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Did you know there is more to practicelaw than just forms?  practicelaw is designed to be a repository of resources intended to help your practice.  Similarly, the MSBA’s practiceblawg is a blog for the Association to share with you how the MSBA can help you improve your efficiency and grow your practice.  The MSBA offers members a number of products and services and is always looking for ways to better serve its members and provide greater value.

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Someday never comes

by Joe Kaczrowski | Oct 20, 2015

Time: unless you are Jupiter Jones or Will Salas, it is the one resource you can never get more of. Lawyers, generally, are acutely aware of how extremely limited this resource is. For many, it is the nature of the profession that each hour (or tenth of an hour) must be accounted for. And when employing a billable hour practice model, it can be hard to allocate time to non-billable projects or tasks, whether that is something like researching and deploying a new tool or system or marketing your services.

The challenge with the latter is often when you should be working to generate new leads or business you are too busy, and if/when you have time to do so you must then wait for those leads to pan out, leading to a larger valley in the ebbs and flows of the business. With marketing, one must often look not only at current clients but also at the pipeline, or future business opportunities. Ideally, you can move from one client or project to the next with little or no downtime (a period lacking revenue generation). However, if you put off your marketing and lead generation until you have time, the pipeline can dry up leading to a more pronounced and extended lull in business.

Similarly, if you put off these efforts, while you may stay busy you likely forgo the opportunity to expand or grow your business, and will potentially keep just busy enough to stay exactly where you are professionally.

Likewise with the former example, implementing a new practice system, if you continue to put off the research or implementation because you don't have the time, you miss out on the potential efficiencies and revenue opportunities available. Again, it is hard to allocate precious resources to training or a non-client matter, but the small upfront cost can lead to a significant long term gain. Clio, for example, claims attorneys on average save up to eight hours a week by using its practice management tool. There is a cost to implementing a system like Clio, and the decision should not be made lightly, as MSBA member John Schindel explains in this video. However, there are likely not many attorneys who would not be interested in having an extra day each week.

Lawyers are often just busy enough that it's easy to say you'll do it later or get to it someday. And maybe that's true. But as often as not, that can gets kicked down the road a little further each time, and someday never comes. From time to time it is important to take a step back and think about where you want to go. Then figure out how to get there. Those someday tasks and projects may need to become today tasks.

Finally, as a reminder, the MSBA's tech conference on November 5th is an opportunity to learn more about several practice tools and resources available to you, such as ShareFile and mndocs. It's also an opportunity to learn more about the LTA and how it can help you become more competent and efficient with essential practice tools.