As younger lawyers enter the profession, how do they collaborate and communicate effectively with older generations, who may collaborate differently? What are the current trends, challenges, and opportunities for solo and small firms in the practice management and technology space? 

These are some of the questions that co-host Emil Ovbiagele and Joe Forward (guest host) explore with guests Erin Ogden and Brent Hoeft. This is the second episode in a two-parter focused on solo and small firms, recorded from the 2023 Wisconsin Solo & Small Firm Conference.

Erin Ogden – a partner and co-founder of Ogden Glazer+Schaefer in Madison – dives into smaller firm practice management issues (first 23:19). The pandemic, she says, caused a seismic shift in how law firms operate. In addition, younger generations are entering the profession with a whole new perspective on effective communication through the use of technology. 

“The way I manage is not going to be the same as someone who was [born in the 2000s],” Ogden says. “Not in a bad way. Diversification is key. They are coming up with new ideas and new ways of looking at things. In addition, we do a lot of work with [younger clients]. How do I talk to them?”  She noted that email may not be a primary form of communication for younger generations. 

In the second segment (starting at 23:20), Brent Hoeft discusses the challenges and opportunities that rapidly evolving technology brings to solo and small firm practice. Hoeft, who started a virtual law practice as a solo practitioner over a decade ago, is the new practice management advisor for the State Bar’s Law Office Management Assistance Program (also known as Practice 411™). 

Hoeft highlights common technology issues, how different generations approach privacy and security (and what that means for law firms), the opportunities to save significant time and money using evolving technology, and how Practice 411 can help as a member benefit.