What Types of Record Retrieval Services Are Offered by Legal Support Agencies?

A record retrieval service assists law firms and companies that don’t have the time or personnel to handle their document obtainment needs, such as those pertaining to Social Security files, police files, medical records, etc. In some instances, a retrieval service-commonly offered by legal support agencies-supplies clients with forms requiring their authorization and/or the signature of the subject of the obtainment request, while in others the service handles the entire procurement process. In addition to saving law firms and company’s time, a retrieval service also saves them money by removing the need to hire personnel for document obtainment.

Five Common Record Retrieval Services Offered by Legal Support Agencies

Record retrieval services vary from agency to agency, with some being found at a majority of agencies due to their common demand, such as claimant authorization requests, subpoena requests, electronic delivery of records, correspondence management, and a variety of ancillary information support services.

1. Claimant Authorization Requests

Claimant authorization requests occur in a variety of procurement contexts, such as the procurement of Social Security files, personnel and payroll files, and workers compensation files, to name a few. A retrieval service specializes in meeting authorization requests in a timely manner to keep their clients supplied with critical information as needed.

2. Subpoena Requests

Depending on what type of information is subpoenaed, the responding party may respond by questioning the legality of the subpoena, as well as by requiring the signature of the subpoena’s subject. In addition to handling these matters, a retrieval service also supplies copy fees and witness fees upon subpoena submission, inquiring of the subpoena to learn of its status days before its expected procurement of records.

3. Electronic Delivery of Records

Gone are the days when files were delivered in hard copy alone, a scenario that resulted in significantly extended document examinations that impeded on the timelines of legal matters. Electronic records, deliverable over the Internet, accommodate a variety of search options to remove burdensomeness of searching records in hard copy. Electronic delivery of records is especially valuable to legal cases that feature tight deadlines.

4. Correspondence Management

Legal Correspondence and business correspondence often feature a high percentage of official requests for official information, making it ideal to delegate the correspondence to a service agency that specializes in handling it. Legal support agencies handle correspondence management to the extent requested by the client.

5. Ancillary Information Support Services

Some commonly offered and commonly used information services at legal support agencies include: public record searches, motor vehicle record searches, court docket searches, and police report and fire report obtainment. Depending on a legal support agency’s areas of focus and its clientele, it may offer other ancillary information services as well.

The Yin of Legal Resume Writing

While it is usually easier for job seekers to focus on what to do “right” on their resume, many tend to forget what they may be doing “wrong” with their resume. When we put on blinders about potential faults in our resumes, we can miss critical errors that make the difference between getting an interview and getting the heave-ho. In an earlier article, we discussed the yang, or must-do elements, to create an effective legal resume (See: “The Yang Of Legal Resume Writing”). Here we will be focusing on the yin of resume writing, or what not to do, when drafting a legal resume.

Do Not Mislead Or Lie On Your Legal Resume

That may seem like an obvious no-no, but you might be surprised to find out how many applicants stretch the truth or simply lie or their resume. The most common offense usually involves some type of misrepresentation or misleading statement concerning degrees, grades, class standing, academic honors, participation on scholarly publications, work history or relevant work experience. While misleading statements can sometimes be unintentional, they can nevertheless lead to serious consequences.

Today, employers have access to a number of tools to verify resume information through both formal and informal channels. Although employers may be receiving a large number of resumes, they typically conduct some form of due diligence on those they have selected to interview. Therefore, avoid making factual misrepresentations of any kind on your legal resume. You should always aim to represent your qualifications, skills, experience, and interests fully and accurately.

Do Not Include Race, Religion, Sex, Age, Or Marital Status

You should never state race, religion, sex, age, marital status, or other personal data that have no relevance to your employment qualifications on your legal resume. Doing so could suggest you are unaware of, or are insensitive to, laws prohibiting discrimination. If your legal resume contains personal information unrelated to your job target, you might also fall victim to discrimination, even if you’re qualified for the position.

There are a couple of exceptions to this rule. Some federal or state jobs may require this information, in which case you should only include the information specifically requested. Another exception to this rule is if you are sending your legal resume abroad. Sometimes including age, marital status, race, and/or religion is acceptable if the resume is being sent outside of the United States. In that case, you should check with local recruiters as to what is proper to include in the legal resume.

