In the competitive field of law, having a streamlined process for client intake and engagement is not just a luxury - it's a necessity.
And two of the vital tools you need in alignment within your arsenal are your website and your law practice intake software. Let’s face it, as attorneys, we understand the importance of precision and efficiency. Just as you plan forward to advocate for your clients or strategize to win cases to achieve the results they need, your approach to client intake and ongoing marketing engagement should be equally methodical and efficient. This is where the combined approach of building a robust website and optimizing your law practice management software come into play.
Before diving into the how, let's consider the why behind the importance of a streamlined process. Streamlining your client intake and engagement processes will allow you to:
Your website is often the first point of contact between your firm and potential clients. You need for your website to be easy to navigate, accessible, and able to provide a clear path to action. Whether that's filling out a contact form, scheduling a consultation, or accessing resources; you want to show your potential clients the next step to take.
Many attorneys miss out on the fact that they are in a key position when a potential client is searching for information to provide informative content that establishes your expertise and encourages visitors to reach out. This might include blog posts, FAQs, or downloadable guides. It could also include interactive features such as chatbots, interactive forms, and appointment scheduling capabilities to engage visitors and prompt action.
While it starts with your website, it does not end there. The simultaneous step is to optimize your law practice management software. This is the backbone of your firm's operational efficiency. We know you may have questions on how to leverage its full potential and want you to consider:
Don’t forget that this is not a “set it and forget it” process. To make the most of these tools for your law firm, you want to ensure that every member of your team is well-trained and that you regularly review and refine your processes. As technology evolves and client expectations change, so too should your approach to client intake and engagement.
In a world where clients expect speed, transparency, and convenience, streamlining your client intake and engagement processes is not just about staying competitive, it's about redefining the standard of service in the legal industry. By effectively leveraging your website and law practice management software, you can transform these expectations into opportunities, building a more responsive, efficient, and client-centered practice.
As you reflect on your firm's current processes, ask yourself: are you streamlining your client intake and engagement for success? Do you need help? If you have questions about your marketing and your law practice management technology, we encourage you to contact us and book your free 30 minute Strategy Session to discuss your practice needs with our expert team!
There could be a multitude of reasons why you are leaving your current software program for another. Whether you are leaving for more streamlined services, better monthly prices, and the overall look, there are still a couple of other housekeeping rules to consider.
1.Getting the staff on board
Your staff needs to know if you are strongly considering making a change in programs. It gives them time to prepare and adjust to change. They could even provide their insight from an employee perspective on changes that come with switching software programs.
2.Organizing data before the switch
Know what data you want versus what you do not. Gathering data from years and years of service can be daunting but it is absolutely necessary. You may find that there is data you do not need to bring over. This also gives you and your staff an opportunity to become better organized with materials and processes.
3. Implementing the change
Yes! Okay, we got the staff on board and the software is in our hands. It can be scary dipping your toes into a new program or a new anything. Give yourself and the staff time to adjust and make room for improvement. Be intentional about working together and learning from each other during this time of fine tuning.
So, while there are many considerations to think about, you do not have to do it alone! There are many ways to go about informing your staff for support, organizing firm/client information, and implementing it all. Here at Practice42, we can help to tailor your materials and processes to best suit your needs. Let us help! We encourage you to call us at 850-933-5072 to schedule a free Strategy Session with our team to find out more about what we can do for you.
You look around you and see that some attorneys seem to be thriving while others seem more to be just surviving. It can be frustrating to look at those around you and wonder just what they are doing to get the results YOU WANT! You may find yourself asking, “what sets those who get stuck in the day to day drudgery from the successful attorney leaders?”
Believe it or not, this is one of the most frequently asked questions at Practice42. Let us take a look at 6 habits of attorneys who excel in the professional field.
