Is your firm prepared for the holiday season?
The holiday season will be here in a matter of weeks. For law firm management, it can be a challenging and stressful time. Some law firms experience a slowdown in December, whereas others are busier than usual in the final weeks as they strive to make year-end deadlines. In addition to the myriad duties that must be handled to close out the year, predictable concerns usually arise that can impact the profitability of the firm. For a law practice, productivity almost always comes down to the billable hour. Here are some ways to maintain productivity through the holiday season and beyond:
Maintain an Accurate Vacation Calendar
Vacations are an important and critical way for your legal team to recharge their batteries. Allowing and encouraging attorneys and support staff to take their earned time off will reduce burnout and result in a healthier, productive workplace. It is critical to keep track of who will be out, what they are working on and how the work will be covered. The earlier a vacation schedule is finalized, the easier it will be to identify problem areas and plan for them. Remind staff which days the office will be closed and communicate the firm’s policy regarding vacation requests.
Use Collaborative Tools
Multiple attorneys and support staff may work on a document which needs to be revised several times. During these collaborative efforts, communication can break down; attachments are emailed back and forth, someone works on the wrong version or the email thread is difficult to follow. This can be even more problematic during the holidays when key people are out of the office or on different schedules. Consider using collaborative tools that allow parties to simultaneously work on documents online via the cloud. Whether it’s a platform designed for business use or one specifically for the legal field, working in the cloud allows multiple people to work on the same document from anywhere in the world, without wasting precious time with the arduous back-and-forth of email.
Take Advantage of Holiday Networking Opportunities
The season of celebration and festivities means that partners and associates are attending various holiday parties and events with clients, prospects and other industry professionals. Remind staff that their attendance at these events is still an extension of their professional representation of the firm. While holiday parties can be a recipe for disaster and embarrassment, they can also be excellent opportunities to build client relationships, meet potential new prospects, and network in a relaxed and festive environment.
Bring in Extra Help
An attorney on vacation translates into fewer billable hours for the firm. During the holidays, this impact on the bottom line can be significant. Part-time or temporary associates and support staff can cover the workload and maintain profitability. The temporary attorney’s work can be billed out at the normal firm rate, without the costly salary, benefits and tax implications of a full-time hire. The strategic use of temporary legal staffing can help your firm remain productive throughout the holiday season and beyond.
Let us know how we can help keep your team productive during the holidays. We have contract attorneys ready and available.