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Improve Your Efficiency Further with the Power of Dynamic Interviews

GettyImages-1097026612Another powerful component of some software is the ability to do dynamic interviews. Let’s say John and Jane Sample want separate revocable living trusts and you collect the information needed to do each one. But what if they change their minds and want a joint revocable living trust? The software can help you make the adjustment. When you change the parameter the software then “knows” you are only creating a single joint trust for both John and Jane and it no longer requires you to ask questions for Jane’s individual trust, or enter that information, thereby saving time.

So just how much time can you save with the right software? With the simple click of a ‘Finish’ or similar button, all of a client’s relevant information will be assembled into customized WORD documents specifically tailored to meet your client’s needs. In effect, you’ll have turned 15 to 20 hours of document drafting into less than two hours of work.

Next time we’ll discuss how the proper software can enhance document accuracy and coordination.

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Improve Your Firm’s Efficiency One Keystroke at a Time

GettyImages-859129286Greater efficiency is one of the keys to greater profitability. As an estate planning and elder law attorney, if you want to become more profitable, your firm must be able to draft an asset protection plan more efficiently. The right software can help you accomplish this.

The improved workflow efficiency inherent in computer software is sometimes compared to the greater efficiency automation brings to manufacturing. Consider the automobile. Building a Rolls Royce, where many of the required tasks are completed by hand, requires six months. Compare this to a typical sedan. That process, which can be roughly divided into stamping, welding, assembly, painting, and inspection, takes less than 18 hours.

At this point you might say, “My firm is not a document mill, we design customized plans. Cookie cutter plans don’t work.” You’re right. Fortunately, using the proper software does not limit you to creating a Toyota Corolla-like plan, you can use it to produce the asset protection equivalent of a Rolls Royce. You’ll see how next time.

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Manage Client Enrollment and Relationships in Blue Time

Blue-timeBlue time is the time you spend on lead generation and lead conversion (commonly referred to as marketing and sales). At Lawyers with Purpose, we call this Relationship Management and Client Enrollment.

Blue time involves all of the following:

  • Marketing to third party relationships (light blue)
  • Networking events (light blue)
  • Firm marketing time—strategy meetings, for example (light blue)
  • Enrolling prospects to become clients (dark blue)

To ensure your marketing and sales goals are met, you should be spending 40 percent of your week on blue time.

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Use Your Yellow Time Proactively to Make More Gold

Yellow-timeColor-coding allows you to efficiently track your weekly workload and quickly determine areas of your operation that need improvement.

Yellow time is the time you spend working on your law firm business. By “working on your law firm business” we do not mean creating a trust or crafting an asset protection plan for a client. Rather, we mean working on things that will help your firm, your business, move forward. You should devote 20 percent of your week to yellow time.

Yellow time can be broken down into Present Firm and Future Firm. Present Firm encompasses team meetings in which weekly progress is reviewed and discussed. This includes reviewing weekly reports, the firm’s marketing and sales efforts, work-in-progress, and firm revenue.

Future Firm involves working on what individuals and the team as a whole need to improve upon to ensure the firm’s revenue and other goals are met. Most firms do a rather poor job with respect to Future Firm. By working closely with your coach and implementation specialist, you can adopt a proactive approach to address unsatisfactory work performance before it becomes acute and detrimental to the firm.

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Know the Seven Common Workshop Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

When LWP members start putting their workshops together for the first time, they often think of them as a way to generate new clients, which is a key outcome.  However, they tend to focus on the workshop solely as a lead generator, and this mindset falls severely short in terms of what workshops actually help you accomplish. The workshop should be considered part of your process, the education part.  It is the part of the process that almost everyone needs, but they don’t think they do. The workshop helps participants see things they didn’t know, as well as things they didn’t even know they didn’t know; it provides them something new upon which to reflect.  The workshop doesn’t just generate leads; it helps enroll qualified candidates into your firm for a Vision Meeting and helps you accomplish higher retention rates and higher average fees, adding to increased profitability.  This article gives an overview of seven common workshop mistakes that will sabotage your success.

