IOMasterminds

Top 3 tools to help lawyers better organise

Top 3 tools to help lawyers better organise

Whether you have been practising for one year or 25 years, you surely have come across an array of emerging tech tools and services designed to help you improve your law practice. As the industry moves forward, it is essential for competitive lawyers to invest wisely. There is no better time than now to take inventory of your practice to see where focusing your time and money can make the biggest impact.

​​Below are 3 tools that will help you set professional boundaries, manage your law practice in the cloud, get better and faster research results, and keep tabs on the things that matter in your daily life.

Podio

Podio is one of the best project and task management tools to get your tasks, clients, and projects together in one place. The platform provides you templates for more routine workflows or builds a custom one for larger projects, and see the status of where every person working on it is in the process. And because it integrates seamlessly with Google Drive and Dropbox, you can attach documents to each project, and your support staff won’t waste time searching for them.

Podio’s versatility makes it such a great tool. In addition to managing tasks and projects, it can be used as a CRM tool, to manage to follow up with leads, or even track expense reports. Notifications, of course, are built right in.

G-suite

G-Suite, a professional product from Google, is a wonderful and more versatile option for you. You may use it to organize your sessions, send emails, and collaborate with colleagues and other authorities in real-time. Moreover, you can organize your files with Google Drive, manage Gmail and work schedules, notes, and meetings efficiently with secure communication with your clients and your legal team. 

The great thing about G-Suite is that you may utilize any of the service’s products with your own custom domain.

Zapier

Finally, every attorney could benefit by using an automation tool such as Zapier. These apps help automate repetitive tasks between two or more apps. An automation app frees up attorneys and staff time to work on more important tasks. Anything where you have to move information from one app to another. 

If you are an attorney that has systems in place where you have to move information from one app to another, this tool is highly recommended for you.

These are the top 3 tools that should help you improve your work as a lawyer and better prioritize your tasks. If you need further assistance to improve your law practice, make sure you are on the right path to success by consulting your professional legal coach to advise and support you. 

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3 Simple Ways To Improve Your Law Firm Visibility

3 Simple Ways To Improve Your Law Firm Visibility

While it’s true that lawyers can attain many clients through the quality of their services alone, a lawyer or a law firm that is looking to grow their business needs to adapt themselves to the latest industry trends.  The “do good work and clients will come” adage is less true today than it was thirty years ago.

Clients today are not required to book an appointment with a lawyer offline but can review a law firm from online profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, and other portals. Thus, due attention must be paid to the online presence, which must constantly be maintained to stay relevant and well connected.

The best way to be on top of one’s game is to exhibit excellent Thought Leadership. Online marketing for law firms can get the much-needed boost through Thought Leadership, as it can allow stable and trustworthy relations with clients, in an online setting with all the resources at hand. By adopting this astounding approach, law firms can easily gain a large and participative online presence.

That being said, here are 3 simple ways to improve your visibility as a law firm or an independent lawyer.

Increase the business generating potential of your law firm’s online platform

If your online platform is going to become your best performing salesperson, it needs to be in a position to be found. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) will always be an important tool for online law firm business generation. SEO best practices may change, and it’s important to have somebody on board that has an awareness of the shifting sands of search, but if your website isn’t effectively presented to search from a technical SEO perspective, it will never generate you value.

SEO involves techniques that send signals that show Google your pages are valuable resources based on what people are searching for. This process will help to ensure your website appears high on the list of search engine results and maximize the number of people who visit your site. Therefore, for Search Engine Optimization to be effective, you will need to optimize your entire website. And one first thing to look into is your content.

Build Trust by Creating Content

If your law firm has a marketing department, they’re probably always asking your lawyers for content (and for good reason). Blogs are a great way for your law firm to naturally pump search engines with your keywords. Posting merely once or twice per week will boost your law firm’s website visibility. 

One of the best ways to showcase your Thought Leadership is by creating content that appeals to your Target Audience. Identify the challenges your clients are facing and create content that will be helpful to them. For example, for lawyers in many practice areas, COVID-19 has presented numerous opportunities for educating clients about new laws and how to deal with the many challenges the pandemic presents on every communication channel.

Develop a social media strategy

Whether we are thinking of Organic Social Media or Paid Social Media, a consistent strategy on social media platforms is always a good choice in order to gain more visibility. The number of law firms, lawyers, solicitors etc. (whatever the professional title) who see the potential of social media to expand their online presence is growing. Yet using social media to simply share information about you, through your latest updates and links back to your online platform isn’t going to help you stand out from the crowd (although it is important for traffic and social signals).

