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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 the golf course. As Robin Williams reportedly said, “Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party.'” So this month’s checklist is a nice balance of business and pleasure.

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. Start planning your summer event. If your firm does a summer event like a picnic or bbq, start thinking about what kind of event you’d like to have and start clearing dates with your staff. Families take vacations while the kids are out of school and making last minute plans might mean that a lot of people will not be able to attend. Make sure you plan fun activities that are geared towards family fun and include activities that will keep the kids and the adults entertained.

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 15 to 19 is Bike to Work Week, with the main event of the month being Bike to Work Day on May 19. There are many ways to get your firm involved – from hosting an energizer station to signing up for a little friendly competition in the National Bike Challenge. Visit http://bikeleague.org/bikemonth for 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 catherine@plainlanguagemedia.com.


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