Do Not Use Small Unreadable Fonts Or More than Two Pages

Formatting your legal resume properly is almost as important as the information it contains. If you present an employer with a dense, hard to read document requiring a magnifying glass, you may find that your legal resume will not be getting the attention it deserves, even if its content is outstanding. Instead, use a font the employer can read easily, such as a 12-point font with variable spacing such as Times New Roman or Arial. While you may have to compromise on font size and style to keep your resume to two pages or less, try not to go below a 10-point font on the major sections of your resume.

While your legal resume should be easy to read, it should also be quick to review. Therefore, you should try to limit your legal resume to one page. If you have ten or more years of experience, a two-page resume is perfectly acceptable. If you have a great deal of experience, and would like to highlight your transactional or litigation experience, or list publications and presentations, consider using an addendum. Experiment with different fonts to select one that pleases you, fits the page, and is easy to read.

Do Not Include Irrelevant Or Unnecessary Information

Your resume is a marketing tool designed to land you an interview. It is not a biography. Because the modern resume is a marketing tool, it’s best to keep personal interests, hobbies, and other non-essential materials for the interview process as a way to “break the ice.” If you are keen on listing organizations, affiliations, volunteer work, or extracurricular activities on your legal resume, only list those that are relevant to your practice as a legal professional, or that are directly related to your targeted job. Again, if it’s not related to your practice or the position, do not include it.

Including “References Available Upon Request” on your legal resume is a waste of space and states the obvious. Employers are assuming that you can provide references upon request, so don’t waste precious resume space on something that’s unnecessary. By the same token, there is no need to include computer or technical proficiency (such as Lexis or Word Perfect), unless it is of specific interest to a potential employer. If those skills are not specifically listed in the position description as a requirement, do not include them. Finally, do not include professional skills or work experience that are irrelevant to the type of job you seek or you no longer wish to use (e.g., woodworking).

Listing another language may be appropriate if it adds to your qualifications for the job. In certain cases, knowing a second language is a plus and should be included on your legal resume. When including language proficiency, you may state whether you are “fluent”, “proficient”, or “conversational.” Do not claim language skills unless you can carry out a basic conversation.

5 Reasons You Can Be An Attorney Rainmaker: “Born” Salesmen Don’t Have A Monopoly In The Legal Field

When a lawyer becomes a successful rainmaker for his law firm, you often hear that he’s a “born salesman.” When it comes to writing a persuasive proposal – a rarity in the legal field – the term is a “born writer.”

In many ways, this explanation seems to relieve everyone of a good deal of responsibility. It conveys the idea that he doesn’t need to exert himself in order to make a sale. It suggests that he need only to appear before a client and go through the formality of discussing his practice – and some divine force will cause the actual rain.

But Here’s the Truth About Successful Selling for Lawyers

The sooner this myth is drowned in a lake and forgotten, the better. It belongs with the orcs and goblins of a fantasy world – because it has no place in this one. It certainly has no relation to achieving success.

I want to strongly encourage you to believe in yourself and your current and future selling abilities. Don’t give up.

Yes, it’s obvious that some attorneys have greater native capability for selling or proposal writing than others. But native capability is not all that a lawyer needs to sell his firm. Whether in a proposal in response to a Request For Proposal or in the “beauty contest” sales presentation, a lawyer needs more than in-born selling skills just as much as an in-born ear for music doesn’t make you Mozart.

Study and painstaking practice are more essential in developing good selling ability than natural aptitude. No attorney – no matter how much selling knack he has been gifted with – can succeed on the strength of knack alone. It may suffice to keep him or her bringing in a few enviable clients from time to time – but it only advances him to the front ranks because so few lawyers make any effort to learn any sales skills at all. To truly make it rain for yourself and the loved ones and staff who depend on you, you must constantly strive to improve your methods. You need to benefit from others’ experience. You have to add acquired knowledge of sales and proposal writing to whatever natural gifts you have.

You Have To Learn It To Earn It

Nobody ever sprang full-fledged into writing persuasive proposals or dazzling at beauty contests. It takes training to obtain possession of the powers that a lawyer must use if she desires to rise above the ranks of the mere plodders.

