From our friends at NW Sidebar, seven steps you should take now to get your 2020 financials organized:
It’s that time again! Not just for holidays and eggnog, but also taxes, 1099s, and other year-end financial must-dos. And after the year we’ve had – what with PPP loans and unplanned expenses – the process will be more complicated than ever. If we set aside just a few minutes to organize our year-end now, we’ll find ourselves much less stressed when the new year and tax deadlines roll around. This practical, step-by-step guide will set you and your firm up for a year-end win and success in 2021.
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Approximately every four years since 1985, the American Bar Association has published a “Profile of Legal Malpractice Claims.” Plaintiffs’ personal injury and family law are the most frequent source of claims, according to the latest profile. Although the Profile does not correlate the severity of claims by practice area, the Profile’s “anecdotal observations” section suggests that business and commercial law have traditionally been higher-risk areas on this score…
In 2019, the most recent year for which data is available, personal injury, domestic relations, and bankruptcy/debtor-creditor law top the list for frequency of claims in our state. They do not, however, represent the biggest payout. In fact, they don’t make the list.
If your concern is cost, look to business transactions, securities, other civil litigation, tax/non profit law, intellectual property, and construction.
Here are the details:
Don’t become a statistic
The risk of a legal malpractice claim can be greatly reduced by taking advantage of practice management resources. HOW you run your practice matters as much – or more – than the area of law you choose. Reading blogs, getting advice, and scheduling a webinar are all ways to educate yourself on malpractice traps.
Learning to manage your workflow and properly track deadlines is a must. So is managing your time. Reach out if you need help or have questions. Take advantage of PLF and OAAP resources. Getting your systems and procedures in order is the single most effective step any lawyer can take to manage the risk of a claim. This applies to those practicing in larger firms too. Your firm supplies the software and procedures, but when it comes down to managing your personal caseload that’s up to you.
Getting someone’s attention is tough. Keeping it is even tougher. So why not adapt?
When setting up a training program for staff, offer content that is easily digestible:
Choose a theme
Set a training period
Divide the content into segments
Keep each segment short and limited to one topic
For example, you could designate July as “security” month and distribute brief training segments every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Choosing a strong password, avoiding phishing scams, and working remotely could be your first three topics.
Why This Approach?
I’ve been training lawyers and staff for decades. We belong to a profession that values continuing education, but we’re also busy and under pressure. When you distill information it is easier to absorb. Keeping it short means the listener or reader can get what they need and move on with their day.
Depending on the topics you wish to address, bar and other professional publications can be helpful too.
Get Staff Involved
While you undoubtedly have some topics in mind, be sure to illicit ideas from staff. What would they like to see covered? Know more about? Ask for their tips or delegate content research to spread the load. Training doesn’t have to be a one-person act.