Processes and Procedures: how to have a life and a law firm

Has your law firm created systematized processes and procedures or would all hell break loose if you are away from your office for two weeks?

You should be able to leave your office for 2 weeks or even a month and your firm should still be running smoothly. Money should still be coming in. Work should still be getting done. Your sign-up numbers should still be increasing.

You should be able to leave your office for weeks at a time and know that your firm is operating smoothly and continuing to grow while you are gone, but can you?

Part of what we teach at PILMMA is how to work smarter, and not harder! You should NOT have to be tied to your office for settlements to stay on track, bills to be paid, and sign-ups numbers to keep growing. Your law practice should run like a fine-oiled machine. If it isn’t, YOU are the one that can change all that. No kidding.

You should be able to walk away from your office for weeks at a time and know that things are running smoothly. But how?

The answer:

Policies, Procedures, and Systemization

You need to look at every task that needs to get done in your firm, both large and small; from opening the mail to setting up files, from putting together and sending out settlement brochures, to social media marketing. When I say everything, I mean everything.

But don’t be daunted. This process is not as complicated or time-consuming as you might think. Have each employee who is responsible for a particular task to write down the specific steps involved in getting the task done. If you have multiple case managers, for example, select the one you consider the best at what they do, and have them work with you in creating the procedures for their respective tasks.

You eat an elephant one bit at a time and systemizing your law firm works the same way. For example, commit just one hour a week from each employee to work on this project, then assign someone within the firm to hold each employee accountable for doing so. Before long you will have these vital processes in place.

FIVE BENEFITS FOR HAVING SYSTEMATIZED PROCESSES AND PROCEDURES IN YOUR LAW FIRM:

1) You have peace of mind that when you are away from the office, the work is still getting done and done correctly!

2) Your employees have clarity because they know exactly what they are supposed to be doing. They can also better manage themselves and their workloads because it is all clearly defined and laid out.

3) Training new employees becomes easier and more streamlined.

4) You have clear benchmarks from which to measure employee competence and efficiency. You can eye-ball their checklists, and run reports to see who is doing what.

5) No employee can hold you hostage. You know the scenario: an employee is great at what they do, but they don’t or won’t ever share exactly how they get things done with the other employees, in an attempt to create false job security. If you ask them to train someone on what they do, that new person never really understands what exactly they are supposed to be doing…. Consequently, you are a “hostage” to this one employee; if that star employee leaves the firm or is gone for any length of time; you are left in a lurch.

We can Help: You can create all of your own procedures and systems in-house, or you can hire an outside vendor to help you.

PILMMA believes so strongly in the importance of putting these systems in place that we have licensed special software, called TOUCHSTONE, and have made it available FREE to all of our members.

TOUCHSTONE software already has many practice areas laid out for you, step by step. (Some are the actual policies and procedures that I created myself in my own law firms) They are already there and waiting for you to drag and drop and make your own, or can be a stepping off place for you to build upon.

The truth of the matter is that LIFE is uncertain: You simply never know when circumstances will arise that take you out of the office, sometimes for an indefinite period of time. And anyone who wants to be happy and productive over the long haul also needs to take time away from the office for rest, vacations, time with family, etc.

You need to be able to leave your office and know that things are running smoothly, work is getting done and that your firm is still growing– not just struggling in your absence. But today, as you read this post, can you? If the answer is “No,” you know what to do…..

If you are interested in PILMMA Membership, and the TOUCHSTONE software we make available FREE to ALL of our members, just click here https://www.pilmma.org/. You will be happy you did!

 


About the author

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Tiana Hinnant Hardison

Tiana Hinnant Hardison practiced law for over 27 years, with an emphasis on personal injury and disability law and now focuses her time and energies with PILMMA. You may contact Tiana at tiana@pilmma.org.