Get Busy in August

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August is a great time to do lots of things that might have been sliding throughout the year.

In a perfect world, nothing would slide in any month of the year. But the reality for many overworked lawyers is that there aren't enough hours in the day, even when sleep and personal-life balance are sacrificed.

As I discussed in a previous column, the school year is a busy time for many lawyers as they try to fit in plays, honor society initiation ceremonies and soccer games with court appearances, client meetings and briefs.

During the summer, you are still working, of course, but you might have just a little more breathing room. That is why summer is a good time to revamp your marketing efforts.

But summer is a good time to do other things, too, that might not have gotten as much attention throughout the year.


Clients are your source of income, so you should be treating them well. Perhaps life has gotten so busy for you that you haven't had time to do more than return phone calls in a timely manner.

August is good time to revamp your client-relationship efforts. That means it's time to make that long-planned but-never-implemented trip to visit your client in his or her place of business.

You can learn a great deal about clients by visiting them in their environment. A visit also provides an opportunity to ask questions in a way that bolsters the lawyer-client relationship.

It's also a good time to send clients some friendly emails, perhaps including articles of interest to them personally or professionally. That lets them know that you are thinking about them — and gets them thinking about you.


Planning is an ongoing process. If you haven't been evaluating your plan throughout the year, August is a perfect time to do so. If a certain aspect of a plan is not working or needs some adjustment, think about ways to change it.

Making adjustments from time to time is appropriate, just as people make alterations to an estate plan when family circumstances change. Even junking a strategic plan is acceptable when circumstances and assumptions warrant it.

Note, however, that a replacement strategy should be developed in its stead, not just a series of jumps from here to there.


One particular type of planning that should involve vigilance is financial planning. You should be current with your financial statements, which summarize the results of business transactions.

If you are not current, August is the time to update your balance sheet, cash flow statement and income statement.

The balance sheet is a breakdown of the assets and liabilities of a business as of a certain date. It is a static measure, or a snapshot, of the firm at one moment in time.

The income statement, also called the “profit and loss statement,” tells you how well the firm did financially for a given period of time. Using the accrual (versus cash) method of accounting, the income statement shows how much revenue has been billed, how much expense has been accrued, and how much net income or profit resulted.

The cash flow statement is the most important working document for a law firm, as well as for any other business. It consists of your revenue, expenses and summary of both.

If you're thinking about heading to the beach, stop! Take advantage of August to catch up.

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