Systematize Your Law Practice – Use checklists
Use checklists to systematize your law practice and ensure getting great, consistent results. Checklists are the foundation for an excellent, well run law practice that is mistake free and less stressful.
Set up systems using checklists for every procedure you and your staff do to make sure that each time something is done, it’s done consistently and nothing important is forgotten.
You might feel you don’t need checklists to practice law because everything you do is unique. But if you think about your practice, you’ll come up with many areas where the use of checklists will make your work easier and foolproof. While the content of your work might be unique, you’ll find steps that you repeat over and over again. Anything that you do again and again is ideal for checklist use.
No matter how skilled you may be, well-designed checklists will help you improve results.
In The Checklist Manifesto, Atul Gawande very persuasively points out that the use of checklists by doctors and pilots saves lives. If doctors and airline pilots can use checklists in the midst of emergencies to save lives, surely lawyers can use checklists to protect their clients’ lives too.
How do Checklists help?
The use of checklists obviously helps deal with complex matters or projects.
The more unfamiliar an area, or the more infrequently you handle something, the more you need a checklist to help you maintain control.
No matter how good your memory, there are times that without the use of a checklist you’ll forget or miss something. Lawyers are always being interrupted and interruptions are a common reason why something is forgotten or left out. You won’t forgot anything if you rely on your checklist.
Not knowing the kind of checklists you should create in your law practice might be holding you back. Consider some of these areas to design personalized checklists suited to your law practice.
Checklists can help you:
- Screen new clients
- Meet a new client – what are all the items you want to cover?
- Draft complete documents. Templates are a form of checklist.
- Set up communication protocols to greet clients, send emails, and answer the phone.
- Take a deposition.
- Prepare for trial.
- Close simple to complex transactions smoothly.
- Manage firm finances.
- Maintain billing procedures that help you get your bills paid.
- Hire people.
- Track profitability in your law practice.
- Check for conflicts.
- Calculate comprehensive flat fees.
- Delegate effectively.
- Manage your practice.
- Market your practice.
A Checklist Resource For Lawyers
The Law Society of British Columbia has a Practice Checklist Manual which provides a listing of sample checklists, to help lawyers manage their practices at http://www.lawsociety.bc.ca/page.cfm?cid=359&t=Checklist-Manual. Use these templates to help you design your own law practice checklists.
Consistent use of checklists is a best business practice for excellence a lawyer, or any professional, can have. Using checklists helps you reduce stress, increase productivity, defeat procrastination, make fewer mistakes, stay focused, and maintain control. Why wouldn’t you want to use checklists?
If you would like help on using or designing your law practice check lists, please consider contacting me to see how I can assist you. Check out my Coaching for Lawyers website http://www.coaching-for-lawyers.com/legalcoach for more infomation.