My Solo Practice Annual Review

By Joleena Louis - November 18, 2015
My Solo Practice Annual Review

In this week’s edition of Things I Wish I Knew, Joleena Louis discusses her solo practice annual review, what she has accomplished this year, and what she plans to accomplish for next year.

With only a little over a month left in the year, I’m reflecting on 2015 and thinking about my goals for 2016.

Today I was visiting a friend in his office while he is doing annual performance reviews for his employees.

The process is fairly simple: he sits with each employee and analyzes what went well and where they need improvement. Based on this information they set specific goals for next year.

I immediately thought of ways to apply this system to my practice. By systematically doing high-level review of my practice, I got a clearer picture of what I need to take care of in order to continue to grow.

I reviewed my practice based on the following criteria and will use the information to determine my goals for 2016.

Billing & Fees

Client Growth Rate: I compared the clients I retained from January to November 2014 to the number of new clients I retained this year. While I retained fewer client’s overall, the fees were higher.

Average Fee per Matter: For each practice area I took fee revenue for the year divided by the number of clients billed during the year. I get the highest fees for divorces, but overall I made the most revenue for family court custody matters, since I had more of those cases.

Outstanding Invoices: As of today, I have no overdue invoices.  

Revenue & Profit for the Year: While my profits increased from last year, I did not reach my goal of a fifty percent increase. I still have a few weeks to push hard and see what how close I can get.

Marketing & Advertising

Client Sources:  Most of my clients continue to come from referral sources, the majority of which were lawyers. Over the last year I’ve gotten an increasing number of referrals from lawyers who follow me on Instagram, which is my most active social media site.  

Resources I failed to Implement: I have not kept up with my personal blog. I know that this could be a great way to provide information and bring potential clients to my website. I also know the power of video and I have yet to take advantage of it. Updating my website to better reflect my brand is also something I should be doing.  

Client Management

Client Satisfaction: Overall this year I’ve gotten great feedback from my clients. One area I know I can improve on is keeping clients updated, even when nothing new is happening in their matter.

Administrative System Implementation: Having a (mostly) paperless office has worked great this year. It enables me to truly work from anywhere and saved me when my computer was down.

I find that I am spending a lot of time recreating documents that I use often. I have the software to make reusable templates, I just need to take the time to set them up to save me time in the long run.

Personal Strengths & Weaknesses

My biggest strength of the past year has been the improvement in my confidence. I feel more secure in myself and more confident that I know what I’m doing.

One area I really want to improve is my legal writing, it’s not bad but I know I can do much better,  I also feel I can improve my trial technique and become a better speaker.

How have you done this year in your solo practice? Have you given yourself a review? Comment below and give us your thoughts!

About Joleena Louis

Joleena Louis is a matrimonial and family law attorney at Joleena Louis Law, a firm she founded after leaving a boutique matrimonial firm in Brooklyn. Joleena is a client in Law Firm Suites’ Financial District location. Her weekly blog series Things I Wish I Knew... explores her thought process and experiences in her transition from small law firm employee to successful solo practice entrepreneur. Follow Joleena on Twitter.

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