Fostering outside relationships can positively influence your firm
Most of us can relate to the hesitation of taking on a job that we’re not comfortable with or that is outside our expertise. As an attorney, it’s likely that you’ve had people come to you for help in areas outside your wheelhouse—and in an effort to do the right thing, you turned them away.
While it’s not recommended that any attorney take on a case they are not equipped to properly represent, referring clients to others can be a valuable resource. Referrals can be beneficial to your practice and to the customers as well:
Referrals help expand your firm’s network
By building connections with other attorneys who specialize in different types of law than you do, you can expand your network and increase your knowledgebase. This type of networking benefits you, the other attorneys, and the client. And when you serve a client with a referral, it’s likely that they’ll return the favor next time someone they’re connected with needs your expertise.
Building your network can keep your workload workable
As a busy attorney, you know what it’s like to be overloaded and overwhelmed with too many cases. While you would like to help everyone, it’s not always practical since there are only so many hours in a day. But if you refer special cases, you’ll be able to help more people without adding to your workload.
If you work out a referral relationship agreement, you can still benefit financially by earning a fee on the case.
Referrals become a reciprocal relationship
Just as you appreciate someone recommending you for a case, the attorneys you send clients to will be inclined to do the same for you. In most cases, clients that have been referred to you are also ready to sign upon introduction because they’ve received a credible review from the attorney that they trust.
Establishing referral relationships can enrich your experience
Many attorneys who establish relationships with those in another type of law will remain involved in the case so they can learn more about that niche. And when you do this, you’ll be enriching your own experience and practice—because expanding your knowledge base is always a positive.
Referral best practices
Just like everything else you do, when it comes to referring clients out to others, it’s important to follow some best practices—especially if you’ve never done this before. Some good rules to follow include:
- Be open to opportunities: Don’t be afraid to reach out to other attorneys to break the ice and establish a relationship that could lead to referrals for both of you
- Be deliberate: Always recommend those attorneys you know or that have been referred to you by a reliable source
- Create a referral database: Keeping a record or lawyers that you are referring is key—and the more relationships you establish, the harder it is to keep track of who specializes in what. By creating a database, you can also keep track of clients who you have referred and their outcomes, so you know which relationships you want to leverage more in the future.
While it’s great to be knowledgeable and capable in as many aspects of the law as possible, it’s much more powerful to be a trusted expert in one or two areas. Having a network of other attorneys that you can access when needed will improve your firm’s reputation and expand your knowledge base.
If you’re in need of a court reporter for a trail, mediation, arbitration, or conference, request a quote today. We collaborate with numerous south Florida firms and are the leading resource for highly skilled, experienced real-time reporters.
The real question is—can your firm afford not to?
Whether you are just getting your start as an attorney or you’re a seasoned veteran, you are already familiar (and possibly overwhelmed) by the massive amounts of paperwork required for what your daily tasks. Think about the stacks and stacks of correspondences, faxes (yes, people are still faxing!), transcripts, exhibits, and boxes of documents piling up in your office.
If you’ve been fantasizing about going paperless, but wondering whether or not you could possibly pull it off, the answer is a resounding yes! Although most firms these days are not COMPLETELY without paper, they are drastically reducing the amount they use, and you can too:
It all starts with a plan
Whether your team is made of up of three or 30 people, you need a well-thought out plan to implement a paperless office. Make a comprehensive list of documents that you are required to keep (and whether or not they can be scanned and filed digitally). Next, list all the documents that must be kept in paper format, can be scanned and shredded, and which documents need to be sent to clients. There will be clients who cannot or won’t want to receive scanned paperwork. Knowing the limits ahead of time can help you determine how far you can go with your paperless plan.
Train your team
Everyone on your staff has to understand that the paperless plan is required—and how to use the technology that will help you keep digital records. Don’t assume that all your attorneys, legal assistants, and other staff members are familiar with Acrobat and other software. The good news is that Acrobat actually comes with a Bates Stamping capability and you can now send faxes from your computers. Take time to set up training sessions for the entire team and provide hands-on demonstrations for important processes such as digital file creation.
Invest in a quality scanner
While you will still need an office printer and copy machine for those documents that must be stored in paper form, a high quality scanner is key to keeping up with the amount of scanning you’ll be undertaking. You’ll also want to make sure that everyone knows how to scan and store these files in your firm’s digital network.
Start converting from within
Let your clients know that you’ll be beginning to send paperless statements and create a digital statement that can be used across the entire firm. Create digital newsletters, reports, and letterheads—you’ll soon realize just how much money you’ll save when you stop buying all those pre-printed envelopes.
