Solve for X, Then Solve Again!
Just because you have designed or created a way to handle a particular problem, doesn’t mean the process can’t and shouldn’t be improved. These are the words that drive my team crazy! I am constantly encouraging each and every person to question everything we do. It has long been my opinion that small law firms that are operationally flexible are better suited to any business environment. More importantly, every great law firm is dedicated to constantly seeking new ways to improve their performance across each and every business metric.
Take a moment to consider when last you thought about improving the way your receptionist greets incoming clients, or the way your Retainer Agreement contemplates client file storage after representation. Seriously, when last did you question anything that has become operational status quo in you office?
Whether you are a true solo practitioner with no support staff or a growing small practice, taking the time to consider each system or process you and/or your staff employ is always an effective use of your time. Realize that as your practice grows and evolves, so should your processes. It is my belief and hopefully yours as well that any stagnant and flatfooted legal practice is slowly going out of business.
I have often heard older attorneys say that successful law firms are those that create clearly defined standard practices for support staff to follow. In many regards, I don’t disagree. While standard practices, clearly defined in employee handbooks, can reduce employee turnover and learning curves, an unintended consequence arises in that this ensures that no paralegal or associate will ever considering deviating from the process. Stale processes and practices stifle creativity and limit resourceful and intelligent employees to little more than drones.
Stifling creativity and flexibility in a law firm is, in my opinion, far from what successful law firms should be doing. More importantly, you must realize that there are portions of your practice, if you practice with support staff, which could benefit from feedback from your team. For example, your receptionist may be having a difficult time dealing with Spanish-speaking clients, however, your clearly defined training manual leaves no room for changes or questions.
What if you approached your practice by questioning everything? What if you encouraged your team to each present two ideas for improving the intake procedure for new clients in your next Monday morning meeting? What ideas could come to light that would make your practice better?
Jared Pierce hung his own shingle right out of law school and has spent every minute since then discovering the joys and difficulties of chasing success. Anyone who has ever met Jared will tell you h