Queensland Law Society

Practice support tips

Lost opportunities

Stop procrastinating!

Everyone procrastinates at times, but when it starts affecting your efficiency, productivity and ability to achieve tasks to deadline, you need to take action.

Manage the file to stay within the estimate

Although legal matters are rarely straightforward, and developing an accurate estimate can sometimes seem impossible, failing to keep WIP within the original estimate is one of the most consistent failings of legal practice – leading to either internal write-offs and profitability drains, or alternatively client dissatisfaction and complaints. Clients routinely interpret estimates as quotes and are indeed entitled to expect a final bill to fall within any original estimate.

Beware of being a perfectionist

Solicitors are natural perfectionists, and there are times when this can be of great benefit in terms of high quality work and ensuring all tasks are completed conscientiously.  However, perfectionism can also lead to unhelpful workplace behaviours such as reluctance to delegate, obsessive behavior, paralysis, defensiveness and unproductive time.

Give clients control over costs

Clients don’t just want to be told about costs, they want as much as possible to feel as if they are in control of them.

How to delegate with ACCORD

Accord means ‘be consistent or in harmony with; grant give, agreement, consent’ (Australian Little Oxford Dictionary). Wouldn’t it be good to gain accord when we delegate?

Costs – what clients want

Costs are the most common cause of complaints or dissatisfaction by clients.

Develop your personal brand

Your personal brand is important because in professional services, clients primarily buy from or develop relationships with other people, not organisations (who might also have a ‘brand’).

Fixed fees and commoditisation

Are you charging the wrong sort of fixed fees?

Checking bills

Ensuring efficient billing and ethical and accurate time recording is a responsibility of all supervisors - and this requires a mixture of guidance, training, support and monitoring.

Driving productivity

Improving practice productivity is one of the quickest ways to improve profitability. Recording an extra 15 minutes of billable time each day can increase a typical fee-earners revenue by 5% and profitability by 15% or more.

Get a value proposition

Why should a client come to you rather than anyone else?

Progress and promotion in practice

Is life fair? Not always. Why do some people seem to progress quicker in legal practice than others – even when those others work harder, bill more and do all that’s asked of them?

Become an expert

Being recognised as an ‘expert’ in a specific area of practice or specific type of work is one of the best ways to differentiate yourself from your competitors and attract new business.

Asking for a referral

Most referrals and recommendations work best when they are unforced and in response to the needs of others – when the referrer recognises someone’s need for advice and is happy to recommend you.

Turn the work away!

There are many good reasons for refusing work, including...

10 top tips for boosting productivity

Increasing the number of billable hours recorded and charged by each fee-earner remains one of the key focusses of firms who time cost. Even firms who…

Service TERMS

Professionals often like to think of themselves as selling time or expertise, rather than...

Communicate value

One of the main reasons that clients resist or complain about the level of solicitors' fees is...

Seven deadly sins of profit leakage

How do other firms, who offer similar services and are no better than you, make more money? The answer might be that you are leaking profits…

Convert more opportunities!

How many opportunities for new work slip through your fingers each month? For many practices, this would be substantial, but most lost opportunities go unnoticed...

Manage the supervision burden

With all the demands and requirements on supervision, it could easily become a full-time job if not managed properly. Partners, of course need to earn their own fees in addition…

Manage the ethical and cultural risks of billable hour targets

Recent years have seen a rise in criticism of time costing and billable hour targets, in terms of ethics, practice culture and individual wellbeing. It remains true, however, it’s not your billing system that matters but…

Stay in front of your clients

For most practices, 70-80% of new work comes from referrals, and maintaining and developing client relationships – the most effective way of generating referrals and new business. This requires a disciplined approach, especially in...

It pays to delegate

Delegation is difficult for some partners. They feel they are the only ones who can do the work properly, and end up hoarding too much of the interesting work. This approach leads to reduced profitability and...

Get on LinkedIn!

If you hadn’t already noticed, 2011 was the year that www.linkedin.com stopped being Facebook’s unobtrusive little sister, and became…

Focus on the 5%

Increasing profitability is always a challenge, especially in these tough economic times. Whilst many practices are struggling, it is encouraging to hear of many practices succeeding simply by…

Build your practice’s value

Whilst practices instinctively focus on building profitability, they often neglect to focus on building the value of the practice…

How to offer fixed fees

Whilst many are tempted by a move to fixed fees, understandable caution remains…

Building referrals part 1: Individual referrals

What percentage of your new clients comes to you from referrals? For most mature practices, the percentage is...

Building referrals part 2: Reciprocal institutional/practice referrals

Depending on your area of practice, a high number of your referrals or recommendations will come from...

Effective networking

Networking is one of the most valuable skills and activities for both senior and junior solicitors, but many feel uncomfortable with it – often because they believe...

Do you really provide excellent client service?

If you have already met your billable hours target for the day, here’s a little game you can play...

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