Implement a document management system
It will take a lot of communication and discipline, but getting everyone in your firm onboard with using only digital documents and filing them within your new DMS is key. There’s even one created just for law firms called NetDocuments. These systems can be set up to alert attorneys when they have new documents to view—there’s no need for that massive amount of clutter that stacks of paper creates.
Create digital signatures
Have you ever printed a document just because it needs to be signed? Talk about waste! With a digital signature you no longer have to. Once created, you can insert your electronic signature into all documents.
There’s no doubting the benefits of going paperless. You will not only save loads of money for your law firm, but you’ll be doing your part to help the environment. Follow these tips and make the necessary changes in small, incremental steps.
And if you’re in need of a real-time court reporter, schedule your job online or give us a call at 954-467-6867. With a team of more than 40 of the area’s top reporters, we are the leading source of court reporters in south Florida.
Start by eating the frog
As a solo practitioner, it’s highly likely that you are juggling numerous tasks at the same time every single day. Being at the helm of your own law firm (and pretty much running it on your own), is a major undertaking and means that you’re not only communicating with and serving clients, but you’re also in charge of all things related to the business. Let’s also not forget that your personal life is just as important on the management scale.
If you’re shaking your head right now, especially at the thought of actually having any spare time to devote to a yourself and your family, then it’s time to figure out how to manage your minutes:
Take Twain’s advice and eat the frog
In book Eat That Frog by Brain Tracy, the author uses Mark Twain’s words of wisdom as advice for managing your time and tasks better. Essentially, the theory is that if you eat the frog (the frog being the most difficult or least pleasant task on your plate) first thing in the morning, the rest of your day will be easier and more productive. Many of us, not just lawyers, procrastinate and put off what seems like the most arduous projects. But doing this essentially creates a sense of doom that looms over our heads. Eat that frog—get the hard stuff out of the way and you’ll sail through the rest of the day with ease.
Implement the 3 +2 rule
Every busy attorney can relate to spending endless hours at the office trying to complete a bottomless pit of to-do lists. If you’re working all day and night, and still don’t feel like you’ve been productive enough, you desperately need an intervention. The 3+2 Rule was designed to help one focus only on the most important tasks of the day. The idea is to identify only 3 big things and 2 small things for each day. Allocate one to two hours for each of the larger tasks. Do the same for the three secondary tasks, setting aside 20-30 minutes for each. Although some lawyers have tailored the strategy to their liking, maybe adding one more to the primary list or two more to the secondary, you’re going to find that your practice runs smoother once you put the 3+2 rule into practice.
Enlist some fire-proofing tactics
Most lawyers can relate to being in a “firefighter’s mindset” pretty much every single day. But the problem with firefighting is that you’re always working in emergency mode, so you’re not able to focus on tasks that are long-term or business-building in nature. If you’re constantly fighting to keep your head above water, it would be smart to implement some fireproofing tactics:
- Plan out each day and use the 3+2 rule or a customized version that suits your practice
- Focus on relationship building activities
- Take care of yourself physically and emotionally
- Be clear of your purpose, values and goals
Reduce or eliminate distractions
Although it’s healthy to take breaks throughout the day, too many distractions can derail you and often end up pushing back deadlines. A good way to reduce distractions is to first track the time you spend on these activities; then make a plan that details how to wean yourself from them. By allotting time for your undertakings, you’re less likely to get caught up in what’s happening in the news or answering emails that can wait.
Make a priority list
At the end of each day, make a list of tasks that should be tackled the next morning. Define tasks that are urgent and need immediate attention. Focus on the most crucial tasks at hand and itemize the rest in order of importance. Completing this schedule at the end of the day ensures that you won’t rush in the next morning and start “putting out fires.”
Being the lone ranger in your law firm can be arduous and challenging, but if you manage your time effectively, you’ll find that your productivity will increase and chances of burning out will lessen.
Check our blog often for valuable resources and information that are necessary for success. And remember, if you need real-time court reporting services, schedule your appointment online or call us at 954-467-6867 for more information.
Lawsuit? Collection Action? Try these tips first!
As an attorney, you likely chose this profession because you wanted to help people. But even those lawyers who offer the most reasonable fees need to get paid—after all, this career does need to support you. And while it may be an unwritten industry rule to get your fees upfront, many solo attorneys or smaller law firms offer payment plans to clients who need such an arrangement. Because while they do need your help, a lot of working class people can’t afford to fork out a large amount of cash upfront. But what happens when a client who’s making payments stops paying their bills? Take a look:
Why would a client stop paying?
