60 Tips in 60 Minutes from the 2010 Futures Conference
I am attending the conference 2010 Futures Conference & Symposium Agenda hosted by the College of Law Practice Management and the American University Washington College of law. This is a live blog post of 60 Tips in 60 Minutes Panel Discussion, Tipsters: Mark Tamminga, Gowlings, management tips; Ann Lee Gibson, Ann Lee Gibson Consulting, marketing tips; Tom Grella, McGuire, Wood & Bissette, P.A., finance tips and Reid Trautz, American Immigration Lawyers Association, technology tips.
– Let managers do their jobs. Partners need to let business managers do their work. Get out of their way.
– Connect with staff. Meet regularly with staff to let them know how biz is doing.
– Deal with under-performers. Find a graceful exit. Not dealing with them is bad for culture and morale.
– Management is chaotic. It’s chaotic – get over it. Must pivot and snap attention back and forth.
– Don’t use e-mail to solve big or sensitive issues; do it in person
– Plan for succession. Younger partners need a path to management. Consider 2-week management training boot camp.
– Lawyer bios should be shorter. Say what you have done for whom. No adjectives and adverbs. Chunk info into natural groups.
– Keep practice descriptions simple. “No wall of text”. Marketing docs should not look like briefs.
– In pitches, discuss the client’s issues. Don’t tout yourself. Ask smart questions; don’t try to show how smart you are. Demo lawyer skills in real time.
– To get PR, leave reporters a night-time voice mail. Say you are sending info. Then send e-mail. Response rate is high.
– Call inactive clients for whom you’d like to work again. Call to say hello and share something interesting
– Fee Fie Foe Firm to research law firms
– Know who you really compete with and understand them
– Do RFP triage. Decide on opting out, all out effort, or pro forma effort. Volume of RFPs up 3x.
– Hire a full-time client interviewer. Do 100+ interviews per year.
– Billing is about communicating value. Train time-keepers on writing good bills.
– Improve likelihood of being paid – check on prospects before taking them on as clients
– Hold annual client planning meetings – with the client. Review company and industry changes. Discuss next year’s needs.
– Half-glass trick: when you need to work a room, only pour 1/2 glass so you can escape conversation go get re-fill
– Rainmaking requires consistency, repetitive tasks. Spend 250-500 hrs/yr. Schedule BD regularly. Write a personal BD plan.
PERSONAL and GROUP PRODUCTIVITY
– Get the right apps on your smart phone. Dragon Dictate allows free 30-sec dictation.
– Track time on a daily basis. Have timekeeping app open on start-up.
– Use free online scheduling tools such as Tungle, WhenIsGood, SAM: SetAMeeting
– Outlook Add-ins: Xobni, Simply File to store sent messages, Copy2Contact (formerly Anagram) [RF: I like Xiant Filer]
– Turn off new e-mail alerts. Look at e-mail occasionally, when it’s a good time for you.
– Dual monitors for all workers. Buy largest monitor you can afford.
– Buy a solid state drive in your next PC. It’s much faster
– Meet via the web with products such as gotomeeting or webex
– Organize your life with Evernote. Let’s you put all your info in one place. [RF: I use Microsoft OneNote, which competes with evernote]
– To keep up with tech: LifeHacker, Mashable, BGR, TechCrunch. Also SmartComputing magazine
– Build IT training into the budget
– Do regular back-ups
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