Save the date for “Getting Paid” – October 2 CLE

Join me for a CLE on Wednesday, October 2, 2019 and learn how to implement best practices for getting paid.

Topics include:

  • Communicating with clients about fees
  • Maintaining client relationships to avoid disputes
  • Modernizing billing and payment practices
  • Creating fee agreements to meet the needs of today’s clients
  • Collecting accounts – practical and ethical considerations

Date/Time/Location

Wednesday, October 2, 2019 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Pacific Time. This is a live, online webinar.

Who Should Attend?

Lawyers, office administrators, and staff – anyone interested in exploring how to improve billing and collections.

How to Register

Registration will open soon. Watch this blog for the announcement. Cost: $25. Secure payment processing powered by Eventbrite. Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express accepted. Program materials included in the registration price.

All Rights Reserved [2019] Beverly Michaelis

Automate Something – Anything!

Automation is the answer to improving workflows and productivity. If a given action requires entries in multiple systems – say opening a new client file – automate it. Tired of performing the same redundant task? Automate it. Want to save time? Automate! To learn how, read the story of Joe Lawyer.

Virtually anything can be automated – document production, emails, marketing, or client management. Avoid overwhelming yourself or staff by starting small. Pick one area of office operations. Diagnose what works and what doesn’t. Get staff input. Identify any steps you may be performing out of habit that no longer serve a purpose and eliminate them. That alone will improve efficiency! Now that you’ve whittled it down to the essentials consider how technology can help. Do some research, starting with a better understanding of what your existing software can do. Check out Joe’s story for ideas, then visit the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center. You can also call your friendly practice management advisor for suggestions.

All Rights Reserved Beverly Michaelis 2019.

Organize with OHIO

OHIO” is the pinnacle of the “touch it once” principle. It literally means:

  • Only
  • Handle
  • It
  • Once

When applied to physical and digital clutter, the idea is to act on requests, messages, or documents in the moment. The alternative being that you read the same messages or shuffle the same papers repeatedly. Perhaps while mumbling, “I gotta do that.” Then the process starts over again.

Next time try OHIO

Ask yourself:

Can I take care of this now?

If the answer is yes, do it.

Does it need to wait?

Not a problem. Create a calendar or task entry to circle back to the item when you have time. Meanwhile, get it off your desk and into the client file.

Can I delegate this?

Great! Forward the message or create a task and assign it. In Outlook, you can keep updated copies of assigned tasks on your task list and request status reports.

can I toss this?

Fortunately, we do receive messages and material we can toss, shred, or recycle. When something arrives that fits this description, dispose of it.

Don’t let clutter accumulate, whether it’s digital (clogging up your inbox) or paper (old bar journals and magazines). If it doesn’t serve you, get rid of it.

If you have more than 3 months of reading material in your office, you likely aren’t going to get to it. Bite the bullet, get over the guilt, and recycle it. The information exists online and can be retrieved if necessary.

Managing email

Someone once said “email is like a treadmill that never stops.” No kidding!

Reduce the burden email poses:

  • Apply OHIO. Act on each message by responding, delegating, or tasking it for the future. Don’t need it? Hit delete.
  • Eliminate unnecessary copies (cc, bc). Send messages only to those who actually need the information. Use “Reply to All” sparingly.
  • Unsubscribe to unhelpful lists, ads, or announcements.
  • Create rules and folders for email that is helpful but not client-related. Many lawyers find useful information in listserv message threads, but the sheer volume can be overwhelming. Create a rule that directs these messages to a folder so it doesn’t fill up your inbox. Set up a task that prods you to review and clean out these messages on a recurring basis.
  • Keep personal email separate. This will protect your privacy and keep email volume down.

Change your default setting

Email tends to be a lawyer’s default mode of communication. But as we learned from the legal trends report, it isn’t always the right tool.

Before you shoot off that next message, ask yourself whether you would be better off calling or scheduling an in-person meeting. As it turns out, clients often prefer that we communicate by phone or in-person.

