7 Simple Tips to Ensure a Successful Legal Career
When we hear the term ‘career planning,’ most of us consider this to happen maybe one or a few times in our lives. But this is a common misconception most of us have, not realizing that career planning is a continuous, ongoing effort that goes step by step with a successful career. Planning, as we all know, is the corner stone to success but comes at a price. The price of being able to contemplate and visualize the major steps or moves we make in our careers. We have listed out our top 7 tips we think every attorney needs to keep in mind when charting out their course.
1. Set Goals and Learn to Wait
Warren Buffet has said that life is like a game of bingo. You have only a set number of holes you can punch. Remember this, take a deep breath and now think of the highest most outrageous goal you want to achieve (be 17 again). Break it down to smaller achievements, when put together it gets you to that big ludicrous goal. When doing this exercise, you may even change that big ludicrous goal to something you really want and not what we initially start off with. Remember we all aspire for what the world around us makes us think we want – not what we really want. Specific; Measurable; Achievable; Realistic; and Time-bound – these are your keywords. Take time and think how you want to grow your practice, get more clients, specialize in any particular area of law, or if you want partners.
2. Manage Time
Good time management skills will make getting to your goals less painful. This is a promise and very important for a lawyer’s success. You can be more productive and impress your clients if you organize your tasks well and rightly manage your time. Create a weekly/monthly priority list to accomplish your tasks. Create templates. Learn to delegate. Delegation is another way of putting more value to your time and allocating it for more value added work. Delegation can be done internally to your office staff or externally to attorney support service providers. Here are some advantages of delegating work to external support service providers: helps in saving costs; helps in getting access to external talent and expertise (in cases where your firm/you may be an expert in any particular area.); helps in reducing turnaround time.
3. Market and Consider Building An Online Presence
Online marketing today needs to be part of your law practice marketing strategy. Online services have become ubiquitous and we now depend on google to find an office space, a vehicle, a doctor, an attorney, a teacher etc. Therefore, setting up websites for lawyers and law firms is important to build online visibility. Some other marketing tips would be to use LinkedIn Groups, Google +, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest as your content posting platform to build and maintain your online visibility. Passle is yet another platform that can contribute to your online visibility. Here, you need not draft a blog article from scratch but you are free to post comments on any topic of interest.
4. Learn and Invest in Technology
The legal industry is no exception to the changes brought by technology. Today, there are software that helps in areas such as document management, discovery management, legal research, billing, and managing the day-to-day activities of your legal firm. Make wise technology decisions and take advantage of different technological solutions catered to the needs of lawyers. However, before making the decision to purchase any software, evaluate if you are ready to learn, implement, and most importantly bear the costs.
Prospective clients can pop up in your network. Think of ideas to proactively build a strong referral network, but make sure you enjoy your networking activities.
6. Customer Service is a Reality for Attorneys
When you are practicing law, you are a service provider. Period. You need to invest in developing good attorney-client relationships. Small things make big differences. Train your office staff to service and interact with customers. We have often heard clients complaining about improper client call handling etc. Eliminate your customer service hurdles and remember good lawyer-client relationships are critical to success.
7. Get Paid, On Time
While all clients are not problematic, your approach should be such that you are dealing with this problem upfront rather than later. Enter into fee agreements with clients and keep the clients well informed of the fees. Develop a billing pattern that is best suited for the client. Some clients may need to be billed monthly; whereas, some need be billed only on matter completion. Instruct your staff to provide you with a list of clients, if any, who default in making payments. Never be late in collecting payments. Follow up with clients and clear your bills while your services are fresh in their minds.
About the Author
This article was provided by LegalEase Solutions. LegalEase is a specialized legal research and writing company serving attorneys, law firms and legal departments across the US and beyond since 2004. For more information, please feel free to contact us at 1(877) 712-8003 or email us.
Full disclosure, Legal Ink Magazine is an affiliate partner with LegalEase Solutions.