1. They put in the work. Let’s say that again, THEY PUT IN THE WORK. Often it is either first thing in the morning or late at night. This might not be the tip you hoped to see on this list, but here it is. Putting in the work before the office opens or after it closes, or alone on the weekends and on the holidays, can be essential to succeeding as an attorney practice leader. It is the time when the phone is not necessarily ringing nonstop. Email traffic goes down to a minimum. Distractions of a seemingly ever-growing to-do list are never lower than at these times of the day. Take advantage of this and reap the benefits of starting or ending your day by checking off some of those things you have been meaning to do, but never get around to doing during the day.
2. They pay themselves and take time off. This sounds crazy, we know, but taking care of yourself can be an essential part of being an effective leader. Energy stores can be quickly depleted and charging your batteries must happen from time to time. Pay yourself for the work you put in. Take those vacation days. Treat yourself to these periods of renewal so you can get back to work with a clear head, a fresh perspective, and the drive to take on that to-do list.
3. They have a handle on the data they need. How are you tracking employee productivity? Tracking marketing ROI? Do you have an effective and efficient way of tracking firm costs and workflow? Having a handle on this kind of data means you know what is working and what is not working in your organization. Does there seem to be a barrier to growth? Look to the data and it will likely be there to highlight potential bottlenecks.
4. They have a mission and use it as a touchstone each and every day. Starting each day (and each week, month, and quarter) by reviewing your to-do list from the vantage point of how it serves your professional goals and practice’s mission can help keep you on track and continue to push you forward. It will help you prioritize your tasks and make sure those items with the highest return on investment get the attention they deserve.
5. They continue to find ways to evolve and improve. The mastering of a profession or practice is elusive as the world is ever growing and ever changing around us. Successful attorney practice leaders invest in pursuing professional and personal growth. Take the time to focus on the areas that are integral to not just sustaining success, but growing success and invest your energy in cultivating them.
6. They remember that success is multifaceted. Professional success and personal success are not mutually exclusive and this is something successful attorneys come to understand. Working hard and living a well-rounded life are both important and can both be achieved through effective time management and prioritization of goals. Although it may not feel like it at times, being professionally successful and living a fulfilling life of time spent with loved ones and on the hobbies that you are passionate about is possible!
We get it, along with the challenges you face. This is just one way in which a performance coach can help you create a firm culture that people want to be a part of and stay a part of. Whether you are looking for a mentor coach or a performance coach, Practice42 has your back. Our coaching programs are specially designed to meet your needs and help you work through your challenges so you can reach your full practice potential. Let us help you grow and succeed! Call us to schedule a free Strategy Session at 850-933-5072 or fill out our Contact Us Form and we will call you!
Do you remember when Google My Business was simply Google Maps? And then it added photos… and reviews… and wanted you to participate weekly… and added rankings?!? We know! This strategic marketing campaign, which must be a part of your local marketing efforts, seems to be evolving at a breakneck pace.
First of all, we hope you claimed your GMB profile. If you did not, you need to do this ASAP to avoid a “helpful” Google Local Guide, who hates lawyers, doing it for you. If you have not taken this critical initial step to protect your business, or need advice on this, we recommend you contact us today.
Second, has your Google My Business been stressing you out since you claimed it? While maintaining your business listing is important to staying relevant in the Google universe, we know managing it can be stressful. Many lawyers share with us that they struggle to access accounts, verify business listings, combat fake / negative / unfair / biased reviews, and much more.
Let us focus on reviews here and share a few different steps you can take for Google My Business help.
1. Check your state bar rules. What does your state bar say about reviews? Does it tell you how to respond? What you should or shouldn't say in your response? Is it silent? This is the first step to take.
2. Respond to the review. Even if it does not reflect your firm, especially when it does not reflect your firm, you want to respond. With the advice of your bar association that guides you on how you can proceed, write your answer internally first. Good or bad, do not respond emotionally and remember to only disclose what ensures you maintain privacy with your client. Be sure to also use this as a marketing opportunity. Share with clients and prospects how they can contact you and how you can help.
If it is a negative review and you believe it should be taken down, be sure to flag it. Use the platform itself to let GMB know if this review is not appropriate.
