Share your knowledge and expertise: Be a speaker at Legal Summit. CLICK TO SUBMIT YOUR PROGRAM BY JAN 31!

2020 Solo & Small Firm Summit


The 2020 Solo & Small Firm Summit and Day 3 of the inaugural, 100% virtual, MSBA Legal Excellence Week will feature three (3) Learning Tracks designed to help you Start, Run and Grow your solo or small firm legal practice.  Review the agenda below for more details on the available sessions.  More details will be added soon, so feel free to check back.


*****Please note – Although you are asked to select your sessions from the agenda below, you are not committed to those selections and may attend any session at any time and may leave and enter sessions at any time on the day of the event.*****


Register Now
Nov 11, 2020
8:50 am - 4:00 pm EST


DAY 1 of 1 November 11, 2020
8:50 am - 9:00 am
Welcome & Introductions

Welcome to the Day 3 of Legal Excellence Week and the Annual Solo & Small Firm Summit.  Here about what’s in store as well as learn how to navigate around the virtual conference platform.

1 CREDIT 9:00 am - 9:55 am
Start - Getting Started: The Basics of Starting a Law Firm

This session will review foundational business considerations such as choice of entity, establishment of trust and operating accounts, secure and redundant business practices, and fee agreements. 

Run - Legal Research on a Budget - Introduction to Fastcase 7 Plaform

Do your legal research on a budget and take advantage of a new improved MSBA Benefit.  This nuts & bolts session will provide tips and techniques to use the new Fastcase 7 platform for efficient effective legal research.

Grow - Estate Planning: Nuts & Bolts

This program provides practitioners tools to represent clients in planning for periods of incapacity as well as for providing testamentary gifts.

More on the Presenter:

K. Alice Young joined Nusinov Smith, LLP in 2012 upon completing a clerkship with the Orphans’ Court for Baltimore City, Maryland’s busiest probate court.  In addition to her estate planning work, Ms. Young manages a wide range of estate administration matters including the probate of small and regular estates, coordination of appropriate estate-related tax filings, and managing a robust practice before the Orphans’ Courts throughout the State.  She volunteers with the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service and the Free State Legal Project, working to ensure access to representation for underserved Marylanders.  Prior to lawyering, Ms. Young enjoyed a career in healthcare and brings to her law practice a long-standing commitment to client-centered service. Nusinov Smith LLP represents clients in all aspects of fiduciary law, including estates, guardianships, trusts, and fiduciary litigation.

9:55 am - 10:05 am
1 CREDIT 10:05 am - 11:05 am
Start Your Practice: Accounting 101 for Lawyers

Instructor(s): Charles Borek

This session will provide an overview of accounting practices for law firms, including a review of impacts of entity selection, tax planning, accounting systems, and IOLTA accounting. 

Run: Jury Trials in the Era of Covid-19

Today, attorneys in suits and masks face the tricky balancing act of protecting the health of jurors who are compelled by the law to serve, while also providing the constitutionally mandated right to a speedy and public trial. How are trial attorneys accomplishing this? This program will feature a discussion with several prominent trial attorneys who recently completed criminal and civil jury trials in the era of COVID-19. These webcast panelists will address the challenges they encountered during their COVID-19 era trials, as well as:

  • How have jurors changed in COVID-19 era?
  • Should juror questionnaires consider queries about juror’s health?
  • Masks, barriers, HEPA air filters – how do health and safety accommodations affect the trial? Do we need to see someone’s face to judge their credibility?
  • Social distancing deliberations – What challenges does Zoom and other social distancing accommodations pose during the trial?
  • What are the costs associated with a civil trial in the COVID era?
  • What technology was critical for a fair and safe trial to proceed?

Presented by Todd Scott & Kiernan Waters Minnesota Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company and MLM Risk Retention Group, Inc  featuring Kristi Paulson, Robert Aldrich, Cristina Wirth, and Rich Ruohonen

Grow: Chapter 13: Basic Nuts and Bolts

Instructor(s): Marc Kivitz

Learn the basics of advising and representing a client through a Chapter 13 bankruptcy; from client intake, to asset and debt examination, through filings and hearings.

11:05 am - 11:15 pm
1 CREDIT 11:15 am - 12:00 pm
Start Your Practice: Succession/Disaster Planning

Instructor(s): Lydia Lawless

Thinking of opening a law firm?  Then it’s time to also develop your disaster/succession plan for that law firm.  This session will provide you with information on key components for a successful disaster/succession plan as well as highlight the applicable rules of professional responsibility.

Ethics Credit is available for this session.


Run - Essential Tech, Tools & Talent For Running a Solo & Small Law Practice, Remotely

Instructor(s): Maddy Martin

Grow - Nuts & Bolts of Consumer Law

Instructor(s): Jane Santoni

This session provides an overview of how to run a successful and rewarding  consumer law practice, including what statutes to use, how fee shifting works, how to analyze claims, and how to avoid pitfalls.  It will also discuss the similarities and differences between a consumer protection practice and other common Plaintiff’s practices, such as personal injury.  