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Transform Your Practice One Who at a Time: The Accountability Chart

In the LWP system, progressing through the three levels of success depends upon your having the right people, the right “Whos”, in the correct positions within your organization. We call the graphic representation of “who does what” in a law firm an Accountability Chart rather than an organizational chart. This is because success depends on holding each “Who” in the firm, including the owner, accountable for accomplishing the tasks associated with each position.

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Download the LWP Law Firm Accountability Chart here

Take a look at the Accountability Chart above. You’ll notice that the top box, occupied by the owner, has a question mark next to the word Entrepreneur. Why? The owner of a law firm is not necessarily an entrepreneur. He or she might be, but is not always. The skills, knowledge, and experience necessary to be an outstanding attorney are not the same as those required to be a successful entrepreneur. As the saying goes, law school doesn’t teach you how to be an entrepreneur or run a law firm, it teaches you the law.

Ask yourself: Are you an entrepreneur? Do you have a vision for the future of your firm and the commitment, together with the skills, necessary to make your vision a reality? If not, your firm’s success depends on your developing the vision and skills you need or finding someone—the right “Who”—to fulfill the entrepreneurial role.

Now consider the operations box on the Accountability Chart. In many law firms, the owner/attorney takes on the important duties of Operations Manager. At LWP, we encourage owners to avoid operations and instead bring someone on board who has the skills necessary to manage the firm. One of the key skills required of the Operations Manager is the ability to hold everyone in the firm accountable for doing their jobs in an accurate, effective, and timely manner.

It is important to note that by utilizing the tools and exercises we have shown you, many LWP members have discovered that the ideal Director of Operations is already employed by the firm in another capacity. The same can be said for other roles within the firm, including that of entrepreneur. The “Whos” you need to fill certain roles may already be sitting at your conference room table; they are just not in the right “seats.”

Next time we’ll discuss the four boxes in line three of the Law Firm Accountability Chart: Marketing, Client Services, Legal Services, and Finance/Human Resources.

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Transform Your Practice One Who at a Time: The LWP Law Firm Success Model

At LWP, we believe that a firm’s success can be broken down into three levels. The Law Firm Success Model illustrates this principle and is a proven blueprint for tracking your progress from one level of success to the next. 

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Download the LWP Law Firm Success Model here

As you can see, in the Success Model level one is defined as technical success—and rightly so. At the very least, your firm must be able to use the law competently to address your clients’ needs and craft legal documents that produce the desired results for your clients.

Where are you with respect to competency and level one? Perhaps you are transitioning from one area of the law, such as family law, into elder law. In that case, you might not be proficient at designing, say, an asset protection trust. This would put you to the left of level one, letter A on the Success Model above. To fully achieve level one success, you must master the strategies and tools of estate planning, elder law, Medicaid planning, and asset protection.

LWP has helped many new members attain technical success through a combination of cutting-edge software, hands-on training, legal/technical support, and one-on-one coaching. Our three-day, intensive Practice With Purpose (PWP) workshops are the best possible way to start. You can learn more about them, or register for an upcoming PWP workshop, here.

Now let’s move on to level two, operational success, which is defined as consistent profitability and growth. Study the bulleted questions in level two. If your answer to most of these questions is no, you are to the left of operational success, the letter B in the Success Model—you’re not quite there yet. Conversely, if your answers to most of the questions are yes, you are well on your way to operational success and consistently achieving your revenue, profitability, and growth goals.

If you have achieved operational success, you are ready to move to the next level in the Success Model, entrepreneurial success. In essence, entrepreneurial success means that your firm can operate successfully and profitability without your day-to-day involvement. For example, if your firm has achieved level three success, you can go on vacation for a few weeks and your firm will not be in a state of utter chaos upon your return. Entrepreneurial success means you have the team—the “Whos”—in place to keep your firm running at peak efficiency whether you are in the office or not.

Look at the Success Model one more time. Whether you are in position A, B, or C, we can help you get to the next level. You will benefit from our next email, which will discuss our proprietary Law Firm Accountability Chart—the cornerstone of building a team that is comprised of the “Whos” you need to move forward.

If you are in position D, congratulations, you are not only an accomplished attorney, you are also a successful entrepreneur. Don’t bother reading our next email. We won’t mind. We celebrate success, and you should, too!