Running a law firm is no easy task. Soon after you’ve solved one problem, another one inevitably appears. As legal professionals, it’s our job to solve problems, so we should never expect them to go away completely, but it is reasonable to expect that certain problems or processes should be made easier over time.
I can tell you from firsthand experience that the stress of managing multiple cases and clients can be overwhelming without the right practices and procedures in place. In fact, I was once at a point where I wanted to sell my attorney firm and become involved in entirely different industry. Fortunately, I buckled down and took the necessary steps to turn things around and get my business in order.
To help others who are facing a similar problem, I’ve put together the following list of the four things that I did that proved to be helpful:
1. Digitize Everything
If you want to save time and be more efficient, the first thing you should do is eliminate the burden of sifting through papers, deciphering handwriting, and dealing with all of the other spacial and visual challenges that come with keeping records on paper. Convert all of your paper documents into digital formats and you’ll find it easier to find what you need, when you need it.
2. Assess the People Working for You
It’s important to remember that the everyone who works for you (all the way down to the receptionist), is a representation of your business. Assess your employees and filter out anyone who is not conducive to progress. In my case, it turns out the colleague who told me I should sell my attorney firm was also the one scaring clients away, and I only found out about this through several people leaving complaints about his poor attitude.
3. Seek the Assistance of a Law Business Coach
Every great entrepreneur or athlete has had a mentor or a coach that helped them reach their potential. Likewise, I realized that if I wanted to save myself a ton of mistakes and research, I was going to need the help of someone who was more experienced than me or anyone on my team. There are a number of companies online that specialize in the law business coaching field (i.e. – LawBiz) so you should have no trouble finding help in this regard.
4. Stop Working on Your Own Time
As the owner of a law firm it can be easy to fall into complacency and rest on your laurels. You might approach the management of your law firm as something you do on your own time. You do things “when you can get around to them.” This mentality will only serve to make your firm fail. You need to start thinking as though you’re working on the time of your clients (because you are). When scheduling and time management becomes mandatory for your firm, only then will you be able to accommodate a high volume of clients and cases successfully.
Stay Consistent and Control Stress
The problem many new law firm managers have is that they’re struggling to make the transition from the pace of everyday life to the daily challenges of keeping up at the firm. This is really just a psychological block that is causing everything to seem more hectic than it really is. When you’re starting to feel stressed about the number of tasks ahead of you, stop and remind yourself, “this is just another day in the office.”