The end of another year looms, with all of the appropriate reflection and slate-wiping. But now it’s time to set your compass for the coming year. Want a little help drafting those 2017 New Year’s resolutions? We asked 20 experts, lawyers and professionals who work with lawyers, “What’s the single resolution you recommend for practicing lawyers in 2017?” All week long, we’ll be bringing you their answers. Today, we start with Heidi Alexander, Ari Kaplan, Jared Correia and Catherine Sanders Reach.
RESOLVED: Do one thing
Life is full of distractions; it is impossible to accomplish everything you set out to. For most attorneys, there is never enough time in the day. When the clock strikes midnight on December 31, 2016 (okay, maybe wait until the morning), it’s time to take a step back and refocus. What is the “one thing” that you want and can accomplish in the next year? Maybe it is to increase your profits by X amount, hire a new staff member, move into new office space or take a vacation. This goal should guide everything you do this next year. Write it out and post it conspicuously in your office; come back to it every time you make a decision. Then, at midnight on December 31, 2017, call me up to tell me that you have achieved your goal!
Massachusetts Law Office Management Assistance Program
Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers
RESOLVED: Set Manageable Goals
Personally, I have various resolutions for 2017. They include running more often so that I can run faster, practicing guitar scales so that I can play a few favorites for my 3-year-old niece and nephew, and taking a cooking class with my son, because he asked me to. The best thing that attorneys can do in the new year is to set manageable goals like these and hold themselves accountable to achieving them, either by making a small financial investment, partnering with someone they do not want to disappoint, or establishing a due date that is as firm as possible.
Ari Kaplan Advisors
RESOLVED: Use checklists
Identify something you know you should be doing, but never actually get done, and systematize it. Do you always mean to send a disengagement letter but other things signal a matter closed so you just skip it? Use that disengagement letter to trigger the start of the retention period, the archiving of files and correspondence, return of trust monies, letting the client know how and if you will keep documents, thanking them for their business, getting feedback through a satisfaction survey, alerting them to outstanding balances, asking for referrals, etc. Okay, now document that process based on the triggering event, with a checklist specifying tasks, sub-tasks, a timeline, due dates and assignments so it DOES get done. You will find it works so well you may document other processes, too!
Catherine Sanders Reach
Law Practice Management & Technology
The Chicago Bar Association
RESOLVED: Learn to Multiply
Lawyers spend a lot of time marketing — especially solo and small firm lawyers. And that makes sense: Attorneys in small law practices face lots of competition and must out-hustle their peers to build and maintain a client base. But there are ways to expand your marketing reach, without multiplying your effort. The key is to repurpose everything you do.
- Convert your blog posts into an e-book.
- Turn your in-person presentation into a video.
- Transform a meeting at a networking event into a referral pipeline.
Almost any one thing you can do, you can get more out of. So, here’s your New Year’s resolution: Take one thing you do, and multiply its effect by five.
Red Cave Law Firm Consulting
Make the New Year YOUR Year
Tomorrow we’re sharing more resolutions from Sheila Blackford, Shawn Healy, Vedia Jones-Richardson and Mike O’Horo.
Illustration ©iStockPhoto.com / Be It Resolved courtesy of Greenfield Belser