Give Gifts... to Yourself

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You've likely been thinking recently about gifts to give your loved ones, your colleagues, your staff members, your special vendors, and maybe even your clients. But what I want to address today are gifts to yourself.

I'm not talking about things like that new smartphone or an electric car or a vacation getaway — although all of those are fine choices, if you can afford them. What I'm talking about are gifts that will make your business run more smoothly — and thus make your job easier and more pleasant. Best of all, none of these gifts costs money.

So, without further ado, here's a list of the Top 10 gifts that lawyers should give themselves (not necessarily in this particular order):

No. 10
Give yourself the gift of self-worth by continually evaluating your business and asking clients to evaluate your services. You will discover areas where you need to improve, and by implementing improvements you will fine-tune your practice and build a business of which you can be proud.

No. 9
Give yourself the gift of no collections headaches by creating and enforcing a worthwhile collections plan. This starts with an intake interview, engagement letter and fee agreement and continues with optimal billing statements, a sound billing cycle and communication.

No. 8
Give yourself the gift of financial security by creating a financial plan, including a collected revenue cash flow form, a paid expenses cash flow form, and a summary cash flow form.

No. 7
Give yourself the gift of client respect by treating your clients as if they are number one. You will get this gift back tenfold because clients who are treated well treat their lawyers well in turn.

No. 6
Give yourself the gift of exploring new specialty options for your practice. Do what you love!

No. 5
Give yourself the gift of increasing your visibility by starting a blog. You will be rewarded with increased exposure and, undoubtedly, new clients.

No. 4
Give yourself the gift of organizing your office space and decluttering your desk. You will reap the benefits of this gift in decreased stress and increased productivity every day.

No. 3
Give yourself the gift of learning all the ins and outs of the technology you have in your office. Often, lawyers do not maximize the technology available to them because they don't have the time or inclination to learn these new skills. Don't let that be you.

No. 2
Give yourself the gift of work-life balance. In the midst of any one particular activity, you will be completely immersed in that activity if you give it your full attention and energy. But remember to save time in each day for family, friends and hobbies.

No. 1
Give yourself the gift of planning for life after law. You should retire when you want to retire — and on your own terms. This means you need to have a plan for exiting yourself from the practice of law so that you gain the optimal financial benefit from your years of building a practice.

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