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MORE PROFIT

The art of delegating to increase firm revenues

By Elizabeth Miller Law firms are unique in that unlike most other businesses which sell a product, lawyers sell time. Their time is, for a better description, “their stock in trade”. Based on this concept, to be profitable and generate sufficient revenues to carry the firm, lawyers should be spending their valuable time doing client billable work. The exception to this are contingency cases and hybrid cases which consist of a part contingency/part billable hour retainer agreement. Contingency cases, however, have to be profitable for a law firm also. With this in mind, the key to profitability and work product efficiency in a law firm is to assign legal tasks to the lowest paid but most qualified person to complete a task. When partners spend their time doing work that… . . . read more

STAFFING

Is it a recession or not? The answer may surprise you

By Lynne Curry My in-box filled with questions after I posted a Recession Fears Loom blog. Readers asked how I made sense of the different views voiced by economists and politicians. As a law office manager with responsibilities around staffing and profitability, you are probably watching to see which way the economy goes. Here’s the background, and my answer to “are we headed into a recession?”: Some say “yes.” Over 60 percent of the 750 CEOs surveyed by the business research firm Conference Board expect a recession in the next 12 to 18 months1. Another 15 percent of surveyed CEOs report their region is already in recession.1 The most recent gross domestic product report that tracks our overall economic health showed a second consecutive quarter of negative growth, the textbook… . . . read more

TELEWORK

Remote staff keeping up with on-site staff, survey shows

When it comes to productivity, workers share more similarities than differences, new research from talent solutions and business consulting firm Robert Half shows. A survey of more than 500 professionals reveals five productivity trends that have taken shape since the shift to remote work. Productivity peaks early in the week. Employees get the most done on Monday and Tuesday, whether at home or in the office. Results are consistent with a similar survey conducted in 2019, before the rise of remote and hybrid work. Professionals have defined power hours. Most workers hit their stride in the late morning (9 a.m. to noon) and early afternoon (1 to 4 p.m.), regardless of where they sit. Very few tackle their to-dos during lunch or evening hours. Meetings are getting in the way. When asked to share what… . . . read more

ONBOARDING

Don’t forget this crucial first step with your new hires

 By Lynne Curry It’s a crucial first step many managers fail to take. Swamped by other work, they greet their new hires, introduce them to the employees they’re replacing, and leave to attend to other pressing duties. On the surface, this makes sense. The departing employee can easily explain the work that needs to be done. Beneath the surface, this approach carries with it significant risk. If you’re a new hire’s  manager, you want your new employee’s first experience with you to be “I’m looking forward to working with you. Let’s establish what your priorities are and how we can best work together” and not “hello, see you later.” Although your departing employee may be able to outline your new employee’s job duties, they may also communicate an impression different… . . . read more

MANAGING THE OFFICE

4 day workweek: Is it in your future?

By Lynne Curry If you’re an employee, you’re immediately interested. If you’re an employer, you’re doubtful—yet you keep hearing about this new strategy that might make a significant difference in your company’s ability to survive and thrive. It’s the four-day workweek, though not the compressed 4/10’s workweek that oil patch and similar companies used. Employers adopting this four-day workweek ask each employee to work 8.5 hours four days a week, providing them full salaries for 34 rather than 40 hours weekly. Forty U.S. and Canadian employers are trying out this strategy in a pilot program run by 4 Day Week Global.1 Another 32 U.S. employers have adopted it.2 The concept asks employees to maintain 100% productivity for 100% of their pay while working only 80% of the time. It requires employees… . . . read more

YOUR CAREER

The art of subtle self-promotion

By Julie Perrine As an administrative professional, you’re used to working behind the scenes. Your job is to make your executive look good in the spotlight, not to shine it on yourself. You may even feel more comfortable behind the curtain than on stage. And that’s OK…most of the time. However, to keep your career moving forward, you need to practice some self-promotion, too. There’s a big difference between bragging and subtle self-promotion. Bragging is implying that you’re somehow better than others. You brag to stoke your own ego. For instance, “I was just promoted to team lead and got a big raise because I’m the best admin ever!” Self-promotion is stating a fact. For example, “After five years with my practice, I finally got the promotion I’ve been working… . . . read more

STAFF MEETINGS

Zoom hiders: Camera shy or disengaged?

By Lynne Curry Question: For our mandatory manager meetings, I show up on time so my attendance is noted, and then get through the meetings by multi-tasking. It’s easy enough to hear what’s said as I get other work done. I cover this up by always making a positive comment on at least one of the manager’s proposals. I leave my video off, though, and when the manager chastised me, I compromised by turning it on at the beginning, saying “hi” to everyone, and turning it on anything important is happening, and when I’m speaking. I thought this was a reasonable compromise, so imagine my shock when my manager said my leaving the camera off was a key reason I wasn’t one of the three managers being sent to a… . . . read more

YOUR CAREER

Changed jobs: What have I done?

By Lynne Curry You expect to feel angry when fired from a job you enjoy. You expect to feel scared when laid off from a job at which you felt secure. You don’t expect to feel rotten one week after you intentionally make a career move from a job you’ve outgrown to one that promises to be challenging and rewarding. So why are you so rattled during your first week on this new job? Sudden job change takes you from a job and practice in which you know who’s who and what’s what and throws you into situations you need to navigate without a clear road map. Before you have the chance to learn your new employer’s unwritten rules, including whom to trust and who might take things the wrong… . . . read more

HIRING

Reference checking: I thought they weren’t allowed to say that

What’s your understanding of the reference checking process? If you’re like most managers and job seekers, you probably think former employers are only allowed to confirm previous employment dates and title. Certainly they cannot, and will not, offer negative commentary about workers as it would be a violation of corporate policy—and perhaps it is illegal as well. If this is your assumption, you would do well to think again. While it’s true that many companies have reference policies in place that prohibit them from giving out anything but limited, prescribed information, many do not, says Allison & Taylor Reference Checking, a firm that has been checking references for corporations and individuals since 1984. Additionally, even companies with reference policies in place cannot ensure that their employees will necessarily abide by… . . . read more

INCREASING PROFITS

Corporate law departments strengthen ties with outside law firms

A new report on corporate law departments shows increasing investments in technology solutions, an expected increase in legal spend, and strengthening partnerships between corporate law departments and their external law firms. Thomson Reuters released 2022 State of Corporate Law Departments Report on March 22. The pandemic impacted all aspects of business including corporate law departments globally, which have been on the frontlines of protecting businesses during this unprecedented time. This year’s report provides key insights to aid corporate law departments and the law firms supporting them with world-class business intelligence, including benchmarks on legal spend, how to optimize for the future, and innovative ways law departments can stay a step ahead. “The impact of the pandemic and uncertainty propelled corporate legal departments to drive efficiency as a necessity,” said Sunil… . . . read more


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