Even though the Holidays are a time of cheer, law firm management during the holidays can cause more stress than usual. The holidays come every year and yet, many law firms find themselves scrambling to manage staff, time off, and client communication. This is why it’s important to have a plan in place for how law firms will manage their practices during the holiday season. 

By following these 10 tips for law firm management during the holidays, lawyers and staff will be able to enjoy the season without letting anything fall through the cracks or lose momentum. 

1. Plan Time Off

Hopefully, your firm is planning on taking several days off during the holiday season. After all, everyone has definitely earned a break after surviving 2021. The most important thing about taking time off is to plan it out so everyone knows what to expect of the firm. If the firm hasn’t put out a holiday calendar already, now is the time to do so. 

Be precise with the time your firm will be closed and the availability of key players. If the office will be closed for half a day on Christmas Eve, note it. Don’t assume anyone knows unless you tell them. 

2. Communicate Holiday Hours to Clients and Colleagues

Once the holiday calendar is set, be sure that it’s well communicated in all correspondence as well as on the firm’s social media accounts and online listings. Holiday hours should be posted by the front door if you have an office and also updated on phone recordings and websites. 

3. Wrap Up Loose Ends and Give Updates

In order for lawyers and clients to be able to relax and enjoy the holidays, be sure all loose ends are wrapped up and that all clients receive an update on their cases before taking a break. A simple call or email to give a brief update on upcoming court dates or milestones will go a long way for all involved. 

4. Order Holiday Gifts ASAP

While it’s certainly not a requirement to send gifts to colleagues and clients, be sure to order them immediately if you plan to send any out. Shipping will be severely delayed this season and costs will be increased over last year. 

Also, make sure that everyone is aware of the policies regarding gifts for the legal industry. Most gifts to anyone involved in government contracts are not allowed. The last thing anyone needs during the holidays is to be suspended for the appearance of bribing officials. 

5. Send Holiday Greetings

While there are certain regulations a firm should be aware of for gifts, there are none when it comes to sending a simple holiday card from your firm. Consider having everyone at the firm personally sign the cards and, when possible, include a personal message to the recipient. This is always a nice touch and it makes the client or colleague feel cared for. 

6. Plan a Holiday Party (Or Don’t)

When it comes to celebrating the season with staff, most would prefer a gift card or bonus to a holiday party. However, if your firm will be throwing a party, be sure that it’s planned in advance and that everyone is aware that they’re invited and if they’re allowed a plus-one. The party shouldn’t compete with the traditional times for family gatherings (such as Christmas Eve) and should be held at a location that’s as convenient for everyone as possible. 

The most important thing to remember about holiday parties is that they’re not the time or place to overdrink or display any kind of inappropriate behavior. Keep drinking to a minimum to avoid embarrassing moments at the water cooler in the New Year. 

7. Spend Extra on Paid Advertising and Automate Lead Generation

Some firms don’t think about advertising during the holidays and it could put them at a disadvantage. Many people are online while they’re sitting at home during the holiday season. This is a prime opportunity to increase the firm’s budget for paid advertising and lead generation. 

Advertising on Facebook and other social media outlets during the holidays is a smart move when it comes to narrowing in on a given demographic. Budget dollars are spent precisely and accurately with plenty of data given in return for analysis. 

Beyond social media, taking advantage of lead generation and paid advertising during the holidays is a proactive way to get ahead on campaigns and bring in new clients. Automating the lead generation process with custom intake forms makes it easy to capture and store prospective client information. It takes time to see results from paid advertising so now is a great time to start investing to ensure 2022 is a profitable year for the firm. 

8. Hire a Virtual Assistant

If you’re a solo practitioner or manage a small law firm, your key to law firm management during the holidays may be a virtual assistant who can cover communications and scheduling while you’re away. With this kind of help, the firm only pays for what is needed and the assistant can take many tasks off of the lawyer’s agenda. If they prove to be invaluable then keep them on after the New Year, if not, you’re under no obligation and can terminate the contract. 

9. Give Back to the Community

The holidays are the season of giving so finding a way to give back to the community will not only bring cheer to the recipients but also the giver. Whether you gather your staff to volunteer at a soup kitchen, host a toy drive in the office, or sponsor a family in need, this is a great way for the firm to come together and give back to the community. 

10. Enjoy the Holiday Season

The final tip is simple: enjoy the holiday season! Lawyers are notorious for being workaholics and tied to their phones so when you choose to take time off for the holidays, really take it off and disconnect. Put the phone away, mute notifications, save the emails for later and enjoy the time spent with loved ones. 

Managing a law firm is enough to keep one up at night and work the phones during the day. However, there’s a time and place for everything and the holidays are certainly a time for rest and reflection as one year comes to a close and another one begins. Happy Holidays!