Monday, January 10, 2011

Have you made your resolutions for the New Year?

I was interviewed Friday by Chelsey Lambert at Total Attorneys for their Total Expert Radio broadcasts. I'm not used to sitting on the interviewee side of the table, and it was a lot of fun. Chelsey did a great job keeping me on topic. Thanks too to Kevin Chern and Kate Battle, who made the interview possible.

Chelsey and I talk about new year's resolutions for lawyers in three areas: growing their business, communicating their message, and managing their practice. We cover a lot of ground, especially with respect to business development, communications and practice management trends in 2010 and how those trends will translate into 2011. You can listen to the interview below, but if you don't have time right now, here's the summary of my new year's resolutions for lawyers and law firms:

Growing your business
  1. Make a plan, a road map, that contemplates what you want to achieve in your practice, the people that will help you get there, and they ways in which you are going to connect with those people.
  2. Set priorities. Time is not unlimited. Decide what's most important, and focus your efforts on that. And don’t make grandiose projects that will never come to fruition. Baby steps are fine.
  3. Talk to your clients more. Go through the list of your clients, not just the ones easy to talk to, and start connecting with them. Talk about service, about value, about their problems, about solutions.
Communicating your message
  1. Revamp your marketing materials. Practice descriptions, biographies, boilerplates, etc. They get stale quickly. Try to tell more -- and more meaningful -- stories.
  2. Write where your clients read. If they read blogs, write a blog. If they read trade publications, do what you can to publish in the trades. How do you find out what they read? Ask them.
  3. Draft a communications plan but don't get hung up on the process. Write down what you want to say, who you want to say it to, what you want to achieve from saying it, and where you should say it.
Managing your practice
  1. Set objectives for your practice beyond just practicing law. If you don’t plan your route you may end up somewhere you don’t want to be.
  2. Embrace alternative billing. Develop some meaningful alternatives to the billable hour that you can offer clients without hesitation.
  3. Explore new technology. Cloud computing, client extranets, mobile technologies, etc. Figure out how you can use technology to provide better service, and start doing it. 

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