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MANAGING THE OFFICE

TO DOs: Your May office checklist

It can be difficult to focus on work this month. May is when many of us come down with spring fever, yearning to get outside in the garden or on the hiking trails. Added this year is the anticipation life might be heading to some sort of normal after more than a year of COVID-19 restrictions, but uncertainty about planning activities.

  1. Start planning coverages for summer vacations. Many firms do not use temporary legal assistants or secretaries anymore. With stepped up efficiencies in the office, legal assistants or secretaries are often assigned to cover for an attorney while another staff member is out of the office. Looking at the schedules for the coming months now will ensure that there is sufficient coverage. If outside help is necessary, now is the time to make arrangements and possibly pre-interview someone from an agency to make sure you get a temp who will actually be productive.
  2. Make plans, and alternative plans, for summer events.If your firm does a summer event like a picnic or barbecue, this would ordinarily be the month w hen you would start planning and clearing dates with your staff. This year you have to take into account the continuing pandemic. Check with the CDC for current advice about gatherings, and be aware of your state and local guidelines. Your firm might need to find a different way to celebrate summer than the usual get-together.
  3. Mind the books. Don’t forget to reconcile your trust account every month—not just the bank statement. Reconcile the bank statement with your client ledgers and your check register every month and make sure all the balances match exactly. If all your accounting processes are in order, reconciling the trust account does not take long at all.
  4. Assess profitability. No firm can support even an excellent attorney who isn’t profitable. Superb skills alone are not enough. Download the Monthly Attorney Report from www.lawofficemgr.com to track the monthly and yearly profitability of each attorney. It lets your firm see which attorneys are most profitable and which clients are most profitable.
  5. Report financial status to the partners. Earlier this year, you outlined for the partners the year-end possibilities—what the best case scenario could be, what the middle of the road expectations are, and the lowest profits that can be expected. Check in with them now to show them how the actual numbers are falling in line with those three possibilities. Periodic checks give the partners opportunity and time to make changes before things get too far off-track.
  6. Get outdoors. May is National Bike Month, which is sponsored by the American League of Bicyclists to encourage people to learn the many benefits of biking. May 17 to 23 is Bike to Work Week, with the main event of the month being Bike to Work Day on May 21. Visit http://bikeleague.org/bikemonthfor more ideas.

What tasks do you normally tackle in the month of May? Share your strategies and stories with other law office managers and send your comments to barb@plainlanguagemedia.com.

 

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