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To-Dos: Your March office checklist

March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. That’s outside, where winter storms give way to springtime calm. Inside, there can also be a whirlwind of activity, especially if you’re tackling office-wide organizational and spring-cleaning projects.

If this is the month you strive to bring order to the firm, here are some tasks you can tackle.

The office:

1. Clear the air. Sick building syndrome is real, and it leads to worker health problems. This is a good time to make sure enough fresh air is circulated throughout the office. Call in a heating, venting, and air conditioning (HVAC) specialist for a checkup.

2. It’s also a good time to freshen up the reception area. Discard dated magazines, and have plants repotted (if necessary) and upholstered chairs cleaned.

3. Organize an office-wide file cleanup event. Have the staff tidy up their desks, put loose papers away, and ensure that no privileged or client documents are around for other clients or visitors to see. This is especially true in the reception area.

The staff:

4. Help staff meet their goals. The annual appraisal isn’t fair because it doesn’t allow staff the chance to make corrections along the way. Instead, conduct a review every quarter and include feedback from the supervising attorney. At one firm, attorneys fill out a one-page feedback form for their secretaries every quarter. It has just three questions for the attorney to answer:

-What the attorney wants the secretary to do more of

-What the attorney wants the secretary to do less of

-And what should stay the same.

During your review, ask the staff member these questions:

-How do you think you are doing?

-What areas of your job responsibilities do you think you can improve?

-What can we (the firm or the attorney) do to help you accomplish that goal?

This format allows for easy one-on-one discussions and prevents performance problems from getting out of hand.

5. Prepare for the summer associates. This includes:

  1. Reviewing pending caseloads and assessing your needs
  2. Considering your recruiting methods. Do you need to attend events? Plan luncheons?
  3. Preparing your onboarding packages, including your welcome letters and training schedules;
  4. Ensuring you have appropriate secretarial coverage.

The marketing:

6. Do some market analysis research and size up your competition.

7. Look at the conversion rates of your marketing strategy and the return on your investment for advertising dollars. Make adjustments accordingly. Replace strategies that are not working.

What tasks do you normally tackle in the month of March? Share your strategies and stories with other law office managers and send your comments to

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