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2016 Solo and Small Firm Conference
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Approved for 12 hours CLE Credit, including 5.5 hours of ethics and professionalism and 1.5 hours of law practice management in Kansas. Pending CLE approval in Missouri.

5/6/2016 to 5/7/2016
When: Friday, May 6
Where: Atrium Hotel and Conference Center
1400 N. Lorraine Street
Hutchinson, Kansas  67501
United States
Contact: Leslie Daugharthy

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Approved for 12 hours CLE Credit, including 5.5 hours of ethics and professionalism and 1.5 hours of law practice management in Kansas.  Pending CLE approval in Missouri.

2016 Solo and Small Firm Conference
May 6 & 7, 2016


Featured Presenter: Cynthia Sharp from The Sharper Lawyer

Cynthia Sharp, Esquire (J.D., LL.M. (taxation)) dedicated close to thirty years building a successful niche law practice and serving thousands of clients. At the pinnacle of her career, she sold her interest in the practice and established The Sharper Lawyer, a fully accredited CLE provider and attorney business coaching entity.  As Director of Attorney Development, Cindy has established a national presence as an author and speaker on topics of ethics in the context of practice management and marketing - lecturing extensively to law firms, bar associations and other legal organizations.

As a Business Coach, she instills in her clients a strong success mindset. Cynthia shares practice building tools and office management techniques that have withstood the test of time. Her clients have the opportunity to learn first hand the wisdom and insight she gained during years of experience.




Friday, May 6 Schedule:

8:00 AM ●  Continental Breakfast and Registration

9:00 AM ●  Future Shifts: How Lawyers Can Thrive in the Midst of Change
Cynthia Sharp, The Sharper Lawyer
Attorneys continue to be faced with the challenges of adapting to a “new normal” in the advent of rapidly evolving technological advances.    Some have embraced change, automating with new systems and adopting progressive attitudes. Others, to their detriment, remain in denial about the significant impact that technology and other societal changes have on their ability to prosper in tomorrow’s environment. During this session, we will discuss future trends and the steps that attorneys must take in order to flourish in an age of unparalleled innovation.  You will learn how to serve more clients with greater efficiency by making shifts in your practice management methods in the areas of technology, marketing, data security and fee arrangements.

9:50 AM ●  Break

10:00 AM ●  Breakout Sessions
1) Special Considerations in Divorce
Gabriela Vega Acosta, Vega Acosta Law Firm
Much of what the Kansas legislature has done with divorce laws has been geared towards reducing the amount of acrimony and embarrassment that often accompanies divorce- creating a no fault basis, providing a formula for child support and requiring an equitable division of assets. Nonetheless, there are often times when cases require special considerations. One such instance is when a divorce involves a U.S. citizen and a Foreign National who has been petitioned by the U.S. citizen spouse. This seminar will provide attendees with a primer on specific immigration laws and their impact on divorce proceedings in Kansas. We will discuss the Affidavit of Support, spousal support, annulment and the use of Ante-nuptial agreements between a U.S. citizen and a Foreign National.

2)  Bankruptcy? I don’t practice bankruptcy. I think I’ll get a cup of coffee and return some calls.
Wes Smith, Stevens & Brand LLP

All practice areas intersect bankruptcy in some fashion.  This session will familiarize practitioners on protocols when an adverse party or client files bankruptcy, non-bankruptcy workouts between distressed borrowers and banks, the tax implications of both bankruptcies and workouts and the new December 1, 2015 Forms. 

10:50 AM ● Break

11:10 AM ● The Ethics of Business Development
Cynthia Sharp, The Sharper Lawyer

Would you like to increase your client base but don’t know where to begin? Do you want to actively market your practice but have a restricted budget?  If so, you won’t want to miss Cynthia Sharp’s energetic and informative presentation. Attendees will be provided with tools and motivation to create and implement an individual marketing
plan for the remainder of the year.  The material will be geared to all levels with the core message that persistent and consistent communication of message will lead to revenue generation. The session will include a national survey of case law and opinions in the attorney advertising arena, including social media.  The panel will analyze MRPC 7.1 - 7.5 and offer specific guidance on how to avoid violating these rules.

12:00  PM ●  Lunch Provided

1:15 PM   Breakout Sessions
1) The NLRA, the NLRB and the Employee Handbook-How to Reduce Risk to Your Law Practice
John Dietrick, Creative Business Solutions
An employee handbook is a critical component of any efficient business operation, but with the recent NLRB General Counsel’s Memorandum, an improperly drafted employee handbook could present a risk to your law practice or your clients’ businesses.  In this session, I will explain which employee policies you should have in place; how to apply state and federal laws (NLRA) and regulations to correct current policy deficiencies to reduce the risk to your practice or organization; and highlight the top policies you need to make certain are lawful.

2)  "In Cold Blood" Revisted-The First Amendment, Kansas Open Records Act, and the Three Year Quest to Publish a Different True Story
Tai Vokins, Volkins Law Office, LLC
On November 15, 1959 in Herbert Clutter, his wife Bonnie, and two of his children, Nancy and Kenyon, were murdered.  By March 29, 1960, the state of Kansas, through the work of several of the KBI’s most experienced special agents, Harold Nye, Alvin Dewey and Roy Church had captured and convicted Richard Hickock and Perry Smith for the murders.   By 1966 Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood” telling the story of the murders was published in book form and later became the second highest selling “true crime” book in publishing history. 

