Do you have a hard time delegating? It’s understandable because you have always done everything yourself. You are just used to it. However, when you reach the point when you have too much work to do and not enough hours in the day to do it, you need to delegate. Even though you know you should delegate, are you still making excuses not to? These are the most common ones:
I can’t delegate because you are not in my office: As a virtual paralegal, I have heard this one several times. Maybe you feel you don’t have as much control over the work if it’s done outside your office. Or maybe you think it’s quicker to delegate if the person is right in front of you. It’s not when you follow the tips below.
I can do it quicker than you: This may be true at first, but if you delegate the same tasks on a daily basis, the person you delegate it to will get used to it and become faster at it…maybe faster than you.
You don’t work the same way I do: What you should keep in mind here is the end result, not the way used to achieve it.
I can do it because it’s quick and easy: You’re right, but if you combine all the quick and easy tasks you do throughout the day, it amounts to a good chunk of time you could have spent developing leads or doing substantive work.
Delegating is expensive: How much is your time worth? If your time is worth more than the time of the person you delegate to than go ahead and delegate. You will save time and money.
Do you still think your reasons for not delegating are valid? If so, let’s see what the consequences are:
As you can see, there may be risks when delegating, but they outweigh the consequences. If you are finally ready to delegate, here are some tips that may help you:
It’s time to let go and rise above your delegation fears. The end result will be positive for both your business and yourself.
Thanks to the General Practice Solo Small Firm Section of the Florida Bar, I attended my first legal tech seminar last week. On Day 1, the speakers talked about courtroom technology, e-discovery, social media and blog ethics, Microsoft Office, PowerPoint and Adobe Acrobat. Day 2 was mostly on practice management. There was also an interesting conference on social media discovery and jury selection. I learned a lot and met great attorneys and paralegals. For those who couldn’t make it, these are my favorite tips of the Wild Wild Tech Seminar:
The GPSSF Section will host another legal tech seminar next January. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to keep up with legal technology and trends.
It's the last month of the year already. As a thank you for following my blog and social media pages, I would like to offer you 31 practice tips until the end of the year. My hope is that these practice tips will give you the tools to increase your legal practice's efficiency, productivity and profitability for 2015.
31 Days Until 2015
Casemaker and Fastcase are great alternatives to Westlaw and LexisNexis, especially for primary law. And the best thing is, they are often offered free of charge to state bar members.
Are you wondering why your law practice is not growing? Do you meet with potential clients without any results? Do you have to go back and forth with clients because you forgot to ask important questions during your initial meeting? You may be one of many attorneys who do not have a procedure for client intake. Not only is client intake important for the reasons mentioned above, but it also helps ascertain whether you should take on a matter. A typical client intake procedure include a client intake form and checklist.
Client Intake Form
A client intake form is a questionnaire completed by the potential client prior to the initial meeting. It usually asks for basic information about the client and the matter: full name, contact information, the reasons for assistance, parties involved, etc. It may also include marketing related questions about the referral source. Questions may vary by matter (probate v. real estate) and client type (individual v. business).
Client Intake Checklist
A client intake checklist is used by the attorney, paralegal or secretary during the initial phone call or meeting. The checklist helps collect all essential information for a conflict check. It also helps determine whether you should take on the matter or not. Below are items to include in a checklist:
Refusing a Client
There are many reasons to refuse a client. Some of which will be revealed by using the client intake form and checklist. The most common ones are:
If you refuse a potential client or refer him to another attorney, it is good practice to send him a non-engagement letter.
Using Potential Client Data
Once you obtain all relevant information about the potential client, store the data in a spreadsheet or practice management program. The data will be used while providing services to your client. You may also use it for marketing purposes. For example, you can find out through which marketing channels your clients find you. You can also use their contact information to send out informative newsletter, announcements and holiday cards.
This is a summary of client intake procedure. If you would like client intake forms and checklists for your law firm, visit the Florida Bar and Michigan State Bar.
About a month ago, I attended a paralegal dinner where the speaker talked about how to be a successful paralegal. She brought up some good points until she said paralegals should never say no when attorneys ask them to do something (not surprisingly she is an attorney!). As an example, she asked a paralegal how she would answer if the attorney asks her on Friday to work over the weekend. The paralegal said she would do it. Then the speaker said, what if I ask you the same thing next Friday, would you do it? As a good paralegal (and knowing what the speaker wanted her to say) she said yes again.
Well I am glad I don’t work with this attorney. Don’t get me wrong, I do every reasonable request an attorney asks for. However, we all know someone who takes advantage of others. You give an inch, they take a mile. During my 12 years in the legal field, I have had to say no to an attorney known to be unreasonable. I am glad I had the strength to do it. The attorney didn’t like my answer, but got over it. By saying no I taught the attorney to respect me and appreciate my work.
Attorneys face similar situations, especially with potential clients. Some clients are more difficult to work with than others. You have to find a way to identify them and reject them before it’s too late. They may have a frivolous lawsuit, they may not have the funds to pay you or they may be a liability to your practice. The best way to identify them is during the client intake process (see When to Say No: 10 Ways to Select and Reject a Client by Edward Poll). Most importantly, if in doubt, follow your gut feeling and say no.
You may also have to say no to opposing counsels, especially when they make unreasonable demands or threats. You don’t have to explain why you disagree. They are not your clients and they are not worth your time. If your reply is as wordy as their demands, the dispute may escalate and your client will ultimately pay the price. By keeping it short, you may actually destabilize the opposing counsel and turn this situation in your favor.
So next time someone, be it your boss, client or opposing counsel, asks an unreasonable demand, don’t be afraid to say no. Respecting yourself and setting boundaries will teach others how to treat you.
Disclaimer: The content on this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. Your Paralegal Help Desk's blogger is not an attorney and cannot give legal advice. If you have a legal issue, you should immediately seek the advice of a licensed attorney in your state.