If you're reading this book, you are no doubt a lawyer, someone managing a firm or looking to make a difference in the firm where you work. As part of this noble club of very bright, very talented professionals, your work is governed by tremendous rules, regulations, compliance standards and ethical requirements. Combine that with your commitment to your clients in matters, often life-changing. It's fair to say, your on-the-job responsibilities are many.
Honoring all those masters can be challenging.
First, you must serve your clients. It is, no doubt, a large part of your mission is to serve your clients with the thoroughness and professionalism that leads to positive outcomes. Sometimes a resolution doesn't turn out to be what you and your client set out to accomplish. But even then, if you've managed the case with care and treated the client responsively and respectfully, it is likely the client will come away recognizing that he's experienced superior service.
Second, you must serve the Law. You are bound to certain standards—both practices that have been legislated and others that are tied to honoring rules and ethics. The specter of malpractice is forever a back drop for your initiatives. And to circumvent the attention to that master compromises service to your client.
Finally, you must serve those around you: your partners, paralegals and administrative staff. They are there to assist you with the tasks that are necessary to completion of case work yet, in the case of your administrative staff, outside the scope of strictly legal matters and the practice of law. You must rely on them to perform to their maximum capability and then some. But for them to perform at that high level, you must treat the with respect and make them understand that their work and their contributions are valued and that they are an integral part of your team.
It's tough to manage all these masters, and the pressure to do so can get you into the weeds. You take on everything and do too much, particularly when it comes to the administrative, nonlegal tasks such as marketing, reviews, reports, court customer service, etc.. Lawyers, particularly those in small or solo firms, have been doing this for years. Their result: stacks of paperwork piled high in their offices, long hours at work, and, in worst case scenarios, a growing list of dissatisfied clients who are critical of their lawyer's lack of responsiveness. As troubling, the scenario translates to the absence of work/life balance, undue stress on families and personal lives that suffer. In fact, it has been said, that because they feel burdened and overwhelmed with their work, lawyers often come across as an unhappy lot.
But today, innovative ideas and the evolution of technology tools are available as phenomenal aids that can help you, develop processes, nurture people and maximize technology. This book identifies many of the key ideas that will improve your practice management and make your workday more productive.
That's not to say you'll never encounter bumps in the road. But when you do, you will recognize that you have the knowledge to accept them, learn from them and address them to grow your practice and further your professional development.
And, best of all, because of the more effective and efficient way you'll be managing your practice, you may even recapture the passion that set you on this rewarding and important career path in the first place.
It's never too late…