Around the new year, many law firms become motivated to set or reevaluate goals, plan for the year ahead, and improve current processes. Unfortunately, time moves quickly. The new year may slip away, but spring is another great time to realign your law firm goals, evaluate what went well or needs improvement, streamline operations, and get a “fresh start” for the rest of the year.
Law firms should take advantage of spring cleaning and use it to freshen up and realign law firm goals.
Law Firm Goals Review
Before law firms can make major “spring cleaning” changes, they should check in on the goals set for the new year. Spring is on the verge of a new quarter, so it’s good for law firms to check in with the goals that were set in the new year and the performance of the first quarter.
If the law firm is on track to reach goals by the end of the year, excellent! If not, this is a time to reevaluate needs, priorities, and goals, and get a pulse on the status of the firm’s health as a whole.
Ideally, the year began with SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound). These goals are clear and measurable, meaning they’re easy to assess and evaluate.
The key to SMART goals is measurement. Though it may seem obvious, law firms must measure their goals to see if they’re on track to reach the desired outcome, and what can be adjusted to put the firm in a better position to succeed.
Whether large or small, law firms of all sizes need a functional website to grow and evolve. Websites can become outdated quickly, impacting a law firm’s brand and reputation.
Websites should get a refresh regularly, but if a law firm has grown or made major changes in the past year, an update is a must. Perhaps there’s a new practice area or new office for the firm, or a revision to aspects of the brand like the logo or mission statement.
No matter the change, this is an excellent opportunity for law firms to revamp the website and ensure it accurately reflects the brand.
A law firm’s records are important for tracking financial activity and transactions. Without clear and accurate books, a law firm can’t make sound business decisions about the future of the firm or its financial health.
Spring is a good time for law firms to “deep clean” the books. They should review the files and accounts, cancel unused subscriptions, and organize receipts and records. While it may be early in the year, there are things your firm can do to prepare for the end-of-year frenzy. Now is the time to evaluate your need and future goals for the remaining of the year. A law practice management solution, like PracticePanther, offers streamlined billing and online payments, and reporting, making record cleanup a simple, straightforward, and fast process. This not only helps with the spring overhaul, but firms can monitor their books more easily throughout the year.
Like goals, marketing strategies need to be evaluated and revamped regularly to stay ahead. Spring offers an opportunity for law firms to refresh marketing strategies and see what’s working (and what isn’t) to develop more effective solutions.
What worked in the past may not work this year, so law firms should consider changes in the new year like:
- New marketing trends
- Social media account updates
- Automated email template updates
- New SEO best practices
- Site audits
- Marketing analytics and KPIs
All firms need marketing, no matter how small or simple the firm or its business development. PracticePanther simplifies tracking your marketing strategy success with features such as legal CRM to keep track of and tag leads based on a custom source.
Busy law firms can amass a lot of old files, documents, spam, and client correspondence in a physical or email inbox. Left unchecked, the inbox can become disorganized, overwhelming, and more difficult to tackle in a reasonable length of time.
Cleaning the inbox is always time-consuming, but law firms should set aside time in the schedule to completely clean out the inbox (both physical and digital) to bring it back to a “clean slate.”
This is also a good time for law firms to do some additional digital cleanup, such as deleting old files and folders from the computer, updating apps and programs, and running a cleaner program to remove all the “junk” that can slow an operating system down.
Fee Agreement Updates
Fee agreements are ripe for problems with compliance. In the spring, law firms should review and revise fee agreements to ensure they’re still in compliance with the local jurisdiction’s ethical rules. This is especially true if the law firm has added a new practice area in the past year.
Other changes can prompt an update of the fee agreement, such as changes to the forms of payment the law firm accepts, file destruction policies, and more.
Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Status Check
Compliance reporting comes up quickly, and if a law firm isn’t prepared, it can be a mad dash to get everything together. Even if the deadline isn’t until the end of the year, it’s best for law firms to use the spring-cleaning period to check the CLE status.
If the state requires reporting of all courses, and some certificates are available, they can be sent in early. If the state is self-reporting, the certificates should be organized in preparation for a possible audit. It’s important that the certificates are backed up, such as with a cloud-based digital storage solution.
Law firms have a lot of technology at their fingertips, whether in an all-in-one practice management solution or individual apps and subscriptions. All of this can add up, especially if certain apps or features aren’t used enough to make it worthwhile.
Along with the rest of the spring cleanup, law firms should take stock of all technology expenses for the firm and evaluate which options are beneficial. For example, the firm may have tried a subscription service or app on a trial basis (which has since shifted to paid) that no one uses. These costs can slip through the cracks, especially if they’re small.
PracticePanther all-in-one law practice management software eliminates the need for costly subscriptions by keeping many operations in-house. Your firm can process online payments with our built-in payments processor, send documents for signature with native eSignature, and even send text messages to clients with 2-way business text messaging without leaving the platform.
Realign Your Law Firms Goals Now for a Successful Year
Spring has sprung, and there’s no better time for law firms to clean up, organize, declutter, and upgrade. To learn more about how PracticePanther can give your firm’s processes a modern refresh, keep you aligned with your SMART goals and keep you organized, you can schedule a custom demo to see our industry-leading features like automated workflows, document management, and more in action.