If you’ve taken on a case and allowed your client to make monthly payments (or some other arrangement), in most circumstances, something unexpected has probably happened. Either your client has experienced an unforeseen expenditure (like a hefty car or home repair) or they’ve been laid off or had their hours cut at work. Whatever the reason, people generally have good intentions and will make payments again as soon as possible while you work with them.
But when the situation begins to get out of control and your client has just stopped paying altogether—it may be necessary to take action. Some clients stop paying because they feel like they are not going to win their case. The mindset is that if they’re not going to have a favorable result, why bother to paying? In these situations, there are some things you can do to remedy the problem.
Stay on top of their case
When a client is unhappy or feeling like their case is a not a priority, it is much easier for them to neglect payment. But if they are receiving consistent updates from you as well as monthly statements, it’s much more difficult for them to ignore you. Make sure you provide progress reports on a regular basis, even if there’s been no dramatic events. It just makes sense that a client who is satisfied with your service will be more likely to pay your bill.
Pull back on the empathy
It’s not easy—but sometimes you have to be a bit tougher than you’d like to. Just as your client needs you to represent them, you also need to be able to pay your bills. And while it may be your first inclination to cut clients some slack, you might have to alter your policy and get more money upfront. Think about it this way—if you don’t pay rent, your landlord won’t wait too long before evicting you—it’s just business.
Withdraw from their case
A last resort of course, but if a client continually refuses to pay, you may have no choice but to withdraw your representation. Before you go that route, you could speak with the client and explain that without regular payments, you will either have to limit the time you’re spending on their case (thus reducing billable hours) or withdraw all together. Sometimes this is all it takes for them to come up with the money they owe you.
No attorney wants to deal with the issue of overdue or uncollectible payments. It’s not fun, nor is it why you got into this industry in the first place. And while most folks have truly good intentions, bad things do happen that force them to be unable to pay you. As a solo practitioner or a small firm, these situations are often more. But sometimes it’s best to just write it off as a loss. It’s not worth your time and effort to go after them for a settlement, especially since this would cost you and could result in a judgment that never gets paid.
Check out our blog for more useful information. At Boss Reporting, we strive to not only provide you with real-time court reporting services, but also to be your partner by offering valuable industry resources. If you need a court reporter, fill out on our quote request form or give us a call at 954-467-6867.
How strategy makes your practice even more successful
The world’s most successful companies not only understand the value of collaboration, they foster it through every aspect of their culture. From open workspaces to think tanks and more, nurturing the exchange of ideas and solutions is how many organizations manage their teams—and succeed. Law firms, comprised of young and seasoned attorneys as well as an array of legal professionals, can also benefit from the advantages of collaboration. But in order to really maximize the effort, a certain amount of planning is necessary:
Start by building a collaborative culture
If your firm operates in a business-as-usual environment, collaboration will take some effort. It’s not uncommon for attorneys to exist in survival mode, simply because the job itself requires you to consistently compete against an adversary. But when it comes to working together with your fellow attorneys, it’s necessary to let go of that competitive spirit and realize that you’re all on the same team. There are numerous ways to build a collaborative culture, including:
Create a team communication schedule
Implement a morning or afternoon huddle where everyone in the firm gets together to give a quick update on what they’re working on, if they need support on anything, and to give a shout out to anyone on the team that’s achieved something or provided support to their coworkers. Increasing communication among team members can help the entire staff feel more a part of a team, rather than an individual with their own goals.
Encourage peer-to-peer brainstorming
When more experienced lawyers can offer their expertise to new attorneys, these interactions help create a culture of teamwork and collaboration. Encourage all of your attorneys to seek guidance from each other, to brainstorm on complex cases, and to offer up solutions and new ways of handling particularly difficult litigation.
Establish firm goals
Establishing goals for the firm is much the same as determining how your lawyers are going to manage their caseloads, work together, and work with clients. When you create a set of goals, a mission statement, and core values that set your firm apart from others, you should also make sure that each and every member of your team buys into them and understands their role. By doing this, lawyers both new and experiences feel a sense of purpose in all that they do to help the firm achieve its aspirations.
Plan team building activities
Although it may seem hokey, team building activities can help build relationships among your attorneys and foster a collaborative environment. There are numerous ways to do this (and no, you don’t have to do the trust fall thing), but the key is that you get all of your team together to participate, including attorneys, legal secretaries, and administrative assistants.
All work and no play—you know the rest. And while lawyering is serious business, it’s important to encourage your firm’s employees to get to know each other and to build a certain sense of cohesiveness. Some firms create a committee or team that’s in charge of planning out special company lunches, happy hours, birthday celebrations, and the like. The important thing is not so much what you do, but that you get everyone together to relax, mingle and relate on a more personal (rather than business) level.