By designing, implementing and sticking to a social media strategy that is aligned to your overarching business goals, you will:

  • reach more potential clients
  • develop new relationships and strengthen existing ones
  • demonstrate your industry expertise and experience 
  • establish your position of Thought Leadership
  • gain insight into what your competitors are doing
  • generate more business online

The last decade has seen a transformation of the entire industry. Transactions and dealings are now global, the world has become smaller, and interactions take place at a faster rate. All this is due to the emergence of the internet, especially in terms of networking and online marketing for law firms. Fortunately, there are always ways for every law practitioner to grow their business. A professional legal coach would always advise and support you, not only in building your social media strategy but in creating breakthrough results for your online legal business.  

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5 ways to maintain your work-life balance as a lawyer

5 ways to maintain your work-life balance as a lawyer

Achieving a healthy work-life balance is important for all professionals, but for solo practitioners, it can be challenging. When you’re climbing the rungs of the legal ladder, figuring out how to have both a career in the legal business and a social life can be tricky. Over the years I have set myself small targets for professional and private equilibrium, and here I share some professional coach tips for success.

The following considerations are essential to assist you in meeting the expectations of your new role as an attorney while keeping a healthy balance outside of the office.

The main points

Set yourself limits for working hours

One of the greatest tips for a better work-life balance as an attorney is to keep track of the number of hours you spend working, such as My Hours or Clockify. You could consider how many hours you’re willing to work in a single day or week and stick to it. By asking yourself what amount of time you’d be happy to dedicate to work, you will know that anything above that will be detrimental to your personal life and happiness. 

Throughout your day, set aside adequate time to engage in leisure activities such as taking 5 minutes to walk outside. This will provide you with a much-needed break to minimise stress at work. Allocate these into your work schedule as you would other tasks and you may find this makes a noticeable impact on not only your stress levels, but your work-life balance and overall productivity. 

Prioritize your workload

Learning to prioritize your workload is key. Ask yourself whether you need to respond to, or action, a request straight away. If you have a long list of tasks, spend time establishing their order of importance. Which are urgent and which are neither urgent nor important?

Look for easy ways to implement time-saving tools for your office. One of the top reasons why people don’t take time for themselves is because they feel like they honestly don’t have it to take. One way to help you feel more comfortable taking time for yourself and your family is to use tools like legal document automation solutions or online firm management programs. Technology was designed to make your life easier. Explore some of the modern legal office software programs that are revolutionizing workflows for lawyers.

Choose carefully

As a whole, legal professionals are intelligent, ambitious, assertive, and creative types who understand the importance of working hard. They don’t sit around waiting for an opportunity to knock—they chase it. Many in the legal field strive to earn the best assignments and hustle to land the best cases. Most lawyers have a competitive streak.

Before accepting any role, ensure you research the firm thoroughly – consider everything that comes with the position. A specialist recruiter will also have a good understanding of the different cultures across firms and can be a useful source of guidance when choosing a firm that’s right for you.

Unplug for a Little While Each Day

Although many lawyers keep a traditional schedule, being your own boss gives you a degree of flexibility. When it comes to spending more time with your friends and family (or even participating in your favourite activities), take advantage of being the boss. Go to that book fair with your child; go with your spouse or friends for a long lunch. You can always work a little later in the day or even come in a little earlier the next day. Learning to embrace flexibility will help improve your work-life balance.

Here’s the key to making this work: you must actually treat those items as appointments. That’s not to say that you must be inflexible with your life. It’s more to make sure that you are taking time away from your work. Your mental health, your relationships, and your business are all worth it.

FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)

This malady is common among lawyers committed to becoming partners. They feel the need to be constantly available, throwing off work-life balance. Their concern was that by not being seen in the office, at all hours, they would miss out on opportunities to work on important cases. Ironically, their fear of not missing out at the office can often lead to them missing out on their personal lives. The constant need to stay on top of case developments and respond to clients’ calls and emails is exhausting. It can quickly destroy the balance between the office and your private life—especially when this is done after hours or on weekends.

In order to cope effectively, remember to set yourself boundaries when managing tasks. Whenever possible, ensure that you can delegate certain tasks to your juniors – allowing more time to focus on the key deliverables at hand. Becoming too involved is a common complaint with lawyers. Learning to let go of emotionally intense situations. Mentors can be a great sounding board to help put things into perspective. When constant work and business is ingrained in us, it can be hard to take time for ourselves. The day in the life of a lawyer can get stressful, but don’t give up. You can always reach out to a performance coach to get a better hold of legal practice and achieve all your goals.

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HOW TO ATTRACT MORE OF THE CLIENTS YOU WANT?

HOW TO ATTRACT MORE OF THE CLIENTS YOU WANT?

