The Christmas hits are on repeat, and you’re either grumbling about it or swaying along merrily. There’s no wrong way to respond. Either way, listen closely and you’ll hear nuggets of wisdom that seem to capture life as a solicitor. It’s unlikely that any of the songwriters intended that, but that’s the magic of art, and indeed the magic of the season. Here are five times that Christmas hits summed up life in a law firm.
‘My God! I thought you were someone to rely on.’ Last Christmas – Wham!
You don’t need us to tell you the trouble that follows an unhappy client, whether or not their displeasure is justified. As well as having to devote time and energy to placate them, you might be facing the prospect of lost business. 70% of clients let online reviews inform their choice of solicitor, and if your detractor is particularly disappointed or aggrieved, theirs could be the review that puts a potential client off using you.
There’s one very effective way to keep clients connected, informed, and reassured, whatever their temperament or preferences. That’s a client portal. That central hub for all updates means that a client who’s hungry for information and updates can access everything at any time. One who is easily overwhelmed by data and detail can consume it in greater moderation. The point is that it’s in their control — they don’t need to wait for updates or face a bombardment of emails from their firm.
All the while, everything in the case is perfectly clear for all parties. When next steps are outlined, documentation requirements are explicit, and case deadlines are all clearly expressed, there’s far less chance that anything will happen that lead to disgruntled clients.
‘Your boughs, so green in Summer-time stay bravely green in Winter-time’. Oh Christmas Tree – Aretha Franklin/Boney M/several others
If recent years have taught us anything, it’s the importance of resilience. It’s easy to make hay while the sun shines, but it takes something special to keep a firm healthy when the economy or the labour market is working against you.
The answer is what we call ‘radical efficiency’. That’s the state in which your teams never have to do anything that can be automated, and everything they do handle themselves could not be more streamlined. When you’re in that state, tough times like the Great Resignation are more of an irritation than a threat, because fewer people can handle the work of many, without overworking. That’s easy to achieve with the right platform.
‘Twas light years of time since his mission did start.’ A Spaceman Came Travelling – Chris de Burgh
Nobody likes timesheets, and frankly, why would they? Like bitter medicine, they’re as repulsive as they are beneficial. Obviously the firm as a business can see the use of them for profitability tracking, but it’s even more productive to think of them as a client benefit.
If you’ve undertaken a long and complex case, when you’re invoicing your client, you can easily imagine the difference between an itemised bill and a demand for a large and unexplained lump sum. It feeds into the matter of reputation that we discussed earlier, if you leave your client with a bad taste in their mouth, then the chance of them using you again or recommending you are close to nil.
Also near zero are the chances of your teams recording their time effectively when they have to use cumbersome programmes to do it. Intuitive time recording software is the essential starting point for a cultural change in relation to timesheets.
‘Another year over, a new one just begun.’ Happy Xmas (War Is Over) – John Lennon & Yoko Ono
The end of the year has always been a time for reflection. If you’re of a mind to make new year’s resolutions, you’ll give yourself the best chance of sticking to them if they follow the classic SMART criteria for goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound).
Measurability is possibly the most important of those criteria. Aspirations like productivity and efficiency are impossible to realise unless you have objective measurements. Feelings and impressions are inconsistent and unreliable. To help those goals and reflections, we’ve prepared a guide to assessing and optimising productivity.
All of the tools you need to collaborate, take care of your clients, weather economic storms, manage and record your time, and optimise your practice are all contained in one platform that over 1,000 firms use already. Book your demo with Insight Legal and just 30 minutes will show you how to make what one user called ‘a transformative change’ in the firm.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.