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One of the biggest problems facing attorneys trying to market themselves is finding the time to handle the scheduling and logistics associated with marketing lunches, meetings and other social events. Driven to distraction by constant interruptions, difficult staffing issues and demanding clients, most attorneys don’t or won’t take the time to do what it takes. Many attorneys are good at marketing when placed in the right situations; however, getting them there is the problem. Making phone calls with contacts often involves a lot of phone tag, calendaring client development events takes time, planning the basic logistics of marketing is distracting. As a rule, attorneys aren’t very good at the initiation phase of marketing. ...

If you don’t accept payment forms beyond cash or check, you’re losing money. It's obvious that the world of payments is changing rapidly. And for law firms that have been set in their ways for years, demanding payment via traditional checks or cash, it's time to consider other forms of payment acceptance immediately. Some firms and attorneys choose to ignore technology and change altogether, hoping it will just away—but, I guarantee you, it won’t....

If you’re like most attorneys, at the end of a long day at the office, all you want to do is get home to your family and relax. You want to take it easy, especially at the end of a long week. All too often, however, you can’t relax. There are dishes in the sink, dirty clothes that need washing, and a carpet that looks like it hasn’t seen a vacuum in weeks. After a long day at work, you still have a long day ahead of you at home. As a law firm owner, you’ve hired and trained staff for key positions that keep your practice humming — from a receptionist to a client intake specialist, from a paralegal to a team leader for document drafting. There’s one position you might not have considered, however, that could really increase your productivity at work and the amount of quality time you spend with your family: a domestic assistant. I know what you’re thinking: There’s no way I can afford to hire someone to help manage my household errands and projects. I say there’s no way you can’t afford to hire a domestic assistant. Doing so will free up time for you to be...

You’ll never be able to successfully manage your time until you develop a proactive approach to managing interruptions. In our book, Time Management for Attorneys: A Lawyer’s Guide to Decreasing Stress, Eliminating Interruptions and Getting Home on Time, we present strategies for avoiding interruptions altogether, give you some tips for handling them and help you identify the sources of the interruptions in your office. Here’s an excerpt that will help you handle your biggest interrupters (hint: the source of your worst interruptions may be closer than you think)....

You only get one chance to make a first impression — so make it a good one. What's true in meeting someone new is also true for your law firm — so make your online presence a good one. When a potential client is searching for a law firm, they'll likely do a Google search for lawyers in their area. Your firm has only a few seconds to grab someone's attention and hold it, so making a good first impression is key. Your website should be clean and clear, with easy links to information a potential client is looking for. Designs can vary, but too many bells and whistles on the homepage creates noise in the message you’re trying to convey to a potential client. Simple is better. Display your credentials prominently, including where you earned your JD. A few statistics about your practice can be mentioned, such as how many estate plans you’ve set up, or how many criminal cases you have won. Again, simple is better, and include a link to more detailed information. You'll likely have a photo of you and your associates on the homepage, so make sure it's a quality professional photo, not something your secretary took with her...

An advocate for women lawyers, Nora Riva Bergman, an Atticus Certified Practice Advisor and Attorney, continues her 50 Lessons for Lawyers series with a new book, 50 Lessons for Women Lawyers — From Women Lawyers. The book contains lessons and stories for women at every stage of their law careers. “As women lawyers, there is so much we can learn from each other,” Bergman says. “I think that we are at an inflection point in the legal profession. We are at a place where women can have a tremendously positive influence on the practice and business of law. If a woman reads a lesson in this book and thinks to herself, ‘That’s me,’ or, ‘If she can do that, so can I,’ that would be awesome.” Atticus Clients Contributed The book — which includes stories from 11 current and past Atticus clients — is filled with practical advice for women attorneys, covering topics such as carving your own path to leadership, and wellness and self-care. Bergman’s book is centered around the idea that women, especially successful women, should lift up other women. The diverse group of contributors includes women in private and public practice, current and former national, state and local bar association presidents,...

Recent studies show that most people in the workplace spend 28% of their day dealing with unnecessary interruptions of all kinds. Some are self-generated; some come from co-workers and colleagues and some originate from a disruptive environment. No matter where they come from, though, we spend a great deal of time complaining about them. In fact, if you listen to what people say about interruptions you’d believe they were the sole reason for the lack of productivity and focus that is rampant in today's workplace. Of course, what we say about something is often very different from what we do about it. And this very much applies to managing interruptions. If you watch people's behavior, very few people actively resist being interrupted. It could be they don’t know what to say or do to resist being interrupted. Or maybe they don't want to seem inaccessible. Or maybe they don't want to appear out of touch and not monitoring many things at once. The reasons vary, but the fact remains – most of us allow ourselves to be interrupted constantly. And then we complain about it. Loudly. Could it be, that on some subconscious level, we actually like to be interrupted? Yes. New studies confirm...

What we say: There's never enough hours in the day. What we mean: I’m really poor at managing my time. Time management is one of the pillars of creating and sustaining a profitable law practice, but controlling the work clock isn't an innate human skill. Babies and toddlers and young children have no sense of time, and that's true of millions and millions of adults, too. Distractions are everywhere. The phone, the computer, the shiny thing over in the corner. Our days are filled with distractions, and we often find ourselves switching from one distraction to another while what we should be focusing on is ignored. Here at Atticus we know how hard it can be to stay on task, but there are things you can do to make you a better time manager. When you get into the office each morning, make it a point to get your email inbox to zero. Think of it as triage and use the "Four D" approach: do, delay, delegate or delete. If it's something that needs to be done today, do it. If time isn't of the essence, delay it. If someone else can do it, delegate it. And if it's an offer for the latest gadget...

“Are you the biggest producer in your firm?” we asked. “Absolutely,” the attorney told us with pride. He was a new Atticus client, but this was not a new conversation for us. In fact, it was all too familiar: the owners of most small firms are typically the firm’s largest producers, along with the firm’s biggest marketers. Then they wedge the firm’s many management tasks into any time that’s left – meaning they don’t have much of a personal life. And the fact that they are not well leveraged means they aren’t producing much of a profit either. “How many associates do you have?” we asked. “Two, but they aren’t that productive. In fact, I out bill them both,” he answered – again with a hint of pride. “Do they have daily or weekly billing goals?” “No, but they do have yearly billing goals,” he said. We expected as much. “How effective is that at motivating them?” He paused and said, “Not very good, I guess.” Not very good indeed. In order to train good producers, it’s best to take their large production goals and break them down into small goals, which are reviewed often. Large goals discussed once a year tend to fade away in the minds of...