Though the New Year is already under way, it’s never too late to set goals, get inspired, and create new routines. Indulging in some retrospection and identifying what worked—and what didn’t—can help you commit to changes that will take your practice to the next level.
Here are some examples of what other lawyers have resolved to do in 2018:
Make Friends at Work
Most of us spend more time at the office than we do at home. Yet how much do we truly know about the people with whom we log these hours? It’s important to make the most of those relationships. Come 2018, Connecticut firm Ruane Attorneys is launching a book club. Everyone in the firm is joining and people will meet monthly over a firm-sponsored lunch to discuss the book they select. The goal is to create deeper relationships throughout the office, so that colleagues feel more like family, rather than just co-workers.
Do More Pro Bono
Charles Dickens once wrote, “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of another.” So while it is indeed your professional duty to provide legal services to those unable to pay, pro bono work is not only a great way to feel good about your work but can also help in the development of new skills and/or extending your network. Immigration law expert Elizabeth Ricci already provides some free legal services, but is resolving to take on an additional pro bono case or two per month in 2018. She explains, “The homeless, especially those with mental health challenges, need legal help more than ever.”
Improve the Client Experience
Client satisfaction is the backbone of any law firm’s existence and development. If you want to grow your business, it’s important to focus on keeping current clients happy just as much as bringing new ones in. Austin attorney Chris Cagle said that his firm spends a lot of time at the end of the year focusing on how to improve their clients’ experiences. An initiative the firm plans to start in 2018 is to create a client portal so case updates are available in real time. “We believe this will give our clients more insight into the way their personal injuries are handled,” says Cagle.
In 2017 Pardo Jackson Gainsburg, a Miami-based boutique law firm that historically provided legal services in construction law, real estate, and litigation, responded to its clients’ needs by expanding the corporate, bankruptcy and corporate restructuring practice areas that many of their clients desired. Next year, partner Linda Worton Jackson resolves to build on what the firm has started by “providing our clients with additional resources and services that dovetail into our existing practice.” In 2018, Jackson will focus on building new practice areas, such as class actions, and expanding existing departments such as corporate and bankruptcy.
Use Your Time More Wisely
Adopting or improving time management is a popular New Year’s resolution and with good reason. The basic premise behind time management is the control of your activities to accomplish your goals, whether work-related or personal.
Matt Pinsker is a practicing attorney in a solo as well as a law professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. His resolutions for 2018 involve taking fewer cases so he can put more time into each and every case. By working more efficiently Pinsker hopes to get out of the office earlier in the day and be more physically active. What’s behind this resolution? Pinsker wants to ensure that he is working to live, rather than living to work. He explains, “I feel that attorneys tend to lose sight of the work-life balance, and I want to be sure that the practice of law is what I do, but not who I am.”
Happy New Year!
Kristin Johnson is an executive and corporate communications professional, and founder of KSJ Communications, a communications and public relations firm. She consults with a diverse roster of clients spanning the technology, professional services, financial services, public sector, consumer, and healthcare industries. In addition to Rocket Matter, Johnson writes for various other publications as well.