All posts by SBlackford

Sheila Blackford is an Oregon attorney who has been a practice management attorney for the Oregon State Bar Professional Liability Fund since 2005. She loves writing, riding her horse, and taking long walks with her husband and their dog.

Quality of life

Life Balance

Balance time in the office with time enjoying the outdoors.

Balance time in the office with time enjoying the outdoors.

by Sheila Blackford   ©2009   In Oregon, Portland is the biggest city in the state and Mount Hood looms large. With Nature in your backyard, how can you ignore the many opportunities to get outside? You want to practice law for the long haul. Get out to enjoy the beauty and get exercise at the same time.



Cell phones – when is a smart phone too smart??

JEL23652-Blackford, Sheila P3 (2)   by Sheila Blackford   ©2009   I went to Saint Maarten with the ABA LPM section last week. I took my cell phone, a nice little LG Chocolate from Verizon. I turned it off because I didn’t want to spend international rates. But I happily snapped pictures to bring back. The day that I had reserved to be “my day” was Saturday. I signed up for a trail ride along the beach that would culminate in a “dip” in the ocean with the horses! What a horse fix! It was just me and the trail guide at Lucky Stables. He took a picture of me on my horse. I took a picture of a big Iguana. That was the last picture. The dip was a bit deeper than I thought and my cell phone soaked in the wonderful warm Caribbean waters which are very, very salty. No rescue on that battery!

Today I have a Blackberry Tour. Wow! It’s a very smart phone. I need to read the “Tips, Hints, and Shortcuts” so I can figure out all the smart things it promises to do like let me access my email at the PLF wherever I am and the VZ Navigator which will enable my phone to become a GPS device so I can find my way to lawyer offices all around Oregon. I did find the Sudoku game which came in handy while waiting for an appointment. Hope to get everything set up so it’s worth the monthly charges! Guess I am glad my less smart phone drowned, but I’d have liked to see that Iguana picture! I could’ve uploaded for you. I’ll be taking better care of my Blackberry.

Should you ever get your phone wet, take out the battery immediately. Some even advise drying the battery compartment and the battery with a hair blow-dryer turned on low. However, salt water is highly corrosive to electronics. Buy a cell phone dry pack at REI. I’ll be heading over there after work!



JEL23652-Blackford, Sheila P3 (2)  by Sheila Blackford   ©2009   “Do you have any marketing tips?” is a frequent question. Marketing is more than advertising. There are many great resources for getting marketing tips.

The ABA Law Practice Management Section webZine called Law Practice Today is a popular resource. The current issue for October 2009 is “Lost in the Crowd? Marketing Strategies You Can Use.” I had a good time writing a article for the popular “Ask Your PMA” column that is a monthly feature: “Marketing Tune-Up to Keep Business Coming.” Who would think that inspiration could come from a visit to the oral surgeon? I won’t spoil the article for you – read it yourself. You might want to remember that you can subscribe the Law Practice Today webzine without being a member of the Law Practice Management Section or even the ABA.

For that matter, you can go ahead and become a subscriber to the Law Practice Magazine even if you are not a member of the ABA LPM. Of course, if you’re a member, you get other benefits. The current issue of Law Practice Magazine is also on the theme of advertising: “Differentiate! The Law Firm Marketing Strategies Issue.” I may be biased, I am on the Law Practice Magazine Board. But then, I wanted to be on the board because I love the magazine!

GeneralLaw Practice Management

Supporting Oregon Attorneys


Sheila M. Blackford, Attorney, Practice Management Advisor at Oregon State Bar Professional Liability Fund

 by Sheila Blackford   ©2009  Law Practice Management.  Not a course covered in law school.   Although, I must plug Northwestern School of Law of Lewis & Clark College for their program for 2009 grads: Lewis & Clark Law School Graduate Fellows Program. It’s a two-hour session that has been running about three nights a week for six weeks and broadcast on a webinar for graduates out-of-the Portland area. I covering “Calendaring, Docketing and File Tickler Systems” on Monday October 19th and “Avoiding Conflicts and Ethical Pitfalls” on Tuwesday October 27th. Topics are on a variety of law practice management issues.

Law practice management is especially difficult for the solo and small firm attorneys finding themselves needing to wear different hats requiring different skills –finance, management, marketing, and technology.   Can one person be both entrepreneur and financial officer, addressing big picture and small detail?  Unique to Oregon, lawyers in private practice must be members of the Oregon State Bar and carry professional malpractice insurance from the OSB Professional Liability Fund.  The PLF provides free access to practice aids and forms and three practice management advisors.  As a lawyer and practice management advisor, I work for Oregon attorneys throughout the beautiful state of Oregon.  There are 13,500 Oregon attorneys and there are 7,000 attorneys in private practice.   The services of the PLF practice management advisors are free and confidential. As a supplement to that fine program, I hope this blog can be a resource to the lawyer in Oregon.