Although it is not a new concept, it seems the world’s most progressive companies are the ones with the highest level of collaboration going on. For many law firms, creating a culture that fosters this type of environment is challenging, especially since lawyers often focused on their own individual clients and cases. But collaboration is possible and can only serve to strengthen your firm..
For more valuable resources and information on improving your law practice, check our blog often.
If you need a real-time court reporter for your next deposition, trial, mediation or conference, get in touch with us today.
Read this before you lose your mind
Imagine being tasked with accurately recording every word spoken by every person for hours at a time. For court reporters, this is just another day in the office, so it’s no wonder that many of them experience high levels of stress. Add to that the fact that their job often requires them to sit for long periods without a break, and it’s easy to understand why court reporters can struggle with physical and mental exhaustion. It’s time we all learn to manage that pressure:
1. Cut yourself some slack
You’re anything but a slacker, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give yourself a break once in a while. Court reporters often bully themselves into believing they need to be perfect. But everyone makes a hiccup once in a while, and when this happens, it’s best to learn from it and move on.
2. Set yourself up for success
Make your work day smoother by prepping everything you need the night before—such as your clothes, lunch, and steno gear. Doing this eliminates rushing around and reduces the risk of forgetting anything.
It may even free up some of your morning time so you can enjoy a cup of coffee before heading out the door.
3. Create a what and when to-do list
Having hundreds of pages of depositions to transcribe can be absolutely overwhelming. Instead of letting all that you have to do weigh down on your mind, create a list that outlines what you’ll do and when. By mapping out a plan, you are freeing it from your mind—try it, it really does help!
4. Use breaks to move, stretch, and get out of your head
As a court reporter, your day will often include a lot of sitting and deep concentration. Even with a short break every few hours, it can be challenging to focus on something other than what’s in the next deposition, trail, or meeting. But if you can take a short walk, do a few stretches, or even head outside for some fresh air, you’ll find yourself better equipped to manage the rest of your day. Clearing your head, even if only for 15 minutes, can do wonders for your stress level.
5. Think about your progress not about what’s left
When there’s a monumental amount of work to be accomplished, it’s all too easy to stress about how everything is going to get finished. Instead, feel satisfaction by checking off tasks as you complete them and focusing on the progress you’ve made. Shifting your focus eliminates those feelings of self-doubt that you’ll get it all done.
6. Let it go
When your work day is done, leave it at work. Even on the days where you need to catch up after hours, letting it go after you finish (and not anticipating what you have to do tomorrow), allows you to de-stress, unwind, and enjoy some relaxation. Remember, the work will still be there tomorrow, so tomorrow is when you should focus on it.
7. Exercise, eat well, and get your ZZZ’s
Yes, it sounds trite, but living a healthy lifestyle is a key way to relieve stress. Because your career as a court reporter requires you to be sedentary, getting in exercise, eating lots of veggies and protein, and getting a good night’s sleep are crucial to staying physically and mentally fit. Also, don’t forget to drink your H2O!
Being a court reporter takes a keen eye for detail, a great deal of focus, and the gift of speed—it’s not for the weak! But if you follow these tips, you’ll find that your days will be less stressful.
For more helpful suggestions, check out our blog. And if you’re looking for a real-time court reporter, fill out our request form or give us a call at 954-467-6867.
What do companies like Google know that you don’t?
It’s no secret that lawyers often work long hours and experience elevated levels of stress and anxiety. And while there’s not a lot that can be done to alleviate the workload, there are ways to decrease stress and make the haul a bit easier to bear. Ergonomic workstations are becoming a popular asset for employees who want to get through their workday with less fatigue and discomfort. And those that do are also reaping extra benefits they didn’t expect.
Ergonomic workstations help attorneys achieve better posture, less exertion, and easier movements, which in turn allows them to be more productive. It only makes sense that if they are more comfortable, team members will have extra energy and get more done with less effort.
A higher quality of work
Whether writing a brief, a motion, or preparing opening and closing arguments, attorneys need to be free from distraction. In fact, any task that your firm needs to accomplish requires thought, creativity, and focus. Ergonomic equipment ensures that employees are not only comfortable, but that they’re working in such a way that’s beneficial to their bodies. And people who are healthy and free of pain do better work—it’s that simple.
Higher level of engagement
When you provide your team with workstations designed to keep them more comfortable, you’re demonstrating how much you care about them. And employees who feel cared about are more engaged than those who don’t. Top companies all over the world have implemented ergonomics into their workplace for this very reason—and are reaping the benefits of highly motivated employees who look forward to coming into the office.
