Small ideas on legal practice, research and technology

Posts Tagged ‘best practices’

Kick Procrastination to the Curb!

Many lawyers deal daily with a subtle form of procrastination – working on “busywork” to avoid the important but intimidating jobs that they should be working on. This behavior creates a vicious cycle that causes stress which, often, leads to additional procrastination which, in turn, leads to more stress and, you guessed it, more procrastination.
Posted in: Practice

Interruptions Are Just a State of Mind

Life is a series of interruptions interrupted by interruptions” is a quote that we had always attributed to John Lennon, but that may be apocryphal.

Anyone who has ever worked in a law office knows that interruptions are the bane of a lawyer’s existence. We can’t tell you how to get rid of them, but we can offer some suggestions to help you control them and reduce their impact on your work.

To control interruptions, make sure that you and your secretary both take your previously scheduled work sessions as seriously as you would a client interview. If …

Posted in: Practice

Know the Real Score: Survey Your Clients Regularly

The short opinion survey is one of the easiest, cheapest, and least used client development tools available to the law firm.

In a 1995 Harvard Business Review article entitled “Why Satisfied Clients Defect,” the authors pointed out the important distinction between satisfied clients and completely satisfied clients.  In markets where competition was intense, they noted a tremendous difference between the loyalty of satisfied and completely satisfied customers.  For instance, in the auto industry they found that even a slight drop from complete satisfaction resulted in an enormous drop in customer loyalty.

This phenomenon is not limited to manufactured products.  It …

Posted in: Practice

Breakdown Your Accounts Receivable

In what condition are your accounts receivable?

While your total accounts receivable number from your accounting system tells you the total amount of money owed by your firm’s clients, your accounts receivable report should be aged 30, 60 and 90+ days to give you greater information of the state of your receivables.

The 2008 Juris Law Firm Economic Survey from LexisNexis (the last date for which we have such a survey – they are no longer being published – a great loss as these surveys were very detailed and informative) shows that ‘days fees outstanding’ for accounts receivable in 2008 …

Posted in: Practice

Overcoming Fee Resistance

This is a guest post by Gerry Riskin of Edge International on overcoming fee resistance with a client.

The first step in convincing a client of your value is to have confidence in yourself and the fees you charge.

Consumers want the very best price for any given product or service.  As a lawyer, you suggest a fee. Your client looks at you and says, “Gee, that’s a lot of money. It’s really a lot more than I had budgeted for, and I’m really concerned about that.” Or perhaps, “My CEO is concerned about our legal budget. Is there a …

Posted in: Practice

Document, Document, Document!

A well-documented file is critical to the successful defense of a malpractice claim against you. In documenting your file, prepare and retain detailed notes from meetings, relevant conversations and of instructions received. Keep copies of emails (and attachments) associated with the file. When your client refuses your advice, document this in writing to your client and your file. Send regular status updates and always use file closing letters confirming the end of representation. Keep your personal notes and all relevant documentation when culling a file.

If, at any time, your client wants the file transferred to another lawyer, or made …

Posted in: Practice