12:00 pm - 12:30 pm
Live Q&A with morning faculty
12:30 pm - 1:10 pm
Lunch Break

Before we step away for lunch, we’ll engage in a guided stretch break and learn how to present your best self on Zoom.  As you enjoy your lunch, you’ll have the opportunity to hear more about what’s going on with the Solo & Small Firm Section, the MSBA, and engage with our numerous exhibitors in our virtual exhibit hall.

1 CREDIT 1:10 pm - 2:10 pm
Start - What I Wish I Learned in Law School

Instructor(s): Claude Ducloux

Claude E. Ducloux, Board-Certified in both Civil Trial Law and Civil Appellate Law, by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, (and also licensed in CA and CO) and former Chair of the Texas Center for Legal Ethics will present a 60 minute power point covering:


  • A discussion of the Ethics Rules, including relevant Texas, Calif., Oregon and Mo. Rules, as well as the ABA Model Rules on the elements of an ethical Attorney Fee Contract (PA Rules 1.2, 1.5, NJ Rules 1.2 and 1.5; MD Rule 19-301.5);
  • Additional information on the use of Privacy Policies as required by Fed. law;
  • The effective use of file destruction policies, subject to the ethical duty to review client materials and safely dispose, destroy or shred appropriately retired files;
  • Conflicts of Interest between clients, including ABA Ethics Opinions, Pa, Rules 1.7, 1.8, 1.9; MD Rules 19-301.7; 301.8; NJ Rule 1.7, 1.8, and 1.9 among others;
  • Appropriate and inappropriate ways of referring cases;  MD Rule 301.5;  PA Rule 1.5 (e); Tx Rule 1.04; Calif. Rule 2-200; NJ Rule 1.5 (e).
  • interviewing skills to correctly document the attorney relationship and avoid conflicts;
  • Appropriate and inappropriate use of a lawyer trust account; MD Rule19-301.9;  PA rule 1.15 [Safekeeping property]; NJ Rue 1.15; TX Rule 1.14,  Calif. Rule 4-100; Mo. Rule 1.15
  • Required communications between lawyer and client under the Rules; PA & NJ Rule 1.4;
  • The appropriate rules for obtaining knowing waivers of conflicts; PA Rule 1.7; NJ Rules 1.7, 1.8; TX Rule 1.08; Calif. Rule 3-300; MD Rule 19.3018;  Mo. Rule 1.8(a) and (i);
  • Conflicts when the Lawyer represents an organization; PA  and NJ Rules 1.13; Texas Rule 1.12;
  • Duties to former Clients, MD Rule 19-301.9; PA and NJ Rule 1.9;
  • Legal requirements of sharing fees; NJ Rule 1.5(e); TX Rule 1.04; Mo. Rule 1.5(e)
  • General accepted principles of competent office management and employee training.
  • Budgeting your practice for Success


This will be via a PowerPoint presentation, which will be made available to the participants.   Presenter will answer questions, and provide followup to audience following the presentation.




Claude E. Ducloux has been licensed in Texas since 1977, and has also been licensed in California (1978) and Colorado (2003).  In 2011, he won the highest statewide award from the State Bar of Texas for lifetime contribution to CLE (the “Gene Cavin Award”), and has spoken in more than 300 programs in  throughout the U.S., since Jan 1, 2016, where attendees regularly rate his presentations very highly.  Mr. Ducloux has a long legacy of bar service, including being President of the Austin Bar Association, and serving as Chair of almost every major Bar-related entity, including the Board of Legal Specialization, as well as the Texas Bar Foundation.   He currently serves on the Texas Supreme Court Committee on Disciplinary Rules.  His resume is attached.

Run - Tips from the Bench - Practicing During a Pandemic

A panel of Maryland Circuit Court judges will address the best practices for representing your client effectively and safely in court, with new procedures implemented due to the pandemic. 

Grow - Online Dispute Resolution

Instructor(s): Jeff Trueman and Cecilia Paizs

Online mediation is no longer a remote concept or an unproven technological tool. With the help of experienced mediators, counsel and their clients are using online mediation everyday to resolve litigation and solve interpersonal problems. What have we learned so far? What comes next? Join the conversation!

More on the Presenters:

Cecilia B. Paizs, Esq., also known as “Ceecee”, has been providing mediation services since 2000 and has been providing mediation trainings since 2007. She provides mediation services in all areas of the law, as well as mediation trainings, representation of children, and parenting coordination services. She can be reached at or through her website, .
Jeff Trueman, Esq., is a full-time mediator and arbitrator who works with counsel and parties to resolve a broad range of litigated disputes and interpersonal problems.  He is a certified online mediator and member of the International Council for Online Dispute Resolution and the International Academy of Mediators. He was the past director of dispute resolution for the Circuit Court for Baltimore City.
2:10 pm - 2:20 pm
2:20 pm - 3:20 pm
The Client Centered Law Firm

Jack Newton, Founder & CEO of CLIO

3:20 pm - 3:40 pm
Live Q&A with Afternoon Presenters
3:40 pm - 3:40 pm
Program Adjourns


$ (% off)


$ (% off)
Become A Member

Register for this Event

2020 Solo & Small Firm Summit