Complexity can cripple a law firm, follow these steps to make sure that doesn’t happen to you!
In a law firm, complexity is the nature of the game. Things can get out of hand fast.
A simple task like mailing a letter can turn into a long and messy process involving multiple printers, envelopes, stamps, a trip to the post office, a copier, and an unnecessarily large amount of both yours and your employees time.
Complexity is expensive. It creeps up and wastes time.
Complexity is the enemy of productivity and efficiency.
It’s the reason we end up with countless systems and manuals, managers and supervisors, and a team of people who can’t be easily replaced.
A certain level of complexity is inevitable and necessary. You can’t build an empire without systems, managers, and great employees. But you don’t have to make everything more difficult than it needs to be. You can (and should!) have some simplicity.
Here are some great steps that will help simplify your firm:
1. Pull the Plug
We’re good at starting new things, but not so great seeing them through. Just look in your storage closet. I would be willing to bet that there is a box with old electronics cords that don’t go to anything. But you won’t throw them out because you never know what you might need.
Here’s some insight, you are not going to need those random cords. The same goes for your firm.
Get rid of the old projects, subscriptions, obligations, and commitments. Unsubscribe from magazines, quit groups, drop memberships, and cancel auto-renew services. Abandon the things you don’t need/use/want anymore.
Not sure what you should cancel? Look at your bank account. Find the recurring software fees, publications you aren’t reading, and monthly minimums you’re paying for. Then dump them.
2. Dump the Problem Client
You know who I’m talking about. The client that’s making a mess of your practice. You’ve already promised to avoid clients like this one in the future. You’ve promised to change the way you pick your fares.
A lot of new solo attorneys are worried about making a profit and feel they don’t have a choice about what clients they take on, but I would encourage you to rethink this position.
Having a client that does not respect you and has unrealistic expectations could get you into a lot of trouble. These are the clients that take the time to file grievances and sue for malpractice because they feel you didn’t work hard enough to get them what they wanted.
Delegation is very hard for most solo or small firm lawyers. It just doesn’t come naturally. Your practice is your baby and I am sure you’d like to be in absolute control over everything.
Unfortunately, you can’t do it all and grow your practice at the same time (and save your sanity), you have to delegate some tasks. There just isn’t enough time in the day to do it all.
Hire a virtual assistant who can help answer questions and field calls for you. Replace your delivery role with a courier service. Courier services (specializing in legal support) can serve documents, file at the courthouse, pick up signed documents, and more.
There are countless options for you when it comes to delegation, you just have to find the right provider and let them do their job. The more work they can do for you, the more time you have to focus on other important tasks.
4. Don’t be Afraid to Say No
As a lawyer, you’re not obligated to take any work you don’t want or do anything unethical just to maintain the relationship.
Psychologist and author, Camille Preston, discusses how saying no works to set boundaries, establishes positive relationships and helps you keep your business in mind.
Say no to anything that’s outside of your sweet spot. Say no when you feel it in your gut. Say no to things you know you aren’t going to do anyway.
Saying no more often simplifies your life. It energizes you. It allows you to focus. It helps you be great at the things you say yes to.
5. Quit Using Old and Unsuccessful Marketing Tactics
Don’t keep a marketing service simply because you’ve been using it for a long time. Quit doing things that can’t be measured and aren’t producing results.
At least once a year, you need to revenue all of your marketing strategies and look at the numbers. If one technique is not producing at a high level anymore then dump it and move on to the next thing. There is always something else to try, so don’t be afraid to shake it up!