Have you ever in your legal business asked yourself why clients are not decisive from the start about what they want to do? Or why they do not provide you with the full and complete background story of their case, and then you end up blind-sighted? Or why they do not understand that the circumstances of their case evolve and there is no fixed solution from the beginning of their case up till the very end? Or why they agree on a strategy and fee with you, and then they change their mind? Or why they have the tendency to negotiate your fee? Or why they call you after business hours, even though you clarified that with them at least a couple of times? The list could go on… I am sure there are many versions of these complaints… 😊

During the personal growth workshops that I led for attorneys and in our one-on-one coaching sessions, we often looked at the relationship with the client, as an essential part of the performance of our legal business. Client relationship management is everything. It is a complex thing, and for now, I would like to refer to one particular aspect i.e. attracting the “right” legal business clients.

By “right” I do not mean that there is something wrong with the clients you already have. In fact, what I am pointing towards is that, if your complaints sound very similar to the above list, then you might want to stop and consider that it is not that they are not the right clients, but rather, that they’re probably not the “right” clients for you!

Now that gives you some power, to get off whatever you are on with your clients, clean up any mess, or unclear situations, and start taking some responsibility around who your clients are, whom you have taken on in your law firm, your portfolio. If you are a legal business owner or planning to become one, then you want to have a look at this now! Because who your clients are, speaks volumes of who you are as a lawyer!

Look, I spent the first ten years of my career thinking that if I work hard, do my part inside out, and do great work with everything I do, my clients are going to appreciate me. The result was lots of work for me, I kept myself and my colleagues to a very high standard, never satisfied with the accuracy of the legal drafting, the time put in, there was always more planning and organizing, more task management required, more checks. I would double-check my team’s work. Hell, even proofread their work! I ended up tired, stressed, overwhelmed, and stuck. No matter how much I try and work to make my work impeccable, in the end, the client is not going to appreciate it. They would change their mind, drop a project, after having worked for months on it, or after me and my team had spent a considerable amount of time to make it to a tight deadline. Which, in the end, was never going to happen. And so on… I felt stuck.

But I did not know any better, I was playing a small game. The game called “I win, if I do as the client wants, if I do it “right”.

So, I am challenging you to take a moment today and write down on a blank piece of paper who are your current clients? Who entered your portfolio in the past twelve months? Who got referred to you, by whom and why? Are they clients you couldn’t say “No” to because they’re a relative, or a friend, or some favour call? Or are they clients who have stuck with you for the longest period of time, people with a huge commitment in life, who always deliver on their side of the deal, who cherish and respect your private time, who are proud to be represented by you?

And, you know, you might not like it in the beginning, and it might be that you get a little confronted 😊 by this. By the fact that your current clients are the result of your action, or shall I say IN-action?! But at the end of the day, you and I know, that we are the only ones responsible for how our legal practice looks today. We created it!

And that is why I created the IO Masterminds platform. At IO Masterminds we Empower and Support Lawyers to Promote Themselves, Start or Grow Their Legal Business through Digital Legal Marketing. So that you can go from where you are today in your business, in your relationship with your clients, to where you want to be, Attracting More of the Clients You Want, Realizing an Abundance of Clients and Projects that are True to Who You are as a Lawyer, What You Stand For, and ultimately Be Successful in Your Legal Business.

I am curious about what you wrote down on that blank paper and what you discovered taking on my challenge. If you care to share, let’s get in touch! Also, if you want to know more about the IO Masterminds platform and what is possible for you and your legal business through Digital Legal Marketing, also get in touch! 😊

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WHY DIGITAL MARKETING IS AN ESSENTIAL SKILL FOR ANY LAWYER’S SUCCESS?

WHY DIGITAL MARKETING IS AN ESSENTIAL SKILL FOR ANY LAWYER’S SUCCESS?

That’s right! I assert it’s a digital marketing skill, not just a tool! Let me elaborate on this distinction:

A tool is an instrument that you use to perform a specific task. Say, if you want to promote yourself in the digital space, then you use certain tools, which are specific to digital marketing, such as Social Media, Email Marketing, Podcasts etc. You set certain targets, you create a budget, and you hire someone to use specific tools for your legal business to be successful i.e. achieve the results you want.

However, I cannot stress enough the importance of Being a Digital Marketing Expert. Not as an instrument that you pass on or delegate to others to handle for you, but as a way of being for your own success as a Legal Professional. When you are a Digital Marketing Expert yourself, then beyond understanding the tools and what you can do with them, you become extremely Powerful with:

  • (i) what is Important to you in practising your profession, your Expertise;
  • (ii) where you want to Make a Difference through being a lawyer;
  • (iii) the way you communicate – what is important to you, your projects, the results you produced with your clients, your peers, and other stakeholders;
  • (iv) building a community around you, far beyond your immediate contacts, of like-minded people. 

Promoting ourselves as lawyers and our legal business is not something we learned in Law School. And that is a fact. We’re all “illiterate” in this respect, coming out of Law School. So, we have to acquire this through our own experience or by learning from others.

