Interview With Brian Tannebaum, Author Of “The Practice”

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 9.13.04 AMHere at MyCase, we strive to provide solo and small firm attorneys with lots of useful advice and information on how to efficiently and effectively run a successful law practice. Whether through webinars, ebooks, or infographics, our goal is to help make the lives of solo and small firm lawyers better. That’s why we decided to launch this blog post series highlighting recently published books focused on helping lawyers practice law in the 21st century.

Today’s featured book is “The Practice: Brutal Truths About Lawyers And Lawyering,” written by Miami attorney Brian Tannebaum. From this book you’ll learn what Brian believes is most important for lawyers: practicing law and representing clients. Although Brian understands and appreciates the value that technology offers lawyers, he repeatedly – and correctly – stresses that technology alone does not a good lawyer make. Read on to learn why he wrote this book and what he hopes lawyers will learn from it.

What is your background and what inspired you to write a book for lawyers?

I have been practicing law since 1995, concentrating in criminal defense and ethics. I have always enjoyed writing – starting with the newspapers in my junior high and high school –  and thought about majoring in journalism. Writing has always been a part of my life.

Writing is an everyday task for a lawyer. What is your number one writing tip for lawyers?

Don’t sound like a lawyer. Write to the general public. Explain things in simple terms. Analogize to things that people experience every day.

What motivated you to address the particular subject of your book?

My irritation with the notion that technology is the future of law. Technology is important and can make the practice more accessible to both the lawyer and client, but we still need to train lawyers to be lawyers. Technology doesn’t teach lawyers how to develop real relationships that lead to real business, and clients in need of real advice aren’t interested in how much tech a lawyer has.

Why should every lawyer learn about your book topic?

We are in an age where we are teaching lawyers that simply having a smartphone and access to apps is a law practice. It’s not, and the State Bars are doing a disservice to lawyers by ignoring the need for good lawyers – not just good users of tech.

How do you hope other lawyers will utilize your book when they practice law?

I hope they will spend time developing skills and relationships that don’t involve tech. One day the power may go out, the cell towers may not work, the WiFi may go down and all a lawyer will have will be their ability to talk to someone.

How do you envision your book will help lawyers run their practices?

I’ve been told that the book has helped lawyers realize that this rush to everything tech is ignoring all the other important aspects of building and growing a practice. Tech doesn’t refer great cases and great clients as much as real people do.

What sets your book apart from other books devoted to the same or similar topics?

People have said that reading my book gives the impression that “Brian Tannebaum hates the Internet.” I don’t. I think the Internet is a wonderful and horrible thing, just like tech. It has been said that tech is the cause of lawyer dissatisfaction because the use of it causes everyone to expect things immediately – raising the stress levels of lawyers to unreasonable levels. My book is not a “tech is the future of law” book,” it is the opposite.

What are the top 3 takeaways you hope readers will retain from your book?

Relationships drive the practice of law.

Tech is important and useful, but not everything.

Lawyers have to exist outside the practice, in communities, organizations, and hobbies.

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