3. Want to do more? Especially for a less than 3 star review? Make a call to Google My Business support. Yes, the wait times can be long. Yes, the phone number can be difficult to find. As of the publishing of this article, it is 1-844-491-9665 Getting an actual Google My Business support team member on the line, however, can end up being an efficient way to get the assistance you need.
4. Take to Twitter. Like almost all platforms and businesses, Google takes its social media presence and reputation very seriously. Tweet @GoogleMyBiz about your questions and concerns and you should get a personalized response from a Google team member in about 30 minutes.
5. Send Google My Business a Facebook message. You can send the Google My Business Facebook page a direct message and you should hear back within 30 minutes or so.
6. Make use of the email support form. While you may not get an immediate response, it may take up to a day to hear back, you can always make use of the Google My Business email support form on their webpage. This can be a good way to get help when you may not have a more immediate need for answers.
7. Hire us! At Practice42, we can help you educate your clients on why reviews are another key form of education for others and maximize your Google My Business reviews presence. Do not forget that GMB is just one of the places you need reviews. We can do this for you, as well as monitoring your reviews, so we can step in and provide you with the answers you need when it comes to your reviews without needing to pull out your hair from the stress of it all.
Do you need Google My Business help? What about other social media platforms? Are you finding it difficult to access your reviews or respond to your reviews? Need the website architecture in place to pull it all together? The Practice42 Team is here to help! Call us to schedule a free Strategy Session at 850-933-5072 or fill out our Contact Us Form and we will call you!
This scam is so prevalent right now, this is just one of the reasons why I think it’s so important to raise awareness of it. First and foremost, this is almost certainly a scam. There are only a small handful of ways it could be an actual threat, which we will discuss a bit later here. Regardless, we know as lawyers the way to sue someone is not through a filtered email.
Nonetheless, it's a terrifying email to receive.
We don’t want to make light of the fact that the licenses, privacy, and usage rights incorporated into the materials you use do matter. It is incumbent on each of us to know we have the legal right to use what we put on our print and integrated digital media collateral. If you don’t know, that is the first step here. You need to be absolutely sure that you own your content or have a right to use it in the format that you choose to use it in.
Let’s dive in and address three key things you need to know right now as it relates to this scam.
1. You cannot use images you don’t own. To follow up on the above statement, take a minute this weekend to read the terms and conditions surrounding the images you use. What does the license say? Do you have the absolute right to use them how you see fit? If not, what are the limitations?
Further, are you working with a marketing company? It is time to ask it important questions. What does your contract say with the marketing agency? If this claim proves to be true, where is the blame? Is it on you? The agency? Does the agency have a plan to address issues like this? You need to know where you stand.
2. You need to know the terms and conditions surrounding the images that you use. Contrary to popular belief, you can’t just download something from the internet. Just because something exists on Google or Yahoo or Facebook or Bing, does not mean you have the right to use it. Do you have a public license? Do you have a business license? For print, do you have a redistribution license, and for how many publications?
3. You need to stop responding to email that is going to subject you to ransomware or other cyberattack. When you read this email, concerning as it is to receive, you probably knew deep down it was a scam. What did you do next, though? Did you react? Did you respond? Did you contact the person? Or did you report it to the authorities? The latter is the only step to take here. If you need to who to report it to, just ask us. The main players are the FBI Cybercrimes Division, your state’s Attorney General’s Office, and the Better Business Bureau.
This is just the first part of this conversation. We plan to send out an email next week too with our ABCs of Cyber Security as it seems a very appropriate time to dive into as a cyber refresher. We are also putting together an updated Cyber Threats Webinar and will let you know the date and time. Stay tuned!
Here at Practice42, we can help to tailor your materials and processes to best suit your needs. Let us help! We encourage you to call us at 850-933-5072 to schedule a free Strategy Session with our team to find out more about what we can do for you.
We are now in a digital law practice era where there are rapid technological advances which can be overwhelming for many. There are new products that are released everyday, on top of the information that follows. Whether you stay up on the latest news sources or testing new products, you may think you are never going to cover it all.
