10 New Year’s resolutions for your practice

Issue January 2014 By Damian J. Turco

How could I let the holiday season pass without a holiday-themed practice article? After debating between this and another article, entitled "Fa-la-la-la-la, La-la-la-law Practice Management Ideas for the New Year," I decided people like reading about resolutions, and perhaps you've been trying to figure out just how you can improve things in 2014. Here I've brainstormed some crafty ideas to help inspire your own creative thinking.

10. Be honest about your marketing's effectiveness in 2013. It's easy to continue with the status quo, and we generally don't like to admit we were wrong, but if something wasn't working all that well, you are better off accepting it now and moving on to something better.

9. Take a risk or two in the New Year. Don't bet the practice, but so long as you have the stability to make it, try out some creative ideas this year.

8. Consider new technology. When better to look into how new technology can make your life and practice better than at the beginning of the year? Research the latest trends and demo something new.

7. Make sure you have balance. Work, work, work. Okay, it's good to have work, but you'll be unhappy unless you have the balance that really only comes with a balance between work and personal interests. Make sure you do!

6. Hire people who match your firm's culture. A firm's culture is a direct reflection of the people who work there. Why? You can tell employees how to behave, but if you hire employees who already behave how you would like, then no time, effort or resources are needed to make sure the culture continues. Look beyond the resumes and make sure your candidates match your firm's culture.

5. Get outside your comfort zone. There are things in practice that you avoid because you are simply not so comfortable doing them. Maybe that's attending networking events or learning a new technology or taking a newly trending type of file. There was a time when something you very much enjoy today was also outside your comfort zone and things only changed as a result of your confronting it head on.

4. Stop wasting time on things that aren't moving your practice or life forward. How many hours did you spend last week on something that did not provide you with actual progress? Take a hard look at your processes and controls and figure out whether some unproductive tasks can be cut out, automated or outsourced.

3. Thank people. Your staff, your colleagues, your clients, your referral sources, your adversaries (yes, even your adversaries) and whomever else helps you out. People like being appreciated, including you. Try to give out more than you take in this year.

2. Make better friends. Business contacts can be great, but the type of contact that evolves into a true friend is rare. The fact is that having more people in this world with whom you have mutual trust, respect and admiration can provide more opportunities, while delivering balance and general satisfaction. Try to find more of it in 2014.

1. Find greater purpose. Satisfaction in work and life comes easier when your focus is on something greater than yourself. Whether it's volunteering your time with a charitable organization, committing to do some pro bono work, mentoring a new lawyer or just resolving to elevate the practice of law at every opportunity, dedicate some meaningful time to a greater purpose in 2014. You'll be happy you did.

Damian Turco owns Mass Injury Firm PC, a Boston-based personal injury law firm, representing the victims of negligence across Massachusetts. Damian is the vice chair of the Law Practice Management Section Council and is a regular presenter at MBA CLE courses.