Decreased absenteeism and turnover
Attorneys that spend 16 hours at their desk each day and even more time running back and forth between court and the office are burning the candle at both ends. It’s not uncommon for lawyers to lose sleep over their responsibilities and, as a result, get sick more often than other professionals. And while you can’t make them eat right, exercise, and sleep more, you can ensure that they’re staying safe in the office. Ergonomics improve posture, reduce stress on the body, and help reduce brain drain—and thus can decrease sick days among your team.
Investing in ergonomic chairs, desks, lighting, and other equipment not only makes your law firm more comfortable and attractive, it provides numerous benefits to your team. If your attorneys are regularly needing massages or constantly cracking their necks, perhaps the time has come to make the switch. The added comfort is worth it!
For more valuable information that can help you improve your law firm, be sure to visit our blog often. And turn to us when you are in need of experienced real-time court reporters for your next trial, deposition, meeting or mediation. Our team leads the industry with highly qualified professionals. Give us a call at 954-467-6867 or fill out our quote request form.
Attorneys, case management teams, and judges never had it so good
It’s no secret that technology has dramatically changed the way we do everything. From how we communicate and listen to music, to how we get and share information, there’s little in life that has not been touched by the digital revolution. And although it’s a seemingly age-old art, court reporting is no exception. Through the years, court reporting has embraced new tools and adapted new innovations that offer a more streamlined, real-time experience to every type of client and situation:
Unlike the old days when a court reporter would have to travel to record a deposition, today’s video conferencing technology enables us to do the job without going anywhere. Video conferencing means that lawyers can hold a meeting, mediation, or deposition in one location while witnesses, clients, and other attorneys participate from another location. And all of the proceedings can be recorded in real-time by a court reporter.
Live court transcript text and video
LiveNote Stream, a top industry solution, offers court reporters the ability to share the audio, video, and text of a deposition securely in real-time so that everyone on the litigation team can be a part of the proceedings. Using this technology, members of the team can also provide input on what’s happening as it’s happening—no waiting until after the trial’s over to address an issue or concern.
Daily and overnight transcripts
Utilizing today’s most advanced technological tools, court reporters can provide transcripts on the same day as the proceeding. They can also display transcripts to the attorney’s laptop or tablet during the trial, which means they can mark testimony and jot down important notes as needed instead of waiting until the proceedings have ended.
Although paper transcripts have not entirely disappeared from the arena, electronic transcripts have become the norm. These condensed, digital records offer numerous benefits that allow attorneys, judges, and clerks to quickly scan the document for specific testimony or words.
Using real time reporting technology, today’s court reporters are able to record spoken words and instantly transcribe them into text that can be viewed on a computer screen. This creates a rough transcript that judges and attorneys can then go over, whether to verify testimony or check an answer to a question posed during trial. When using real time reporting, court reporters provide attorneys with the ability to scroll through earlier testimony quickly and easily, to access time stamps, and to mark specific testimony to revisit later.
Today, court reporters are able to deliver innovative solutions to their clients by harnessing the newest and most advanced technology. At Boss, we remain on the forefront of the industry by continually innovating and improving our services. As the leading partner to South Florida law firms for more than 20 years, we take great pride is offering our clients the most advanced court reporting services. Call us at 954-467-6867 to find out more or fill out our online form to request a quote.
These toxic individuals must be defused. Here’s how:
There are difficult people everywhere. You know – the ones who challenge your patience, insist on having things their way, and are constantly annoying, pushy, and controlling. In life, it’s nearly impossible to avoid encounters with folks who are tough to get along with. But when it comes to your law firm, you must be able to identify these individuals and keep them from wreaking havoc on your practice. Here’s a run-down of our favorite difficult people and how you can counteract them:
The Drama Queen
Despite the feminine connotation of the term, the drama queen can be male or female. This is the person who always has some emergency, major issue, or problem taking over their life (and it’s usually never their fault). They are always making mistakes and blaming others; always claiming to be the victim of someone else’s error; and blowing issues out of proportion. The drama queen often spends a lot of time rushing around in a panic, calling you, and badgering your inbox with an elaborate tale to weasel their way out of a missing deadline.
Handling the drama queen takes a lot of perseverance. You need to begin to hold this person accountable for his or her own mistakes. It may seem easier to beat around the bush, and it probably is, in the short term, but it’s crucial to stress the importance of personal responsibility. Implement a system of consequences when an error occurs or a deadline is missed. If necessary, keep a progress record and even consider putting them on probation if things don’t improve.