You will not.
No one can.
And let us start by reassuring you. It is alright.
It is so easy to become lost in the vast world of information and products that we often forget what is truly best for us and our team. Once we see or hear something new that worked for someone else, we want to run with it. We want it to work immediately, and easily.
Often, we launch this new idea with no forethought. There is no time for discussion, second opinions, or taking a moment to consider if it is right for the practice. Of course, there is nothing wrong with getting recommendations from others. There is nothing wrong with “throwing something up” but, you know as well as we do, this strategy can be fraught with challenges. Just because the process or software or shiny new distraction was a success story for one firm, does not mean it will be a success story for all.
We can learn from others while also taking into consideration that it is going to most likely be a different journey. Keep an open mind about differing opinions, whether they are from referrals, colleagues, or clients. You will find as you listen that many will think one product or service may be significantly better than another. Take the time to think about the key question that drives our law practices:
What do you need and what do you not need from a product or service you are considering?
This will then allow you to narrow down exactly what you are looking for in a new digital law practice era where almost anything is attainable.
Here at Practice42, we can help you find the bottlenecks in your practice areas, find processes that are right for you, and attain goals you thought were not possible. So, while there are many considerations to think about, you do not have to do it alone! Let us help! Call us at 850-933-5072 or fill out our contact us form to schedule a complimentary Strategy Session.
Do you know your ABCs? Not the ones you learned in grade school, but the ones surrounding cybersecurity that can protect your practice. Ready to relearn them? Let’s begin!
Always read, learn, and understand what is required of you in your cybersecurity insurance policy. Many lawyers today still do not read the fine print when it comes to the legal insurance policies. Do not forget to read the fine print of your cybersecurity insurance policy to learn what you need to do to ensure it works.
Bar rules related to cybersecurity and cyber ethics matter. Know your bar rules.
Cybersecurity defined: “Cybersecurity is the measures taken to protect a computer or computer system (as on the Internet) against unauthorized access or attack.” (Merriam-Webster)
Data ethics and your firm. Train your team to understand data ethics. The information you hold is a person, and how would they want their mother treated? Further, data collection policies should reflect the data you actually need, not what you don’t. Consider all data you collect subject to vulnerability and at risk of being stolen. Do you still want it?
Email is always a risk. Create team trainings to help your team understand what the risks are and teach them how to protect the firm. If you need help, hire a professional for the trainings.
Fire drills can help! Do not wait for a problem to know your setup works. Act as if there has been an attack on your practice and bring in your team and your IT professional to learn where the vulnerabilities are.
Get the help you need. We are lawyers. This is not easy. Hire a paid professional, learn what you need to protect yourself, and stay vigilant.
Hire the help you need. Whether it is an employee, a contractor, or a company you want to outsource to, identify and hire who you need in your practice. Do not wait for a crisis to happen.
Install back up and redundant servers and file protections. Test them. Make sure they work.
Just do it. This is an overused phrase, I know. But many of us need that additional push out the door to make a difference in our practices, consider this yours.
Keep an eye out for weird things. Slow computers, zombie computers, misspelled words, unusual file extensions, talking computers…if you start to see this, call your IT professional.
Logins, passwords, and access codes are vulnerabilities. Protect them the best you can. Follow industry best practices, such as sentence structure or a password company, to best protect your access to important information.
Maintain a strong relationship with a local IT professional. Period.
Never leave devices unattended or unsupervised or password unprotected. Threats and breaches occur even in the safest ecosystem. Do not open the door to potentially dangerous activity. Have a cleaning staff in your building? Lock down your devices at night. Meeting with clients in a conference room? Lock down your devices before you leave the room.
Opening attachments should always be an action of LAST RESORT. Find a different way to share data. Train your employees and yourself to never open attachments. That is one of the easiest ways for a cybercriminal to attack you.
Partner with your clients. Cybersecurity breaches are not a matter of IF, they are a matter of WHEN. Tell your clients of the risk. Explain it to them. Ask them to acknowledge it and agree to it. The ones who want to work with you will work with you regardless.
