As the year comes to a close, most people start thinking about their New Year’s resolutions. But did you know that about 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail? New Year’s resolutions for lawyers can be even more challenging—balancing legal career-related goals and personal ones is no easy feat.
However, having a few realistic resolutions can make a big personal and professional difference for lawyers. New Year’s resolutions for lawyers are more likely to succeed if legal professionals take care to set realistic and achievable resolutions.
Below are 12 realistic New Year’s resolutions for lawyers (that’s one a month!) to help you stay on top of your game.
1. Get organized
Start your new year off with a clean slate by tying up loose ends and getting organized. Review your open matters (you can do this easily in Clio with a Matter report) and ask yourself these questions:
- Should any open matters be closed? If yes, close them.
- Are any cases stalled? Make a plan to address the issue, or consider referring the case to another lawyer.
- Do any matters have outstanding balances? If so, start sending out invoices. Also, review our guide to year-end law firm financials to double check that all of your firm’s finances are in order for the new year.
2. Take a client-centered approach to practicing law
In the digital age, law firms that focus on their clients first are better positioned to succeed. Clear communication, thoughtful processes, and consideration for the entire client journey makes for happier clients, more referrals, and more pleasant client interactions overall.
Investing in legal practice management (LPM) technology can also help your client relations. As noted in Clio’s 2022 Legal Trends Report, firms using cloud-based LPM software were 60% more likely to have positive relationships with their clients!
You may like these posts
3. Start accepting online payments
If your law firm doesn’t accept online payments yet, make this one of your top New Year’s resolutions for lawyers. If you’re still not sure about accepting online payments at your law firm, consider this: According to the 2021 Legal Trends Report, 66% of legal consumers prefer making payments online. Also, 61% of consumers prefer paying for legal services via automated payments. The same number of consumers prefer paying via a mobile app.
Get paid faster with Clio Payments
By signing up for Clio, you can access Clio Payments, which gets you paid faster while making it easy for your clients to pay their bills online.Start Now
4. Network more
The 2021 Legal Trends Report found that when looking for a lawyer, 81% of legal consumers seek positive referrals from friends and family. In other words, in addition to providing an excellent client-centered experience, you need to go to more networking events, both to meet other lawyers and to meet new clients.
These events don’t have to be boring—legal technology conferences, legal meetups and events (virtual and in-person), social gatherings, and local industry meet-ups can be valuable (and fun) to attend.
To connect with potential clients, consider networking events outside of your industry. Give talks at non-legal-specific events, get involved in your local community, and remember to mention to new connections that you’re a lawyer available for hire.
Also, don’t limit your networking to in-person events. Network online by joining professional groups on LinkedIn, and starting conversations around legal hashtags on Twitter. The Law Community, by Clio, is also a great way to connect with other lawyers and legal professionals online.
5. Bring more of your legal practice on the go
You already check your email on your phone, so why not try managing more of your practice while mobile? Turn bus rides and dentist office waiting times into pockets of productivity: There are plenty of apps for lawyers to help you run a mobile practice with ease.
6. Revamp your online reputation
In the information age, your online reputation is key. No matter how your clients hear about you, they’ll likely look you up before they sign on the dotted line. A raft of two-star reviews could work against you.
How do you create a strong online reputation? It starts with a structured online marketing plan. Invest some time in creating and implementing a solid marketing strategy, and start the year off by reviewing your website, Google Business Profile listing, blog, LinkedIn profile, and other social media properties to ensure you’re keeping up with the latest best practices.
Don’t have your own website? Clio Grow users can make their own law firm website in minutes.
7. Have better meetings
How many times have you sat through an unsatisfying or unproductive meeting? At some point, we’ve all asked ourselves: “Couldn’t this have been an email?” So, for 2023, commit to running effective and engaging meetings with Priya Parker, author of “The Art of the Gathering”. Our interview with Priya Parker provides excellent tips for facilitating better meetings—whether with staff or clients.
8. Become more data-driven
How well is your law firm really doing? To properly measure your success, you need to take a data-driven approach: Define key metrics and track them.
We’re not just talking about keeping tabs on the number of new clients you bring on each month either—look at where your clients are coming from, and track the return on investment of your marketing efforts.
More importantly, keep an eye on how efficiently your firm is operating. For example, look at how many billable hours you’re logging as a percentage of your total workday. You’ll be able to do this easily with Clio’s Firm Dashboard.
To track this information in Clio, create a matter for non-billable/administrative work, and use a timer to keep track of time spent on these tasks, just as you would any other billable matter. Then, compare time spent on this matter with time spent on all other matters combined, and—voilà—there’s your utilization rate.
Compare your utilization rate to the average (which is just 31%, according to our 2021 Legal Trends Report) and look for ways to cut down on non-billable work, or consider alternatives to the billable hour, such as flat fees or contingency agreements.
9. Prepare for client intake before you meet your next client
If you have yet to set up an automated client intake system, 2023 is the year to do it.
A streamlined client intake system will save you time and eliminate the added potential for human error that comes with manual data entry. More importantly, a well-thought-out intake process means a better first impression and a better experience for your client—both critical aspects of taking an increasingly client-centered approach to lawyering.
10. Take better care of yourself
Lawyering is inherently stressful, but if there’s one thing that’s more important than your career, it’s your health. Self-care should be on every lawyer’s New Year’s resolutions list.
If you’ve been working long hours and neglecting self-care, use the new year as a turning point. Eat well, get enough sleep, and take care of yourself. You may not be able to avoid stress as a lawyer, but you can definitely find ways to manage stress more effectively.
Jeena Cho, author of The Anxious Lawyer, has written plenty about the benefits of mindfulness. Try meditating, even for just a few minutes each day. This ritual will help clear your mind and set yourself up for success at work.
Episode 73 of Daily Matters looks at lawyer wellness and mental health, with valuable insights from industry leaders like Jeena Cho, Mindfulness Educator at The Resilient Lawyer, Brian Cuban, Author and Speaker, and Terry DeMeo, Master Certified Coach.
11. Attend events to invest in your firm’s future
Attending legal industry events can help generate ideas to improve your practice and make your business more profitable. For example, the Clio Cloud Conference, features talks on the latest industry trends, best practices, and more to keep your firm on the cutting edge.
Case in point: Clio customer Chris Trebatoski has used his learnings from the conference to double his firm’s revenue over the years.
And if you’re not sure which event to go to next year, consult this list of the best legal conferences for lawyers to attend.
12. Try a new tool to help your practice succeed
We’d be remiss not to include new tech tools among our list of New Year’s resolutions for lawyers. If you’re already using practice management software and other tech tools to make day-to-day tasks at your law firm run more smoothly, you know how much of a difference tech can make. Practice management software also helps firms bill, create documents, and track time much more efficiently!
Why not experiment with a new tool to address specific needs and workflows in your practice in 2023? With over 180 apps and services in the Clio App Directory, there’s plenty to explore and choose from.
One caveat: Think carefully about your needs and optimize your processes before you optimize your tech! Read about how Patrick Palace and Jordan Couch successfully implement new technologies at Palace Law.
That’s it for now! We challenge you to try at least one of these New Year’s resolutions to better your firm.
We published this blog post in December 2018. Last updated: .
Categorized in: Business