Solo lawyers don’t build successful practices by coincidence. Discover which habits have helped them along the way.
Successful solo lawyers put in countless hours of hard work, determination and have an incredible hunger to be the best.
But in addition to all those things, most successful solo lawyers can point to several habits that have helped them along the way. Whether it be taking handwritten notes or getting a good night’s sleep, certain habits help build successful firms.
Follow this article and benefit your practice by using the same simple habits as other solo lawyers:
1. Take notes by hand
Today there is no shortage of technologies available that will help your firm. Your computer is extremely useful for many things, including taking notes, but is also a massive distraction.
By slowing down, taking your time and writing notes by hand, you will better comprehend and prioritize what is being communicated. This technique can be used whether you are in a meeting, watching a presentation or simply part of a conversation.
2. Always set time aside for family and relaxation
No matter how long you have been doing it, running a solo practice is always chaotic. Over the years, you will learn that prioritizing quality time with family makes an incredible difference in your own productivity.
It would be easy for a solo attorney to work all the time because there is always something that needs to be done, whether you’re handling client matters or business development. However, spending too much time alone and working too many hours is not only unhealthy but also counterproductive.
3. Don’t fear being uncomfortable, embrace it
With every profession, there is a certain level of uncertainty, and for everyone, especially solo lawyers, success is not a guarantee. One major aspect that sets successful solo lawyers apart is their willingness to take a risk and embrace different and better ways of doing things.
All solo lawyers take on a certain level of risk by deciding to go solo in the first place, but in order to find even greater success, you have to continue this mindset. Always be researching new ideas and strategies and push yourself and your firm to be better.
4. Save your energy for strategic decisions, not routine ones
Solos face many decisions each day, some are more routine, like what to wear and what eat, to other more strategic decisions like changing marketing techniques, preparing for trials and scheduling meetings and phone calls with clients.
It is helpful to reserve most of your mental energy for the most strategic decisions whenever possible. Try eating the same lunch or wearing a similar outfit each day, switching things up every other month or so. It also helps to plan your day in advance, versus deciding about what to do next as you go.
5. Get a good night’s sleep
When you leave work, make sure you actually leave work. Technology makes it easy for lawyers to work on-the-go, but eventually, you have to stop answering client emails or going back to your laptop finish one more thing.
At the end of the day when you are ready for bed, try putting your phone on airplane mode and relaxing, versus laying there staring at the dozen email you’ve received since getting home. You will be more productive and energized for those tasks by relaxing, getting a good night’s sleep and returning to them in the morning, as opposed to worrying about them all night.
6. Focus on productivity
Day in and day out, are you working as efficiently as possible? Or are you wasting time on certain projects and taking longer than you should on less important tasks? If you’re not careful and don’t take the right steps to improve productivity, your practice will pay the price.
For example, if you find that you are less productive at finishing specific tasks that sometimes frustrate you, like marketing or administrative work, then try to make a consistent effort to accomplish at least one of those tasks per day. The more you do these, the less frustrating they will become, while also improving your productivity.
7. Spend more one-on-one time with your referral sources
Building relationships with referral sources means doing more than seeing them at the occasional networking event or saying hello in the hall of your shared office space. Go to lunch or grab a drink after work. Meet somewhere outside of the office and talk about something other than your practice.
It will benefit your firm if you get to know them personally. This way, if they like you then they’ll feel loyal and connected to you. Then, as a result, they’ll likely want to send you business and help you out.
There is no substitute for hard work and determination, both are incredibly important to the overall success of your solo practice. But by maintaining certain habits that improve relationships and increase productivity, you’re ensuring that your practice is running as efficiently as possible and that it is providing the highest level of service to your clients.