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MANAGING THE OFFICE

To-Dos: Your February office checklist

February might be a short month, but there’s a lot packed into it.

Here are 7 areas you can tackle this month to help improve profits, protect the firm, and boost morale.

1. Review each department’s revenues.

By now the profit and loss statement for 2017 is in. Review the gross revenues of the firm and the revenues for each department if the firm practices in more than one area. Did litigation carry the overhead expenses of the real estate department because real estate was slow in 2017? If this is a trend, consider reorganizing departments to cover the overhead and make sure litigation is not working twice as hard as real estate to carry real estate.

2. Re-evaluate your staffing needs.

Based on profit and loss, origination and realization reports for 2017, re-evaluate your staffing needs. If you took on new business in 2017 and it was sustainable for six to nine months of last year, you might start planning a strategy to add staff in the next three months if the trend continues. Be sure to plan a strategy for growth that is in line with the income the new business is generating and don’t grow too fast. You do not want to let people go three months after you hired them.

3. Prepare for tax time.

If you haven’t already, start accumulating tax documents in anticipation of preparing corporate taxes in April. The deadline will creep up before you know it and you don’t want to scramble in the last minute.

4. Update the bios on the website.

The lawyers’ photos and bios are important elements of your firm’s website. Clients like these little glimpses into the lawyers’ personalities. It gives them a sense of familiarity. It’s therefore important to ensure that the website contains update information. If the bio says a lawyer was admitted in 2000 and her photo looks like it still is 2000, it’s time for a new photo. If an area of practice has changed or a new service added, edit or add it. Be sure you are providing your existing clients and prospective clients with current information.

5. Encourage employee wellness.

It’s American Heart Month and if there was only one thing an organization could do to affect the health of its employees, it would be to make it easier for employees to get active. There are many ways to do that. For example, you could:

  • offer subsidies for health club memberships where the subsidy is dependent on actual use (e.g., eight to ten visits a month to maintain the subsidy);
  • provide free wearable exercise monitors, such as FitBit or any other reliable pedometer device, then have senior management set public walking or step count goals for themselves and encourage group or individual steps goals;
  • offer guilt-free 20-minute exercise breaks during the day to walk as a small group (these can be working sessions too!); or
  • manage workloads so staff can actually take advantage of a firm-wide commitment to getting more active.

You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how even these small actions will yield big results.

6. Implement a Conflict of Interest policy.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, make sure your law firm has the right approach to love in the workplace.

While a law firm’s control over an employee doesn’t normally extend to the employee’s love life, when a romance between co-workers affects the workplace and the law firm’s business, it becomes an employment matter. This is most likely to happen when a relationship ends.

Implement a Model Conflict of Interest Policy to protect the firm. Make sure your employees know what is expected and provide appropriate training on what behavior is—and isn’t—acceptable in the workplace.

7. Boost morale.

Want to quickly boost morale in the office? Hold a tailgate party at the office a few days before Super Bowl Sunday. Ask each staff member to wear their favorite team shirt and order in wings, pork sliders, and fries.

What tasks do you normally tackle in February? Send your comments to catherine@plainlanguagemedia.com.


Editor’s picks:

Model Tool: Conflict of Interest Policy for Romantically Involved Employees


Why your law firm needs a wellness program and how you can build one that works


Is your website violating ABA’s ethical guidelines?


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