Quietness is not a virtue when it comes to cybercrimes. If you see something, say something. If you even barely suspect something, speak up and get help.
Read, read, read. Read, learn, and understand what is required of you in your cybersecurity insurance policy. Many lawyers today still do not read the fine print when it comes to legal insurance policies. Do not forget to read the fine print of your cybersecurity insurance policy to learn what you need to do to ensure it works.
Safeguard protected and private data. Take measures to protect the data you use in your law firm. You have some of the most vital data for each of your clients. Be careful to protect it thoroughly.
Train your team. As with every area of your practice, your team will not know how to best protect you and cannot be its most productive if you do not train them. Make the commitment.
Up to date software is a MUST HAVE. Only get your updates from trusted sources.
VPNs are your best friend. You need a VPN on all your devices. It is an easy layer of security to add. This is especially important if you work on a device that may not be in your ecosystem such as unsecure hotel Wi-Fi at conferences. Wi-Fi networks should never be unsecured. It may be “just general lobby Wi-Fi” but there is no such thing. Access to your Wi-Fi is access to your Wi-Fi, no matter what label you put on it.
Xenolalia may seem farther away than it actually is. The more you train yourself on the tech you need the more natural it will become for you, and you will find yourself speaking the foreign language of technology before you know it.
You. This all starts with you. You could make the commitment to do whatever you need to do to succeed in this area, or not. It is up to you. It is your practice.
Zero regrets. When you are the victim of a cyber attack, that is where you want to be. Do not waste time. Get started. Learn what you need to do. Get help. Choose to make smart answers to tough questions. After all, it is your practice, protect it.
We understand that you may have questions, serious questions, when it comes to cyber security, employment practices related to cyber security, and how to best protect yourself, your practice, and your clients. We are here to help. We build successful law practices nationwide. Do not wait to schedule a free 30 minute strategy session so we can discuss how to best support you in your practice.
Have you considered starting your own practice? The pull towards being your own boss, making the decisions on how the firm is run, and being able to decide which cases you take on can be strong and can, some days more than others, be extremely appealing. It is, however, an endeavor that you should thoughtfully consider.
Are you ready to take the plunge and open your own practice? We help so many attorneys who are in your exact same boat, let us help. In our blog here we want to review some questions to ask yourself first.
1. What are your goals? Having a clear vision of your goals will serve you well in this undertaking. These will act as guideposts for all of the major and minor decisions you will make as you establish your practice. Why are you starting your own practice? How will your firm be different from others? Set your sights on your business mission and development. Do you have a specific vision for it? This can be essential to setting up your firm for success.
2. Are you financially ready? Dreaming is free, but opening a firm costs money. Before you can make those dreams of having your own firm come true, you need to make sure you have your finances in order.
First, how are you going to fund the startup costs associated with setting up your practice? Lay out the expenses you are going to need to cover up front. This may include insurances, fees, office space, office furniture, support staff, marketing costs, and more. Get a clear idea of what it is going to cost you to open up your firm, how much you will need as a cushion prior to your firm generating revenue, and how you are going to cover these costs.
Second, what do you need to live on and support yourself. We see too many attorneys, new and established, forget to pay themselves. We do not want you to be one of those attorneys. Even if your salary goals are small to start, such as just covering your mortgage payment, it is important to create the healthy habit of paying yourself in your monthly overhead.
3. Do you have the support you need? A supportive team can be critical in establishing your own firm, but not always tied to those physically in your firm. Although you may want to hire first, you may need a guide first. Especially when you are a DIY-er.
Surround yourself with those that are going to coach you, support you, and guide you through the exciting, but overwhelming process of opening your own practice. Do you have a mentor? Do you have a strategic performance coach? Having someone who has gone through establishing a law practice, as well as someone you can bounce ideas off of as you go through the process yourself, can provide you with guidance and an overall feeling of confidence as you make important decisions.
