When work gets busy, many of us put certain non-mission-critical tasks on hold. But it’s important to remember that “on hold” should not be allowed to turn into “lost in the mists of time”. Lawyers must develop the discipline of regularly returning to and addressing the non-urgent details of their practice when opportunities present themselves.
You will know best what needs addressing in the course of your spring cleaning, but if you need some inspiration, here are our suggestions:
- Bill your files, and send reporting letters for matters that you’ve completed.
- Identify languishing files, and take the next step in each one. If you have no clear instructions for a particular file, call the client and find out how he or she wants to proceed.
- Make a list of good former clients for which you have no current work, and contact each of them to see if they have any legal needs (they may be doing their own spring cleaning!)
- Send thank-you notes. Handwritten ones, so rare these days, really make an impression.
- Book your vacation time, approve staff vacation requests, and identify the CPD events you will attend this year.
- File your taxes.
- Review your non-financial goals for the previous year. What did you achieve? Where did you miss the mark? What would you like to achieve THIS year?
- Address staffing issues: complete employee performance reviews, post job openings (and follow through with recruitment); make arrangements to cover staff leaves.
- Review your office lease, utilities, and your supplier contracts. Are you running your business efficiently?
- Consider your office technology and software. Does anything need updating? Are your antivirus subscriptions up-to-date?
- Tackle your reading pile, focusing on identifying news and legal developments in your particular area of law.
- Update your LinkedIn profile.
- Update your CV, bio, and your accomplishments file.
- Review your business card.
- Organize your email inbox, ensuring that client correspondence is properly filed.
- Shine your shoes, dry-clean your suits, and walk through your waiting area an office space as though you were seeing it for the first time. Does your office make an organized and professional impression?
When you feel like you’ve done a good job dusting out at least most of the cobwebs of your practice, shut the door behind you and take a walk in the spring sunshine. We think you’ll be surprised how energized and positive you feel about your work once the details are under control.
This article is by Nora Rock, corporate writer/policy analyst at LAWPRO.