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LawBiz® TIPS – Week of February 12, 2013

LawBiz(r) newsletter

I've been in AZ two weeks now, with one more to go. These two weeks in our Airstream trailer were for my wife, a trip she wanted. The next week is for me, a cycling camp. Being two people and a big dog in a 25 foot, narrow tube, 24 hours a day will either make or break a relationship. In this case, we are better than when we started, I'm glad to say.

Technology makes my life away from the office possible. But, as my wife would say ... and she's said it to me frequently ... do not get new technology just before you leave on a trip. I've spent considerable time in Verizon stores learning about my new phone ... but I do love what the Samsung Note II can do, and I'm learning more each day.

Ed signature

Too Much Work, or Too Little?

There is always concern over having enough client demand in the pipeline for future business. This is certainly legitimate, but being over-extended is just as great a worry. The flexibility offered by word processing and billing software, voicemail, email and other electronic tools, combined with the entrepreneur's "I can manage 100 cases by myself" mentality, can leave too much work undone, such that clients increasingly experience quality problems and inattentive service. Such an overwhelmed practice is headed trouble.

This contrasts with the nagging fear, present in even the strongest practices, that work could suddenly dry up. Consider a lawyer whose new practice has taken hold, with the result that she has been successful in keeping her accounts receivable current and well managed. In other words, she has been able to work, bill and get paid quickly. Her concern, though, is whether promptly securing payment from clients puts her at a disadvantage by limiting the amount of additional work that she has lined up to do.

This is a misplaced concern in light of the three-part cycle that drives law firm operations. Lawyers must, in turn, win the work (the marketing function), do the work effectively and efficiently (the production function), and get paid (the collections function). These three functions are distinct and separate. The trick is in balancing the three functions so that the business pipeline remains consistently full.

A review of priorities is needed here. Most lawyers who claim they have too little time, or are overwhelmed by time, demands, generally either fail to make a list of priorities, hop around any list they do make, or allow themselves to be distracted by too many other tasks. This reflects the reality that, from the time they enter law school, lawyers are trained to think they always know what needs to be done, and that they can do it themselves if they just work hard enough and fast enough. That's asking far too much of anyone. Ultimately such an attitude can make a practice and a life feel like both are spinning out of control. Lawyers facing such an impasse should pause and take the time to think things through - the volume of practice work, the operations cycle of the firm, its priorities and how well the lawyer is able to set and control them. The interaction of these factors determines the ability to deal successfully with work, time and control issues. The lawyer who expects to respond perfectly in every situation without taking the time to plan for and consider the balancing of priorities in the context of client and practice needs is unnecessarily adding to a stressful burden.

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In this issue:

Too Much Work, or Too Little?

Growing Your Practice... 30% OFF - Special price!

Video: Business Competency for Lawyers

Featured Video:
Ed Poll on YouTube video

YouTube LawBiz Forum
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What Clients Are Saying:

"On a personal level, I'm not scared any more. The recession reduced my wife and me from a comfortable two-income family to a one person income and a capital drain. When I first called Ed, I truly was counting the months until we would have to put the house on the market... The things we have put in place and will continue working on guaranteed my business picking up."

Northern California

"Ed was coaching me during our firm reorganization when disaster hit! Key personnel departed and I was panic-stricken. Not only did he honor his commitment to 24/7, but his advice enabled me to refocus my priorities. Now, I'm eating, I'm sleeping, and I'm smiling thanks to his guidance."


Ed Poll, LawBiz® Management   |   |   |
©2013 LawBiz® Management. All rights reserved.

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