Spring has finally arrived! Well… at least for some of us. But whether your front lawn is filled with snow or blooming flowers, April is the perfect month for cleaning up your practice and getting ready for the second half of 2018. The following are seven simple steps you can take to benefit your law practice, your work environment, and your employees:
- Revamp your marketing. Your marketing plan introduces your law firm to the world. It gives a peek into your practice and its members, while also telling potential clients why they should do business with you. A weak or ineffective plan can mean the difference between a booming practice and one that struggles for clients. Use this time to review your marketing strategies. Look at your analytics to determine what is working and what is not. Then, use that information to make effective changes. Content that is more than a couple of years old should probably be removed or, at least updated. Does your profile picture still look like you? If not, it’s time for a new photo. You haven’t added your most recent accomplishments to your profile? Well, get to writing. Take this time to review all your marketing materials and adjust where needed.
- Get organized. Hopefully, you make organization a daily priority. But for the many lawyers who do not, now is a good time to declutter and put an organizational system in place. Start with your files. Have an administrative assistant go through your open files to ensure that all documents are present and secured in place. If you are using an electronic filing system, have him or her catch up on scanning. Move closed files out of the way and ensure that all closing letters have been sent out to clients. This is also a perfect time to sort through the random papers in your briefcase and clean out your desk drawers. Also, don’t forget about your email inbox.
- Referral sources. If referrals are an integral part of maintaining your practice, take time to nurture and grow these relationships. How about a cup of coffee or lunch for the acquaintance who sent you multiple referrals? Just something to let them know you appreciate their support and hope to continue receiving it in the future. Also, consider potential referral sources. Think about former clients who were extremely happy with the outcome of their cases, or business acquaintances you’ve met in the last few months. A simple “thank you” or “nice to meet you” card can go a long way towards cultivating future referrals.
- Clean… literally. You take the time the spruce up your home in the spring, but many professionals forget to give their businesses the same attention. Your physical office also needs some sprucing up this time of year. It’s been a long, cold winter. You, as well as your employees, could benefit from a thorough office cleaning. If you do not have the time or desire to do it yourself, bring in a cleaning crew to clean out the dust. A stuffy and unsanitary environment is a breeding ground for germs and illness. Neither you or your associates have time to be sick, so guard against it with a clean office. While you’re at it, bring in some plants and freshen up the décor a bit. Get rid of those 2015 magazines in the waiting room and bring in some new materials for your clients to enjoy. Look at your curtains and carpets. Are they looking old and dingy? If so, do something about it. Remember, your office is a direct reflection of your law firm. Make sure that you are presenting an image that you can be proud of.
- Catch up on billing. Review your billing status. Are the invoices up to date for all work completed thus far? If not, you could be losing money. Make sure that all invoicing is up to date. Also, check your records for past due accounts and send reminder letters when appropriate. You should also check retainer accounts and send replenishment letters when necessary. By working with Law Pay, TimeSolv offers a quick and easy method for your clients to replenish their accounts by just logging in to a portal. Click here to learn more.
- Security check. Keeping client info secure is a constant concern for lawyers. So, a security check should be on your spring cleaning checklist. If you outsource with a company, schedule a review to ensure that you have adequate cybersecurity measures in place. All of those software updates you have been putting off, go ahead and get those completed. Also, while you’re at it, have your staff change their passwords. These are just small steps, but they can do a lot towards keeping your information and client data safe.
- Profit check. Spring is an opportune time for reviewing your law firm profits and determining whether your earnings are on track. If you were a good entrepreneur and made profit projections at the start of the year, review them to see if you are on track. If you did not make projections, it’s not too late. Make them now. It’s always good to have a goal in mind, so you can better measure where your practice stands financially. If things are not where you want them to be, look at your overhead to identify places to cut costs. Perhaps you need to look at your fee structure. Is it time to readjust your fees or consider alternative fee arrangements? By asking these questions now, you can make necessary changes to improve your profits for the remainder of 2018.
There you have it. Seven quick spring cleaning tips for your law office. A successful business requires regular review and response. Do that now to keep your law practice on track for a profitable year.
About Erika Winston:
Erika Winston is a freelance writer with a passion for law. Through her business, The Legal Writing Studio, she helps legal professionals deliver effective written messages. Erika is a regular contributor to TimeSolv and a variety of other publications.