Knowsley Management Services
Legal Practice Management Consultants
I hope this August edition of KMS “Robservations” finds you in good health and prospering…
I have again briefly covered for you a few more issues that are impacting lawyers in small-medium firms in Australia and New Zealand…
I trust you continue to find the content of interest and value to you in your practice…
The strongest thread from our consulting in the past month has been related to the setting up of new WorkPlans™ for 2017-2018, involving hundreds of lawyers, Conveyancers and Legal Executives in Australia and New Zealand.
Far too often the closer analysis of alleged FirmTime™ investment for individual team members has revealed that they are providing little or no detail of what they were investing in, particularly in the Business Development area.
The key point to be aware of is that if time is set aside in a team member’s WorkPlan™ for FirmTime™, it is an extraordinarily valuable resource potentially and must be both planned and monitored carefully.
To try to monitor usefully when team members do not give useful information in their activity capture about what they were investing the time in is very difficult indeed.
Allocating time for FirmTime™ activity impacts what can be anticipated to be left over for ClientTime™ activity.
If it turns out that some of the anticipated FirmTime™ activity is not actually happening, there can be extra training provided to try to change investment patterns and outcomes, or even in due course a reduction in the time allocated, moving that portion of the allocation over to the ClientTime™ side of the ledger in the WorkPlan™.
Knowing what needs to be done relies on the team member taking responsibility to provide real quality in the information captured.
It goes without saying that most lawyers place their greatest emphasis on client file work. FirmTime™, including business development, usually comes a very poor second.
This is quite disappointing when you consider that, viewed properly, business development is just a form of looking after clients in a wider way (and prospects and contacts of course).
Having a solid flow of work over the long haul, of a type that is enjoyable and properly remunerative, depends on quality relationships, and if we reflect for even a moment we all recognise that quality relationships of any kind need to be worked at.
Just as personal relationships shouldn’t be taken for granted, business relationships need to be worked at with consistent effort over time.
Interestingly, few lawyers I’ve ever met who claim to have little time left over after client file activity produce earth-shattering revenues. They should do for the client file time they claim to invest.
On the surface that would suggest considerable inefficiency or waste (or both).
When proper WorkPlans™ are put in place, and monitored with an experienced eye, it always becomes apparent that if some of the waste was eliminated there would be time for reasonable business development effort, and revenues would rise considerably.
More is being expected of the truly rounded lawyer these days, and it behoves those with ambition and real client focus to carefully plan their time allocation so they have time to learn what business development will work best for them and their clients and prospects, and time to consistently implement.
In my view an average of half an hour a day minimum should be set aside by the average lawyer for planned activities, and ten to fifteen minutes a day allowed in their planning for ad hoc opportunities to be pursued as they crop up, and they will.
In each issue I try to introduce comment about a management issue that revolves around “the numbers”.
The short item this issue is a simple heads-up about spreadsheets.
Recently I have encountered various spreadsheets used in firm budgets where the most basic functions of Excel have not been utilised.
Where discrepancies in totals are large enough to draw attention it’s easy enough to check the formula to see that it covers the correct elements. I’m finding totals that have clearly been added up outside the spreadsheet (probably on a calculator) and entered manually!
Sometimes such discrepancies are important but not obvious.
My message herein is a simple one.
Just because something is presented to you in a spreadsheet does not guarantee that the originator knows how to get the best from the software. Do some basic checking yourself, and trust the numbers only when you know you can!
Last issue I addressed this topic…
Pretty much every PMS can deliver what is needed, if set up correctly.
To assist firms to get what they need from their current PMS I’m holding a series of two-hour Intensives with representatives of no more than five firms, to pass on my knowledge of what firms should be getting, and can get, from their systems.
This is an opportunity for firms’ relevant Principals, Managers, Bookkeepers etc. to come along with all their issues and questions, and share experiences about where they’re struggling with their PMS or failing to take full advantage…to help them make real forward progress, and get better value from their present investment.
The first PMS Intensive will be held in Adelaide CBD from 3pm-5pm on Wednesday 30 August 2017, and the second in Sydney CBD on Thursday 7 September from 2.30pm-4.30pm.
To register your interest please just reply to this email with Yes Please (preferred city) in the subject line and we’ll be in touch to make arrangements.
To register your interest for an Intensive in another city in the near future please just reply to this email with Yes Please (Your preferred city) in the subject line and we’ll be in touch to make arrangements.
Lawyers unfortunately have a deserved very poor reputation for being effective marketers.
Their core training doesn’t align well with skills and attitudes needed for good marketing.
To help interested lawyers get on the right track, at KMS we offer a service called KMSMarketingPower™…
For a small fixed fee we will analyse a number of key aspects of the firm’s existing situation and the efforts of the firm in marketing, and point to key areas where we would add things or do things differently if it were our firm.
Our focus will be on areas where firms can learn to generate more of their particular desirable instructions at very reasonable cost.
The advice we give will provide a hard-hitting assessment, and clear guidance for a few simple things the firm could do better, and we provide a telephone conference to discuss any issues arising from our advice, within the fixed investment.
There is no further obligation or pressure to use us to assist beyond the provision of that advice.
To get the ball rolling please just email me and let me have your name and phone contact details, and preferred contact times, and I’ll get back to you promptly.
Since last issue we’ve conducted in-house training on the Business of Law, advised on Practice Management Software, advised on applications for promotion, advised on remuneration reviews, assisted with reviews of SEO efforts, assisted with dozens of WorkPlan reviews for 2017-2018, completed over 100 KMSFeedBacks for July for individual lawyers, reviewed more than sixty draft items of content, mentored Principals, advised on draft advertisements and press releases, assisted firms with extracting better information from their PMS, assisted with firms’ 2017-2018 budgets, and helped a number of firms with refocus of marketing efforts.
If some of this content has been of interest and value for you in your practice, you will find other related content here…
My LinkedIn posts…
KMSWebsite includes an archive of all earlier newsletters…including all issues of “Robservations” and KMSProfitPower Tips back to 1996. www.lawfirmprofit.com
My LinkedIn Discussion Group… Excellent Management In The Small Law Firm