When my father started practising as an attorney-at-law in Romania back in the late seventies, there was no social media, internet, or even mobile phones! He had a landline at home, he met his clients in our living room in the afternoons, in our two-interconnected-bedroom apartment (meanwhile, we would have to sit quietly in our bedroom or kitchen and not interrupt). The only channel available for promotion for lawyers back in the day was a room within the courthouse where people would come and… smoke. It was there where he met potential clients, typically upset or disgruntled people who would come to complain at the courthouse. The onboarding was done there and then. Later, being successful with a client’s case would attract more clients and in time he would build his reputation and so on. It took years of hard work, commitment, relentlessness in the fight for human rights in Romanian society.

But those days are gone, and we now live in a Digital World, where anything is possible. And that is why I am sharing this story with you; to make you aware of how far we have come in the promotion of our legal practice. And even though in some ways or forms the “fumoir” experience may still take place, there is so much more out there available for us to meet our clients, promote ourselves and build a reputation. 

Provided always that our Core Principles of practising the legal profession are observed, the information we provide to the public is accurate and not misleading, with Integrity, Authenticity and Alacrity. I strongly believe that we, as legal professionals, have come a long way in promoting ourselves and our legal business. In fact, I see Digital Legal Marketing as an Essential Skill to Promote and Ensure Civil Society’s Access to Justice.

If you want to learn how You can Make a Difference through your Legal Practice, by becoming a Digital Marketing Expert yourself, contact me for a free 45-minute coaching session!

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7 TIPS ON HOW TO HANDLE TOUGH LEGAL QUESTIONS. ON THE SPOT.

I asked myself how to handle tough legal questions several times and I know it’s on your mind too because it’s one of the questions which came up from the participants in my workshops. In fact, their question sounded more like this: “why don’t clients get that, as a lawyer, you cannot have an answer to everything, all the time, especially in that specific moment when they are calling you?”

Before taking the personal growth path, in my profession, I was confronted with this type of situation on a regular basis. In fact, if I look closely, I can say that most of my clients’ questions were about stuff I DID NOT know or, better said, did not have an answer to on the spot. I would, typically, do one or more of the following things:

  • be nice and helpful;
  • try to look smart;
  • take any request out of fear of closing the door on future requests and eventually end up swamped with work.

In school, if we didn’t know the answer, we wouldn’t pass the test or we’d get a poor mark. In practising our profession as lawyers, if we don’t know the answer i.e. cannot express a legal opinion on the spot, what do we do?

Here are a few tips about what you could do, right there on the spot, with your client:

1. Summarize

Summarize your client’s question to make sure you’ve captured correctly and entirely the facts and dilemma. You don’t need to repeat everything like a parrot, but you do need to make sure you’ve gotten their question fully. You can also (and I strongly advise you do this!) write the summary in an email, after your initial conversation, to confirm the agreement on your mandate and what it is that you need to address in your legal opinion.

2. Clarify

Clarify the context! Ask questions: factual questions, detail-oriented questions, but also open-ended questions. These are essential! You can also revert via email with more clarification questions, or schedule a further clarification call, or meeting.

3. Define

Define the framework! e.g. “this is a question of corporate law, specifically about limited liability companies’ formation”, or “… director’s mandate”, or “… in principle…”/ “the rule of thumb is…”. State the framework and inform them about what you would have to review or look into, in order to have the specific answer they’re looking for. It gives your client a clear sense of “you know what you’re doing”, and “they’re in good hands”.

4. Identify

Identify any stakeholders – is the opinion or answer your client’s looking for a mere question of law or is it something that depends on or might be impacted by stakeholders: business partners, public authorities, various departments within their company etc.? While your client may want to know what the law says, it is important to consider all other (decision) factors. In other words, how does the law apply in their case?

5. Be straight!

Be straight! If it’s not your field or expertise, be straight about it. It’s gonna cost your client time and money for you to look into it. Instead, you could be straight with them about it and propose you take the lead (after all, it is you whom they called, and, thus, trust), and partner up with a colleague who does already know and have experience in the field.

6. Don’t be afraid

Don’t be afraid to just say “I Don’t’ Know”. Nobody expects you to know everything on the spot. In fact, look at their question with an inquisitive and truly interested mindset, curiously. This is an opportunity to train and develop yourself professionally, your business acumen, which is essential to understanding your clients and their needs and getting what it is they want to achieve. Let them know how much time you need to look into it and by when you’ll get back to them.

7. Laugh

Finally, my favorite one: have a laugh about what you don’t know! – I always say we get too serious sometimes. Not to diminish the importance of the client’s case, or be inappropriate in a business meeting or call, but I can see how declaring that I need a software upgrade 😊 to deal with all the ideas storming through my brain, can take the pressure away from the whole situation I find myself in.  

Try these on, and let me know how it went, what you discovered?
What are some techniques you are using to handle tough legal questions on the spot?

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