In 2012, over 50 years after the murders, the son of Harold Nye, Ronald Nye, sought to sell some memorabilia given to him by his mother, which included his father’s original handwritten notes from the Clutter murder investigation. The State of Kansas sued Ronald Nye and his associate, Gary Mcavoy to prevent the sale, claiming the notes were state property.  More importantly, the state obtained a restraining order preventing Nye from selling or even talking about the documents in his possession.  Realizing the notes were important, Nye sought to release a book of his father’s account of the Clutter murders based on the handwritten notes.  This CLE will focus on the three years of litigation and quest to have the restraining order quashed.  The presentation touches on numerous issues that are rarely litigated, including First Amendment issues and whether the Kansas Open Records Act can be used to prevent Chapter 60 discovery.      

2:05 PM   Break/Exhibit Hall

2:25 PM  ● Breakout Sessions
1) 50 Tips in 50 Minutes
Danielle Hall, Kansas Bar Association
Buckle up and get ready for this fun, exciting, and fast-paced presentation. You’ll hear about dozens of practical tips and tricks for getting things done better, faster, and maybe even cheaper. Come learn about everything from websites, to apps, to gadgets, and more!

2) Criminal Law Update

John Cowles, Rokusek Law, LLC
Summary of important recent decisions on issues of criminal law from the Kansas appellate courts, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court.

3:15 PM ●  Legislative Update
Joseph Molina, III, Kansas Bar Association
This course will provide attendees with an up-to-date list of all legislative proposals that affect the practice of law in Kansas.  The update will briefly explain pending legislation, provide background information pertaining to the interest  group involved in the legislation and a provide the current status of each proposal. Attendees can expect to learn more about the legislative process and as well as how to contact their representative.

4:05 PM ●  Break

4:15 PM ●  Powers of Attorney and Living Wills
Kirk Nystrom, Nystrom Law Office
This comprehensive program will review: the requirements to have an agent be authorized to sell the home, why the spouse must consent, avoiding placing too high a burden on a serving agent, what provisions can outlast death, and what HIPPA provisions should be included, Giving the Spouse the authority to override the terms of the Living Will.  Why using the bare boned forms in the statute short changes your client. What language in needed regarding pain management. Is it clear that family can override third parties controlling medical decisions?

5:05 PM ●  Can lawyers maintain professional fitness? Yes, but
Anne McDonald, Kansas Lawyers Assistance Program 

The ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs in collaboration with the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation has recently completed national research on lawyer impairment. This is a landmark study because national data addressing both substance use and behavioral health concerns simultaneously has never been gathered on this scale before. The survey examines alcohol use, substance abuse, mental health issues and help-seeking behaviors of lawyers. The results are compelling; the implications for the legal community are multifaceted and far reaching – and we will discuss all of them and how they relate to our Code of Professional Responsibility. The data has profound implications for focus and funding in law school and the legal profession and will require a systemic approach going forward.

5:55 PM   Day One Adjourns

6:00 PM   Reception

Saturday, May 7 Schedule:

8:00 AM ●  Sunrise Breakfast

9:00 AM ●  You Are Your Own Best Coach!
Cynthia Sharp, The Sharper Lawyer
One of the most common complaint areas in the attorney ethics arena is the allegation of Lack of Diligence MRPC 1.3. Attorneys CAN be taught to develop stronger organizational aptitudes. By staying organized and running your practice efficiently, you lessen your chances of violating MRPC 1.3 because you will by and large be on top of your work load. I will introduce several practice management and activity mastery strategies that participants can incorporate immediately into their practices as well as day to day personal lives. Tools that will assist with organization and self-management will be provided along with a detailed explanation as to how the diligent and persistent use of these tools can help you achieve balance in personal as well as professional lives. Maintaining accountability to self ultimately translates into accountability to clients.

9:50 AM ●  Break

10:00 AM ●  Tips and Tricks for Legal Research on Casemaker: How to Use Your New Tools

Danielle Hall, Kansas Bar Association

This course is designed to enhance your legal research skills on Casemaker, the Kansas Bar Association’s free online legal research tool, by covering the basics of Casemaker and providing advanced tips for your legal research to maximize your search results and minimize your time spent researching! Come see how to use the new CaseCheck+, CiteCheck and the Casemaker Digest tools. 

10:50 AM ●  Break

11:00 AM ●  The Ethics of Delegation
Cynthia Sharp, The Sharper Lawyer
Many lawyers have not mastered effective delegation techniques probably because nobody ever taught them the basic skills. They are missing the opportunity to leverage their own talents by delegating projects and tasks to other lawyers, legal professionals and strong support staff. Besides, lawyers are bound by MRPC 5.1 and 5.3 relating to ethical responsibilities in the supervisory context. Workplace outcomes are no doubt adversely affected when delegations go astray. Lawyers and staff at all levels will benefit from the techniques explored in this program. Special tips will be provided for Micromanagers, Procrastinators and their victims.

11:50 AM ●  Break

12:00 PM ●  Skimming, Phishing, and Hacking! Oh My! Data Breach Response
Danielle Hall, Kansas Bar Association
Jay Hall, CBW Bank

Cyber security should be a real concern for you and your clients. We hear about new breaches in the news daily, but yet, we all think “This won’t happen to me because I am not a big corporation.”  The truth is that law firms are just as much of a target as any other business.  This session will cover the different types of data breaches, your duty to safeguard your client’s information, as well as dive into the nuts and bolts of how to deal with a data breach.

12:50 PM ●  Conference Adjourns.  Lunch is provided



Hotel Reservations:

Atrium Hotel and Conference Center
Rooms available for Thursday, May 5 and Friday, May 6 
For reservations call 1-800-362-5018 and reference the Kansas Bar Association