Most law firms struggle because their owners never get clarity about what they want and what they need to succeed. As a result, they fail to set up appropriate mechanisms to measure results and ultimately manage by their measurements.
While there are certain areas you have no choice but to measure, including your client’s lifetime value to the firm, profit and loss statements, budget variance reports and how much it costs you to acquire a lead or a client, it’s also important to measure seemingly intangible things, like your level of satisfaction with an employee or your level of stress related to running the firm.
You need clarity. You must look into the different areas of your practice if you’re going to manage them.
Do you feel rushed through the day? Do you dread going into the office every morning, afraid of the stress and problems that are bound to happen? Is there an employee who is no longer a team player? Are your clients few and far between?
You need to achieve mental clarity in order to effectively manage your firm. From the second you wake up to the moment you fall asleep, you are exposed to stimuli – both at home and in the office – and it’s never obvious how much these stimuli impact you until you stop to observe your mental activity.
- Consider a brain-dumping exercise.
Open your laptop or pick up a pen and a piece of paper. Write whatever comes to mind. For instance, if you’re looking at the laptop and thinking, “Wow, this screen is bright,” then write that. If you don’t know what to say, then write, “I don’t know what to say.” Don’t overthink it. Just write for the next 15 minutes, or however long you need to clear your head. Try not to worry about the other tasks waiting for you. Simply write.
- Make a list of everything. Yes, everything.
Similar to the above exercise, try to make a list of everything you feel you need to tackle. Do you need to talk to your employee about his behavior? Do you need to train a new hire about filing case reports? Do you need to follow-up with a client about a case? Make a to-do list with short-term and long-term goals to help visualize what it is you’d like to accomplish. Big or small, meaningless or significant, get it all out on paper to help you see exactly what it is you’re dealing with.
Once you have cleared your mind, you can take each item one by one, developing a system, if necessary, to help in the process. Using a system to, say, send out an email or remind you to call back a client can help to relieve the stress you’re feeling, leaving you less overwhelmed and more clear about what it is you need to accomplish.