You do not and should not go this alone. Get the support you need to make your practice the success you want it to be.
At Practice42, we help set law firms up for success. From working with you to get a clear vision of your goals to providing support and mentorship, we can help guide you through the process of not just setting up your own firm, but setting it up to thrive. We encourage you to schedule a free Strategy Session with our team to find out more about what we can do for you.
When the entrepreneurial spirit is high, you may find yourself bursting at the seams to open your own law practice. It is an exciting time, but not the time to move forward without taking care of many important tasks first. Trust us, we know. We build successful law practices, and while we know the journey is different for every attorney, there are steps we can take to ensure long-term success.
As you move closer and closer to opening your business, be mindful of these 7 tips you should make sure that you address first:
1. Do your research. Before opening your law practice, know the industry first. This means knowing your market. Being aware of your competitors and what will set you apart from them. Be thorough in your demographic study as a part of this investigation to know what playing field you are getting into.
2. Know your audience. Do you have a clear picture of your target demographic? Can you describe your Client Avatar for your Practice Areas? Who will be needing your services? How will you help? Having answers to these questions can be essential to many aspects of your business, marketing efforts included. Defining your market means that you can better zero in on who you need to reach and retain for your client or customer base.
3. Set your mission and make it strong. Have you developed a mission statement for your law practice? You may have thought about it, but putting it down into writing, into something concrete can be beneficial to helping ensure you have your guiding principles in order. Your mission statement will be your guidepost. It will be the touchstone you can always go back to whenever you are faced with an important decision, and you will be faced with many.
4. Detail your finances. How clear are you on your financial situation? The more detailed you are about your finances, the better. Be scrupulous in your outline of startup costs, as well as how you plan to cover them. Nothing can tank a new firm like failure to plan for costs, both expected and unexpected.
5. Make a business plan. Much like your mission, you may have thought about how your law practice will be structured, managed, and run. Now is the time to put it all in writing. Outline the steps you will need to take to get your business off the ground. How will you foster consistent and sustainable growth? Include your mission statement and what services your firm will provide in your business plan, as well as the industry and market research you have conducted. Your plan should also detail your financials and your financial goals.
6. Get a mentor. When questions and concerns arise, do you have someone you can turn to for advice or just someone to act as a sounding board? Find a mentor, a professional coach, and ideally, one who is a lawyer and knows the challenges you are facing. This person can provide you with more support than you may initially anticipate.
Especially as your success grows, it can be lonely at the top and when you own your own law practice. Shifting into a focused training path with a performance coach can be a real game changer to know that you have someone to turn to for advice when you need it.
7. Assemble your team and support staff. Who is going to help your law practice run successfully? Determine the support and management roles you need in your firm and find the individuals who will uphold their respective responsibilities accordingly. Granted, this may be easier said than done, but it is nonetheless an important part of starting a business out on the right foot.
We know this can be overwhelming. We encourage you to schedule a free 30 Minute Strategy session with the team at Practice42 about how we can help you succeed in your business endeavors. Our comprehensive approach to building law practices that last, includes professional coaching and so much more.
Time and again you have put your best foot forward.
You have tried to make things work.
But, despite your best efforts, your senior partner continues to plague your professional life in an unrelenting and inescapable way.
We know you may feel hopeless. You may feel desperate. We want to tell you that you are not alone. We work with so many attorneys who have been in similar situations to what you are facing right now.
The truth is there is an exit strategy to take and, let’s be honest, it can be developed over the span of your lunch hour. Open your own practice! Think about the flexibility that can come with being your own boss. Appealing, right?
Let’s dive into how you can use your lunch hour (or late tonight if your senior partner does not give you lunch) to take your career to the next level as you set forth how you are going to open your own firm. Let’s discuss a few things you will need to consider:
As you lament your senior partner woes and dream of opening your own firm, we encourage you to schedule a free 30 minute Strategy Session with the team at Practice42. We help build successful law practices. Talk to us about how we can help you on your journey to a brighter future in the law!