This week in Things I Wish I Knew, attorney Joleena Louis shares four bad habits she plans to change in her solo law practice.
It’s mid-January, and many of us are muddling our way through our New Year’s resolutions. Over the holidays, not only did I think about good habits I’d like to begin, like spending more time with my family or on hobbies, I also resolved to break some bad habits that could inhibit the growth of my solo law practice.Solo attorney: I intend to break some bad habits that could inhibit the growth of my practice Click To Tweet
1. Hiding In My Office
I spend most days in my office with the door closed. And even worse than that, I usually eat lunch at my desk alone. I want to broaden my network, but I am not taking full advantage of an easy opportunity to build relationships with the other attorneys in my shared law office suite. To break this bad habit I am going to invite at least one person out for lunch every week and, whenever practical, leave my office door open so people feel welcome to stop by and say hello.
2. Not Giving Clear Response Times
I frequently have situations where my client has a question or concern that I can’t address until I speak to opposing counsel, which can sometime take days. Meanwhile my client is calling or emailing me, sometimes multiple times a day, for an answer. I used to think it was best to respond when I had an answer, but I now realize its better to let my clients know when they will hear from me, even if its just to say I don’t have an answer yet. This dramatically cuts down on them contacting me to check in on what’s going on.
3. Not Following Up Meetings and Phone Calls With Something In Writing
I take notes during meetings and phone calls, but unfortunately my clients do not. Sometimes this results in a breakdown in communication with clients and opposing counsel who forget things that were said during these conversations. If I have time I will follow a meeting or phone call with an email summarizing things that need to be done, but admittedly, I don’t do it nearly as often as I should.
4. Meeting Clients Unnecessarily
If a client wants to meet with me in person I almost always agree. This has resulted in several meetings that ended up being a waste of time for all involved. Some clients need a lot of face time to feel like things are moving, so for those clients instead of scheduling random meetings at their whim, I will have them keep a running list of things they want to discuss and schedule regular meetings with them every few weeks.