The Smarty Pants
Everyone has met a know-it-all and it’s not surprising that most law firms have at least one of these types amongst them. And although the smarty pants people are typically smart and usually well-equipped to excel at their jobs, their giant egos and seemingly superlative intelligence tend to get in the way quite often. Nobody really likes a know-it-all, and having an attorney in your midst who cuts others off when they’re trying to get a point across can be a total hazard. It’s time to take action.
Wrangle your smarty pants attorneys by giving them complex and difficult cases to work. Doing this will not only keep them occupied and engaged, it may also make them less inclined to impart unnecessary wisdom on the cases of others.
The “woe is me” person can really have a detrimental effect on your team. Identify this crybaby by their inclination to complain and find the negative in every situation. Although they’re mostly talk, it’s precisely this type of attitude that can bring the team down and cause morale to slump. While they usually don’t mean any harm, dealing with the bellyacher is crucial to ensuring that their mindset doesn’t impact your firm’s culture or productivity.
Helping your bellyacher understand that it’s important to have boundaries and to stick to facts could be a bit of a challenge. Take some time to explain that you are willing to listen, but they must respect the firm’s goal to remain a positive environment.
We’ve all had to deal with a co-worker who is self-centered, has temper tantrums, and refuses to see other’s points of view. This person is manipulative and does whatever it takes to get his or her way. The baby can cause major upset in your firm if not handled properly because they don’t often consider other’s feelings. Unfortunately, the baby is usually ok with stepping on toes, doing things behind people’s back, and solely having their own interests at heart.
Putting the baby in his or her place is essential to your firm’s survival. In fact, if you can’t get this person back down to earth, you may consider getting rid of them promptly. Having an egocentric employee on your team can compel quality attorneys to seek employment elsewhere – the last thing you need or want to happen.
Having difficult people in your firm can adversely affect your team, your level of productivity, and your success. Follow these tips on identifying and mitigating them, and if all else fails, take the appropriate action to protect your practice.
Check out our blog for more helpful ways to improve your law firm. Remember to turn to us when you need experienced, real-time court reporters. We lead the industry and have been the preferred partner of law firms throughout South Florida for more than two decades. Schedule your court reporter online or give us a call at 954-467-6867.
Follow these tips and get them cheering!
When was the last time you gave a rave review for a product or service? We’ve all had experiences that we can’t wait to share with others, sometimes because they were so positive and especially when it’s something that often doesn’t turn out so well (like actually having the cable guy show up and fix your cable).
As a lawyer, have you ever thought about how amazing it would be if your clients were going around town singing your praises? Referrals are still one of the most powerful ways to obtain new clients and truly, getting them doesn’t have to be difficult – that is, if you give your current clients a good reason to be happy.
Understanding your client’s priorities
All the experience and training in the world does nothing for you if you can’t treat your clients the way they want and need to be treated. And while every individual is different, getting to know each one, truly listening to their needs, and gaining an understanding of what they expect will go a long way toward turning them into fans.
Think about the client who expects constant communication or the one who prefers that you only update them once a week through email, for examples. Everyone’s experience and expectations dictate how they perceive your service, and giving it to them exactly as they wish (when possible) is not only satisfying, it’s rave-worthy.
Address issues head-on
Nobody’s perfect and you’re not always going to do everything right, right? But do you remember the last time you were miffed about an experience you had with a company and how they handled your complaint? If you’ve ever felt surprised and delighted by how your issue was addressed and corrected, then you already know how important it is to face problems head on.
When a client feels they’ve been mistreated or is upset because of how their case was being handled, it’s crucial to face it and fix it immediately – even if you were doing what you thought was right. Doing so shows your client how important they are to you and that you’re paying attention to their needs.
Sometimes trouble is brewing well before the storm hits. In the case of your law practice, you may have a client who is just stewing away, upset about a phone call they didn’t get fast enough. It often doesn’t matter why they’re upset or if their anger is warranted, it usually matters how you handle it. But what if you have no clue that he or she is feeling the way they are?
A good way to avoid these types of circumstances is to ask for feedback on a consistent basis. Whether you shoot your client an email after meeting with them to ask how they are feeling and if they have any questions or concerns, or you set up a call schedule to reach out to them throughout the case, being proactive can head off potential issues.
Fill them in
You’re the legal expert and that’s why your clients turn to you. But sharing some of your knowledge and expertise not only sheds light on what you’re doing, it also makes clients feel like trusted allies. And trusted allies soon become happy fans. Sharing tidbits of information when you can adds value to the service you’re providing and helps them understand why you’re taking the steps you are.