The best examples of success in legal salesmanship are no less “made” salespeople than “born” salesmen. Indeed, many of the most proficient attorneys have attained proficiency through sheer determined application in mastering the principles in selling. Despite the fact that they have had no “leaning” in the direction of sales, and no particular fitness at the start, they absorbed the essential strategies and techniques of selling for the legal profession.

As for responding to Requests For Proposals, no attorney has ever been born who wrote an effective one the first time around. And yet many law firms continue to cut and paste from previous proposals that date back to the very first one.

Don’t Be Discouraged By Ignorant Lawyers

Many senior partners and compensation committee members commit an injustice in carelessly classifying all good rainmakers as “born” salesmen. They imply by this that those who have not been born to this kind of work, who do not evince a special capacity for it at the beginning of their careers, are hopeless cases.

But any lawyer can learn to sell their services and their firm. Any attorney can learn to write a persuasive proposal to a client. Any law firm can put together a winning sales presentation for the beauty contest.

There is nothing about selling to make it incomprehensible to an attorney who wants to master it. Salesmanship is not like being an NBA center, where the job opening starts and ends with seven footers. Given brains and a determined spirit and a capacity for application, any attorney can achieve success in selling, even if she has grown up with no particular understanding of sales systems and the steps for effective selling or the proper structure for persuasive proposals for law firms. You can’t expect to study your way to being seven feet tall, but you can absolutely study your way to being a rainmaker.

There is an incredible need in the legal field for a greater number of lawyers who are thorough and competent salespeople. For this reason alone it’s terrible to discourage associates and partners who have the making of a good salespeople who are able to sell their firm and services by telling them that, if they are not “born” salesmen, they can never make a real success.

And As For Those “Born” Rainmakers

Oftentimes the success and ability of “born” rainmakers is seriously impaired by too much self-assurance. They get the idea that some sort of a lucky charm makes their efforts inevitably succeed. Some never even do their best work because – compared to other lawyers who don’t make any efforts to learn to sell – they feel that their poorest work is good enough. They’re content to set the pace and play some golf. It seems frankly unimportant whether they keep it up. Consequently, though they may still keep their knack of selling or presenting, they make very little improvement as the years go on. And they never improve at proposal writing.

It seems to them that their smooth talking is all that there is to salesmanship. Since they already possess it, there’s no point in them seeking self-improvement. And there’s no opportunity for them to improve themselves. This is a shockingly bad mistake.

If a law firm has what is known as a “born” salesman, it has a right to consider itself fortunate. But the rainmaker himself should be careful that he doesn’t forfeit his incentive to do better and to grow just because he feels he’s already reached a satisfactory height.

What you need to make your selling and proposal writing skills strong and competent is less being peculiarly endowed with the knack of selling as that you be animated with a belief in the possibilities of your own development. You need to believe that, if you learn to sell better, you will be rewarded for your efforts.

It’s hard to look around and feel that’s true sometimes, but it is.

It’s hard to feel that you have the time to learn selling or proposal writing, but you do.

It’s hard to imagine a better investment in your future than selling more of your services and selling it at a higher price.

How to Keep It Up

Keep hold of your ambition to achieve the greatest measure of development possible. The rawest and most ill-assorted law firm selling force – if each of your members is dominated by the belief that he can learn to sell your services and by the determination to do so – will earn more for a firm in the long run than the law firm made up of “born” rainmakers who are all so satisfied and content with present conditions that they don’t try to improve.

So summon all the energy of your mind and body. Never entertain a thought of failure. Make difficulties stepping stones to greater heights of achievement. No doubt you will meet severe opposition. There are people who will say, you’re too small, too big, too young, too old, too inexperienced, too expensive, and just about a million other things. Stick with your conviction and courage in the face of such remarks. Study the methods and techniques to counter these objections. Learn how to present the value behind your services. Quantify the benefits your firm provides that others don’t. Understand why you’re the right choice for your clients. Most importantly, differentiate yourself from the crowd.

Remember that many lawyers are making big successes despite these same objections. You too can do it. Develop your talent, sure, but especially grow your courage and define your purpose. It’s not just the power to achieve, but the will to do, that will make your legal practice a success.

Never before have lawyers had such opportunities to make money as now. It doesn’t seem like it, but it’s still true. The country is more prosperous than any time in history. Regardless of in-born talent, nobody who has character has any business being poorer than he wants to be. By successfully selling your legal services, you can ensure that you become prosperous too.