Firm 500 list for the second year in a row, for having achieved 62.50% GROWTH. 

Hamden, CT, September 21, 2017 – On Tuesday, September 19, 2017, the Law Firm 500 Award team announced the list of 2017 Honorees. Wolf & Shore, LLC has been ranked as number 147, throughout the nation, in its 2nd Annual Law Firm 500 Honorees List. The published list recognizes law firms that have achieved significant growth in revenue year over year. Each nominee was evaluated by an outside accounting firm, and subjected to an identical review process. The award honorees are a beacon of light for the legal industry demonstrating innovation, operational excellence, and a commitment to client service.

The 2017 Law Firm 500 Award Honorees list showcases the top two-hundred fastest growing law firms in America. Each ranking also included the percentage of growth ranging from 25% to a staggering 5,400%, no small feat for any business.

We invite you to congratulate and follow the progress of our law firm, and industry peers for their dedication to success and innovation. The full list of Law Firm 500 Award Honorees can be found here.

About Wolf & Shore, LLC

The Hamden, Connecticut law firm, Wolf & Shore, LLC, has been nationally recognized for their client satisfaction and practice of law. Wolf & Shore, LLC approaches each case in a client-centric and comprehensive manner because they believe in personal service. Each client is offered personalized representation with an emphasis on accessibility. Attorney Wolf and Attorney Shore have over 15 years of combined experience and are able to leverage the facts of your case for the best possible outcome.

Wolf & Shore, LLC has developed various methods to address clients’ concerns promptly and efficiently. If you choose to retain Wolf & Shore, LLC, you can be confident that you will have one-on-one communication with your attorney, your phone calls and e-mails will be returned, your questions will be answered, and you will be kept informed throughout the duration of your case. For more information about our firm please visit: wolfandshorelaw.com.

 

All Reviews Are Not Created Equal

Everyone knows what it’s like to skim through reviews online. If you’re looking to purchase something for the first time, you need to know if you’re getting the best deal for your money-you’re looking for quality, reliability and cost-effectiveness. This doesn’t just apply to your face wash or the laptop you’re looking to purchase, this applies to restaurants and, (you guessed it), legal services too!

All law firms are subject to review, and not just from our clients. We get reviewed by our colleagues too, and third-party sites as well.  That said, there are certain things to pay attention to when sifting through the massive amounts of reviews for any law firm.

You should look for multiple reviews written by the same person (or same initials). There may also be multiple reviews that are basically the same, but allegedly submitted by different people. These are key signs that the reviews are false, and generally copy and pasted.

Sites with no negative reviews are also a bad sign. You don’t want to see more bad than good, but a few bad reviews show transparency. You can’t make everyone happy, but you can try your best. A bad review shows that a business and their website is run by real humans, and not just robots working around the clock to bury criticism. Taking the criticism in stride shows the integrity of a business.

Another major factor to look for is how a business responds to negative reviews. Again, everyone gets a bad review from time to time, but growing from them and using them constructively is key. If a business responds to a negative review too harshly, they may be trying to hide something, and it often borders on unprofessional. Also, just because a company does not respond to a negative review doesn’t mean that they don’t care about it. It’s often better business to not engage the writer of a negative review-especially when that person inserts false and/or boisterous information.

Purchasing legal services is just like buying anything else. You need to know that you’re making a good investment. Reviews, good and bad alike, help you make educated decisions. Always remember to check the reviews of a business before utilizing their services.

Wolf & Shore, LLC pays close attention to all of our reviews. We are particularly proud of our Client Testimonials, which we post on our website. You can read them here.

The Female Advantage

Wolf & Shore, LLC is nationally recognized for client satisfaction and superb legal representation. Do you know what else we have been recognized for? Having an all-female office.

That’s right, Wolf & Shore is an all-female practice. Attorney Kristen Wolf and Attorney Shari-Lynn Cuomo Shore are the Owners and Partners of the firm, and our staff is comprised of all female paralegals.

Having a combined 16 years of experience, Attorneys Wolf and Shore have made a name for themselves locally and nationally. No glass ceiling exists in our office. Wolf & Shore strives to empower our staff, and our clients, regardless of their gender, in everything we do.

Wolf & Shore, LLC represents both men and women, however, we often see that more of our divorce clients are males than other areas such as custody or post-judgment motions. This could be from a variety of factors, but ultimately, it shows us that we are a strong firm that attracts clients from all backgrounds.  Attorney Wolf and Attorney Shore have built their practice by finding the “sweet spot” between negotiating and zealously standing firm in their beliefs.  We have the talent to negotiate favorable settlements and the “in the trenches” trial experience to fight the toughest battles.

Wolf & Shore, LLC has settled hundreds of cases for men and women alike. We believe in reaching a reasonable agreement by being collegiate and amicable, and we know how to “turn it up” when necessary too. Our firm settles more than 90% of our cases. What else would you expect?

Ever argue with a woman?

If you need a confidential consultation, you can reach our office here, at 203.745.3151, or at info@wolfandshorelaw.com.

To hear more about all-female practices, and how they can better help you, you can check our this Family Lawyer Magazine article.

Helping Out-of-State Clients

Attorney Wolf and Attorney Shore are licensed to practice in Connecticut.  So why would you want to retain Wolf & Shore, LLC if you live out of state?

