13 for ’13: Resolutions for the improvement of your practice life in the new year
Following in the footsteps of Stephen Seckler
(or, standing on the shoulders of giants -- as the
case is, here) is a good path to walk. Since, last week, in this
offered a 13-point marketing checklist for the New Year,
I will offer 13 more general tips for improving your practice in
the New Year -- with neither of these offerings being the Fourteen Points, as we're a year away from
- Determine to make regular follow-up with your clients on cases
that have not been closed. Touching base every six weeks is a good rule of
- If you're not yet doing so, reconcile your trust accounts
regularly, in compliance with the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct. This two-minute video relays the basics.
- Commit your fee agreements to writing, because . . . well,
because you've got to.
- Back up your files. If you haven't yet experienced a data loss
of some kind, you will. Don't be caught unawares.
- Bill your clients monthly, or on an appropriate, recurring
cycle. Avoid the causes of sticker stock and get paid consistently.
Advice is available for drafting attractive bills.
- Secure your electronic, moveable devices, especially those that
are most portable, including your iPad.
- Get into the habit of planning, in order to avoid being caught
short (establish and follow a budget), or residence in a limbo
where your business has no long-range plans and so no direction (if
you draft and follow goals, you're more likely to achieve
- Revisit your fee structure to make sure you're
still capturing the value of what you do, in terms of what
you're paid. Keep on keeping time.
- Use a scheduling tool (like Doodle), to get your meetings up and running
more smoothly and to unclog your inbox.
- Take a typical day and figure out where you're wasting time and
how you're distracted. Trying an automatic time tracker is the easiest way to determine where the holes in
your efficiency lie.
- Get paperless.
- Although Massachusetts is not a mandatory CLE state,
you should, nevertheless, make a concerted effort to stay abreast
of developments in your practice areas, as it's a great hedge
against malpractice. The Massachusetts Bar
Association offers a number of excellent CLEs, including via an
online access portal, through its On Demand service.
- Are you paying too much for legal research? Find out. There's
great, comprehensive book on the subject, which is available
through most law libraries. The MBA offers the powerful Casemaker
research system free to its members.
If you've checked all of these marks already, then you're on
your own for New Year's resolutions this season.
Give up Twinkies? Well, maybe that won't be a problem after all . . .
Tip courtesy of Jared Correia, Law Office Management Assistance
Published January 10, 2013
To learn more about the Law Practice Management
Section, which is complimentary for all MBA members,
contact LPM Section Chair Thomas J. Barbar or Vice
Chair Cynthia E.