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Andrew Woolley on Practice Management

Date:9 JUN 2010

Help managing lawyers by regular discussions

Andrew WoolleyI am sure you speak to each of the lawyers that you are responsible for on a very regular basis in a "one to one" session, at least once a month. You do, don't you? At those sessions, I'd suggest these issues need to be explored:

- Are they happy / how are things?
- Anything they'd like to improve?
- What are they going to do about the areas they want to improve?
- What problem files or clients do they have?
- Should they be archiving some files?
- How has attracting leads been this month?
- How has converting leads been?
- Was their billing above or over target this month-why?
- What billing do they expect this coming month?
- How do they think the firm could improve?
- What worries or fears do they have?

This might read like an inquisition because of the number of questions! It shouldn't be, I suggest just asking the questions in a curious state of mind, which will affect the tone of your voice. Your lawyers will be pleased you are interested in them but hopefully not too surprised!

I also suggest that it is wise to have an annual planning meeting with each of them. You'll be used to that with your business but do it for them too. You can help them discover where they want to be in future, what they want to earn, how they are going to get there, what they think they should be billing, how they are going to get more clients and so on. Remember their goals need to be: Specific; Measurable; Achievable; Realistic; Timed; Ethical, and; Rewarding.

Of course, the above makes frequent reference to things which need measurement. We call those KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and I think you should share them - and agree them - with each lawyer and probably share all of them with all lawyers. My next article will discuss what they should be and how to prepare them.

Andrew Woolley is the Senior Partner of Woolley & Co solicitors which he set up in 1996 as the world's first 'virtual' lawfirm with no traditional offices but a network of home based lawyers. Click here to follow Woolley & Co on Twitter

The views expressed by contributing authors are not necessarily those of Family Law or Jordan Publishing and should not be considered as legal advice.