September 2015 Bar Bulletin
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September 2015 Bar Bulletin

Storm Warnings in Your Practice

By Peter Roberts


As I think about the "weather" in a law practice, the conclusion I reach is that sunny weather simply means being adequately organized. Then you are best positioned to meet client deadlines and to respond to the unexpected.

I use the word "adequately" because the need for organization is in proportion to the size and complexity of your firm. I urge you to step back and consider how organized you and your firm are. I do not ask you to be a model of organization. Be open to change and play to your strengths.

Organization means three things: 1. Managing your time; 2. Keeping things in their proper place; and 3. Following a procedure for every task.

Radar Screen

Make a list of all open matters. Take a physical inventory of all of your files to be sure you do not miss any. The column headings on the list (your "radar screen") are "Today's Date," "Client Name," "Matter," "Next Action or "Status," and "Date Closed." You may include columns called "Fees Billed" and "Fees Collected."

Going forward you will add new matters as they are opened. The list is closed at December 31 and a new list started January 1. This list helps you to see the status of your matters and is your agenda for your file review meetings with your staff.

If "Date Closed" remains blank too long, it alerts you to possible overlooked action(s). In January, send out a thank you note to all of the clients you served during the prior year. Ongoing matters are included on the new list as of January 1.

Forecast Never Changes

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