There are plenty of scenarios that create the need for someone residing outside of Connecticut to need to retain a Connecticut attorney. Our firm has handled hundreds of cases where our client does not live in Connecticut.

For example, if your loved one lived in Connecticut and passed away, you may need a Connecticut attorney to probate their estate. Another frequent situation is when your child’s other parent moves to Connecticut with your child.  Under certain circumstances, custody matters may need to be handled in a Connecticut court.

Wolf & Shore, LLC has the experience, and technology, in place, to make working with clients who reside in other states a seamless experience. We communicate via email, mail, and fax if you need to exchange documents with us. We are able to make sure you have enough time and notice to make any travel arrangements for court appearances, we have the ability to file certain motions in some courts to allow you to participate telephonically, or via video, and we give you all of the information that you need to make the process a smooth one.  We are even able to accommodate time differences for any phone meetings that we do need to have.

Are you living in another state, but have a Connecticut custody case? Or a Connecticut estate administration? Contact Wolf & Shore, LLC today and set up a confidential consultation! We offer them over the phone, specifically to make sure you are helped as quickly and efficiently as possible. You can reach us here, at 203.745.3151, or at info@wolfandshorelaw.com.

Help Us Help You

Every law firm knows their job is to help you. At Wolf & Shore, LLC we do everything to help you through all difficult times, and we also help people get ready to celebrate good times too!

We know that no matter what the situation is, our clients are busy. Our office will always work to accommodate your schedule. However, there are plenty of ways our clients can help us help them.

Every client gets a unique package in the very beginning of their matter. A key to getting your matter started in a timely fashion, and to keep it running smoothly, is to return the necessary documents to us.

Every client gets a personalized questionnaire. If a Client fills out their questionnaire completely, and returns it quickly, it will help streamline the process for you.

There are many additional ways to help our office help you through your matter. Always answering our questions honestly is imperative. Some of our clients may feel embarrassed or worried about their responses, but at Wolf & Shore, LLC we never judge you. We would rather know the truth, than go forward using the wrong information.

Our office has the upmost respect for our clients, and being respected back is crucial to representing you. We talk to our clients like we would speak to our colleagues or friends. A mutual respect is necessary in order for us to represent you to the best of our ability.

An understanding that our office handles the bigger picture, and not the day-to-day issues in your case is also a way to help us help you. By working to co-parent, and being amicable, matter will run smoother. Our office often can help you form a parenting plan, but being flexible and helpful to your co-parent is what truly makes the plan effective.

Wolf & Shore, LLC focuses on family law, handles probate and guardianship matters, estate planning, residential closings, and juvenile law. We draft and re-view prenuptial agreements, we handle temporary restraining orders, and even handle emergency motions and hearings. If you need a confidential consultation, please do not hesitate to contact us here, at 203.745.3151, or at info@wolfandshorelaw.com.

Self Employed and Getting Divorced

Getting divorced is already tough enough, but being self-employed can make it more complicated.

Wolf & Shore, LLC has helped hundreds of self-employed clients negotiate and settle their divorces. We work with other professionals, such as accountants and business valuators, to help you navigate through the potential financial obstacles of this process.

Our office also understands that when one, or both, spouses are self-employed, different inquiries need to be addressed and different financial documentation needs to be reviewed.  We make sure that the proper documents are requested, and thoroughly analyzed, to ensure a favorable settlement.

If you or your spouse is self-employed, and you are getting a divorce, contact Wolf & Shore, LLC for a confidential consultation. You can reach us here, at 203.745.3151, or info@wolfandshorelaw.com.

How a Law Firm Can Help Domestic Violence Victims

Domestic violence is a global issue. Not only is it wide spread, domestic violence is deeply ingrained into society, and has serious impacts on women’s health and well-being. Its cost to individuals, to health systems, and to society is enormous.

Domestic violence can be described as “the power misused by one adult in a relationship to control another.” It is the establishment of control and fear in a relationship through violence, and other forms of abuse. This violence can take the form of physical assault, psychological abuse, social abuse, financial abuse, or sexual assault.

Wolf & Shore, LLC wants victims of abuse to know that we are here to help. We know that our callers are often in immediate danger, and encourage you to call the police in an emergency. Our firm has handled hundreds of civil restraining orders. These restraining orders will not only protect you, but your children as well.

Our office can also file “ex-parte” motions (emergency motions) for custody of your children. They are filed with the court and ruled on during the same day to be as fast acting as possible.

If you are in need of a restraining order, do not hesitate to call our office. You can contact us here, at 203.745.3151 or info@wolfandshorelaw.com to set up your confidential consultation today.

Again, if you are in immediate danger always call the police first.

Start the New School Year Off Right

It’s that time of year again! The kids are going back to school, and you’ve got a lot on your plate.

The clothes shopping needs to get done, the supply list is ever-growing, and pretty soon you’ll have to juggle after-school football practice and dance class.

Every year the kids grow. They’re bigger, smarter, and have a whole new host of things to do. As your kids change, your parenting plan may need to change too.

How will you split the cost of extra-curricular activities? Who is in charge of getting the kids to practice, and on what days? Who schedules the physicals, and then what about the co-pay?

Wolf & Shore, LLC has drafted, negotiated, and settled hundreds of parenting plans. If you think you need help, contact us here before the new school year starts. You can also reach us at 203.745.3151 or info@wolfandshorelaw.com. Set up a confidential consultation today!