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OBA To Lawyers: Think Like A CEO; Sluggish Holiday Retail Sales Expected

Nov 4, 2016

In today’s business climate, attorneys have to think more like a CEO who runs a company rather than someone who just practices law.

That’s according to Jim Calloway, who’s the head of the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Management Assistance Program.

“He was really talking about attorneys who take advantage of some new technology, and in turn, downsize their office a little bit,” said The Journal Record’s editor-in-chief Ted Streuli. “What he said is sometimes if they're not thinking like a CEO, some of those tasks that those people were doing fall through the cracks because they haven't set up the technology to pick up every single thing that the humans were doing.”

Calloway spoke at the OBA’s conference on business skills Wednesday, The Journal Record’s Dale Denwalt reports:

Calloway said he’s seen successful attorneys get in trouble with the bar for doing a poor job representing clients. Many times, he said, that happened several months after the lawyer downsized his or her office because of a business slowdown.

“When they let the staff go, they didn’t take the time to strategize,” he said. “They didn’t put on their CEO hats when they were making this profound decision about changing their business operations.”

That includes streamlining the workload, which can be done with software that builds legal documents and keeps lawyers from reusing forms.

“The bottom line is that using these tools will allow you to eliminate silly errors,” Calloway said at the OBA’s conference on business skills Wednesday. “Even smart people, when you’re copying and pasting, you’ll make errors.”

For some, it’s as simple as overcoming bad habits. But for younger lawyers, like malpractice attorney Jasper Abbott, growing up around computers can come in handy in a highly specialized field that relies on technology.

“He told us that it's really important in his practice - where they do a lot of medical work - because keeping those detailed records avoids having them, say, lose track of a small piece of a medical record on which an entire case could turn,” Streuli said.

Brittney Matlock, center, assists customers from out of town at Plenty Mercantile at 807 N. Broadway Ave. in Oklahoma City.
Credit Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

Retailers' Stressful Season?

The busiest shopping day of the year is still three weeks away, but retailers are preparing to try to make up for what’s been a less-than-stellar 2016. Oklahoma City University economist Russell Evans told The Journal Record’s Molly Fleming he’s not sure retailers will be happy at the end of 2016:

There is some slight hope, he said, in that people could spend more because the economy has improved compared to where it was last year.

“There’s not enough in the economic data that all will end well,” Evans said.

. . .

Nationwide, holiday sales are expected to increase 3.6 percent this year, rising to $655.8 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. Online sales are expected to rise as well, reaching $117 billion. But Evans said in the last 24 months, the Oklahoma economy has not been as strong as the national economy, which is why he does not expect a huge jump in sales.

There are also plenty of other, external factors beyond the state’s economy and the oil and gas price downturn that can influence retail sales.

“It's 80 degrees here in November. That doesn't really put people in a holiday shopping mood yet. On the other hand, it can really help foot traffic at certain pedestrian malls and strip malls,” Streuli said. “We've seen years like 2015 where there was an ice storm on Black Friday. That can put a big dent, especially in brick-and-mortar local shopping. And those are things that retailers just can't control.”

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