Harness their happiness
When you get positive feedback from a client, you feel great, right? Well, there’s nothing wrong with asking them to share their experience with others. Sometimes even the most delighted customers don’t think about posting a review or giving a shout out. So, next time you get a thank you note or a positive email, feel free to mention how important referrals are and how much you’d appreciate it if they would keep you in mind the next time someone they know needs legal assistance.
When you think about all the times you’ve raved to others about a positive experience, realize that turning your clients into fans is just that easy. Giving them the service they expect (and exceeding it whenever possible), showing them how important they are, and being responsive when problems do arise will get them singing your praises all over town.
For more helpful advice on how to improve or grow your practice, check our blog often. And remember, Boss Reporting is the leading real-time reporting agency in South Florida, offering services for trials, depositions, mediations, arbitrations, conferences, and meetings. Schedule your court reporter online or call 954-467-6867 to find out more about what we can do for you.
How well are you communicating?
As an attorney, you are constantly communicating. Whether it’s writing emails or briefs, in person, or on the phone, every interaction you have requires you to do it effectively. You need to engage with a variety of different audiences, including clients, witnesses, judges, attorneys, and juries, so having the skill to adapt and deliver your message correctly is key to your success. But while it may seem like a pretty straightforward thing, many attorneys aren’t masters at the art of communication. With that in mind, here are some tips on improving these skills:
Follow the golden rule
Remember when you were a kid and your mother told you to treat others as you would want to be treated? Well, the same goes for communication. How does it make you feel when someone interrupts you, talks over you, or appears as if they aren’t listening when you speak to them? Remember to allow others to finish speaking before you respond and to not raise your voice (unless you’re doing so for dramatic appeal during your opening or closing arguments). Although you may feel passionate about the case or the subject matter, it’s important to be mindful of how your communication is going to be perceived.
Consider your audience
Before you speak or write, think about who your audience is. For example, a brief intended for a judge should provide the right information to achieve the result you’re looking for. A motion to compel, for example, will likely include a lot more background and information than if you were shooting off an email to a client to update him or her on the case.
It’s not uncommon for attorneys to give too much or too little information, or be scattered in their communication rather than focusing on the most necessary points to accomplish, whatever the goal may be. A good practice is to ask yourself these questions: Who am I talking to? What do I want this person to do, say, think, or feel?
Give your ego a rest
It’s not always easy to let go of vanity or insecurities. But when you’re attempting to get a point across, no matter the audience, communication should be about them and what you hope to impart while interacting with them. Thoughtfulness (that golden rule again), creativity, and intelligence are always a good bet.
Keep it short and sweet
‘As short as possible, as long as necessary’ is a great rule to follow when you’re creating any sort of communication. Overwhelming your audience with too much information will just ensure that they stop listening or stop reading. If you want to grab someone’s attention and keep it, it’s best to make it as concise and to the point as possible. Some attorneys become verbose and their communication becomes ineffective.
Listen, listen, listen
One of the biggest complaints people have when dealing with doctors, lawyers, and other highly-skilled professionals is that these folks just don’t listen to them. It’s tempting to rush a client or a junior attorney out of your office when you have about a million other important things to take care of. But listening is a skill you need to master in order to communicate effectively. Lend an attentive ear to everyone you’re engaging with and you’ll find that you not only gain respect and attention back from them, but that every encounter you have will be more productive.
Being an effective communicator does not come naturally to everyone. But if you follow these tips and remember the golden rule, you’ll find you can improve your skills and make the most of every interaction.
If you’re looking for more ways to improve your practice, keep checking our blog. And if you need a real-time court reporter, get in touch with us today. We have the most experienced and highly skilled team in the industry. Fill out our online form to request a quote or give us a call at 954-467-6867.
Forget the stereotypes – these folks are poised to be the next generation of legal powerhouses
The millennial generation consists of 80 million people, and many of them are either getting ready to enter the workforce or have already done so. And before too long, they will make up the largest percentage of the today’s workers – which means all businesses, including law firms, need to have a handle on the younger generation. This includes recognizing who they are, what makes them tick, and how to manage their unique skills and capabilities. Here are some important considerations and tips on how to make the most of your relationship with millennials:
Accept that it may be temporary
Whether it’s because they are multipotentialites (professionals who pursue several career paths instead of just one) or they’re not too keen on the 30-year, stay-at-the-same-firm plan, millennials tend to be movers. Many of them are looking for experience and are willing to pay their dues to get it, but will likely move on to the next position that offers even greater exposure and opportunity when it comes their way.
