Start Your Law Practice with the End in Mind
When you’re starting or growing your law practice and you’re writing your business plan it’s important to include how you will end or windup your practice if something incapacitating happens to you. You have a duty to your clients to have plans in place to protect them in case you are suddenly unable to continue working. Since it’s necessary to have systems in place for running your practice; why not design those systems from the start so that another attorney can takeover for you if the need arises?
The added benefit of creating systems that will help someone take over for you will be that you can use these clearly, detailed systems to make it easier for you to delegate exactly how you want things to be done by any new staff member or associate. They will know exactly how you want things to be done.
Your Law Practice Procedures or systems should include the details on how to:
- Access, understand and use your file system (with as much detail as necessary to be able to understand the work in progress on your desk.)
- Learn the names of all of your clients along with appropriate information. The assisting attorney will need to contact your clients to inform them of the situation.
- Determine the status of all open files and the next steps. You don’t want to be sued for malpractice because you missed something while you were incapacitated.
- Use your calendaring system.
- Maintain up to date billing records. (You don’t want to lose unrecorded time when you may need it most.)
- Access and use your trust account (passwords, authority, banking details).
- Access your passwords for all cloud computing or online operations.
The Washington State Bar Association has issued a handbook for lawyers that will help you plan for dealing with a crisis in your life. Planning Ahead: A Guide to Protecting Your Clients Interests in the Event o f Your Disability or Death.
Having a practice this well organized would have the additional benefit of enabling you to more easily sell your law practice should you decide to do so.
If you would like coaching on this area of your law practice, please consider contacting me to see how I can assist you.