Learn more

OHIO” is one of 30 ideas and strategies addressed in the CLE, “Practical Time Management.” If you missed this program, order the video and audio files on demand. Learn how to take control of your workload, manage your busy schedule, focus on your priorities, and make your workday more productive. Cost: $25. Includes program materials with presentation slides and resources, audio and video files, answers to polling questions addressed during the live CLE, and MCLE Form 6 to self-report CLE credits.

All Rights Reserved 2019 Beverly Michaelis

Streamline, Organize, and Improve Your Office

Be more productive

What if you could improve workflows? Leverage technology and automation to save time? Overcome procrastination? You can with Practical Time Management. This CLE offers over 30 ideas and strategies to help you take control of your workload, manage your busy schedule, focus on your priorities, and make your workday more productive. Accredited by the Oregon State Bar and available in audio and video format here.

Harness best practices

Not sure whether your firm is applying best practices to key office operations? Learn about automating client intake, documenting representation, modernizing the engagement process, and more in Best Practices for Client Intake, Engagement & Workflow. Combine this program with Best Practices for Docketing, Conflicts, Disengagement & File Retention to cover your bases.

Watch each CLE over lunch and earn 1.0 General/Practical Skills MCLE credits. Available now at On Demand CLE..

Get jiggy with eCourt

Understand common eCourt mistakes and master electronic service with eCourt Malpractice Traps and Oregon eService. Topics include: relation back of filings, UTCR amendments, upgrades to Odyssey eFile & Serve software, 12 common eFiling errors, key eCourt resources, using eService, service of process in the eFiling world, identifying eService exceptions, service contact issues, service by email, and courthouse dos and don’ts.

Trust Accounting – basic and advanced

From managing bank charges and avoiding impermissible cushions to reporting overdrafts and addressing client fee disputes, Trust Accounting Fundamentals covers all the basics of how to properly operate your lawyer trust account.

Want to delve deeper into the ethics of IOLTA? Advanced Trust Accounting will show you how to safely manage wire and EFT transfers, use layaway payment plans, collect “first and last month’s rent,” manage evergreen retainers and hybrid fee agreements, receive third party payments, barter legal services, pass on credit card transaction fees, handle unclaimed funds, respond to garnishments and liens, disburse settlement proceeds if your client is missing, and more – believe it or not!

Lucky 13

You’ll find 13 programs and a free eBook at on demand CLE. If it concerns law office operations, you’ll likely find it covered here.

Details for the detail minded

Q:  What does my on demand CLE purchase include?
A:  MP4 (video file), M4a (audio file), written program materials with presentation slides and resources, answers to polling questions addressed during the live CLE, MCLE Form 6 for self-reporting of MCLE credits.

Q:  How are the video and audio files delivered?
A:  Digital files are delivered instantly at checkout with your purchase confirmation email (look for the link). Download, stream, save to your Dropbox account, or send files to your mobile device or desktop computer.

Q:  How much do CLEs cost?
A:  On demand CLE programs are $25. The eBook, Tips for Improving Client Relationships, is free.  All transactions are handled by Selz and protected with industry standard security, including encryption. The Selz platform is also PCI compliant. Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover accepted.

All Rights Reserved 2019 Beverly Michaelis

Virtual Mailbox Services

Virtual mailboxes are useful for those who travel frequently or work from home and lack a business address. For others, online mail access is a question of convenience.

No matter which camp you fall into, or if you’re just now learning about virtual mailboxes, it pays to do your research. For example, some services only scan the exterior of your mail while others will open it, scan the contents, and store it in the cloud. Either way, you receive the results by email. To better understand the process, services, and fees involved, see this post.

As with any cloud-based service, always ensure that client information remains secure and confidential.

If you’re interested in the consumer equivalent of a virtual mailbox, check out USPS Informed Delivery. This free service allows users to digitally preview mail and manage packages from an online dashboard or app. Leave delivery instructions, reschedule deliveries, or set up text notifications.

All Rights Reserved 2019 Beverly Michaelis