Does this mean you shouldn’t hire a millennial? By all means, no. Remember, they will not only soon make up the bulk of qualified applicants in the job market but they also have a ton to offer – even if for just a brief year or two at your firm.
Tell them what you think
This generation is the first in history to be born into the Internet era, so it’s no great mystery why they expect to have information available at their fingertips at all times. They’ve never had to wait to find out their grades in school, to hear back from a professor, or to get any other information they need. It’s also important to note that many of these folks have been raised by parents who praised them often; and when it comes to the workplace, millennials have the same desires and expectations. To keep them motivated and engaged, it’s important to offer consistent feedback, regular performance reviews, and to ensure that they feel involved and appreciated.
Share your vision
One characteristic that most millennials share is the desire to live a life of purpose. For the young attorney, it’s important that you share your vision for the firm and define how their role helps you achieve it. Law firms that offer development, training and growth opportunities, or allow their new associates the opportunity to explore more than one practice group will experience a much higher level of engagement.
It may be hard for seasoned attorneys to wrap their heads around this concept, but for the millennials, it’s sometimes more about the “why” than about how much money they will be making. In fact, while pay is of course important, this generation tends to place a high value on working for a purpose.
Be open to a flexible schedule
All work and no play makes … well, you know the rest. And while their parents may have a different view, millennials desire and expect a career that will offer flexibility and a good life-work balance. They are willing to work hard, but they also want to have the ability to get in their exercise, see their friends, or spend time with their family.
One of the most significant ways to keep them happy is by providing them the opportunity to work from home (or just remotely via Wi-Fi) if they want to. With the ability to do anything via the Internet, there are fewer reasons not to provide this flexibility. And most folks in this generation will tell you that they are even more productive when they’re able to knock out a few hours of work at night from home.
Don’t forget about technology
There are numerous benefits to working with a group of tech-savvy millennials. Besides the fact that they know how to get hard-to-find information fast, they’re also up on all the latest and greatest apps that can make jobs easier and more efficient. If your law firm isn’t tech friendly, it’s a good idea to explore moving in that direction. This will not only ensure your millennials are satisfied, but also that they can communicate and work in the manner they’re most comfortable with.
They’ve been called lazy, entitled, and non-conformist, among other things. And whether or not those stereotypes are fair, the truth is, many millennials are different from preceding generations. But their unique qualities, skills, and personality characteristics can be of great value to any organization, as long as they’re managed appropriately. When it comes to your law firm, follow these tips to make the most of your relationship with this new generation of legal professionals.
For more useful tips on how to improve your law firm, check our blog often. At Boss Reporting, we’re not only your partner in the court room, we also strive to be a leading source of valuable industry information. Get in touch with us today to request a real time reporter from our highly-skilled team.
Don’t wait to get hacked to take the precautionary steps
Technology, like all innovation, is subject to those who will use it do unscrupulous things. So anyone doing business today, including attorneys, needs to be aware of the dangers of a cyber breach and related crimes. In fact, just a few short months ago, nearly 50 law firms found out the hard way just how important cyber security is when they became the victims of a group of Russian hackers. Although the targeted firms were ones that deal with the financial services and trading industry, the harsh reality of data theft is one that all lawyers need to be cognizant of and militant about. Here are some tips on how to handle cyber security:
1. Ditch the “Not Me” thinking
Everybody does it. But thinking that a cyber-crime won’t happen to you can be almost as dangerous as the crime itself. Every lawyer needs to be aware that the dangers apply to them and that information is not safe unless you take action to protect it. Although you may not consider your firm to be high tech, any files you have stored on your own servers or in the cloud are vulnerable.
2. Be vigilant about backing up
We all know the importance and value of backing up data. But if you get the least bit lax about it or you don’t have a system set up for regular back-ups, you could get into trouble. You never know when a breach will occur so it’s best to be prepared. If you use the cloud, make sure you’ve discussed your back-up options with your provider and that your data is replicated in different locations in the event that one of the servers is compromised.
3. Assess your system
If you have an IT department, it is a good idea to have your team do a thorough review of your computer system and network to determine risk potential. Hire a professional consultant if you don’t have your own IT team – it is just that important. Look at your encryption and who has access to what information in your firm. Remember that less is more; the fewer people who have access to confidential information, the lower the risk of an internal breach.
4. Consider two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication is becoming more and more popular as data breaches become more common. Although it’s an extra step, using this method to authenticate users can help immensely in preventing risk to your online accounts. You are likely familiar with this process (even though you may not realize it), if you have a debit card.
The way it works is that there are two factors required to sign into an account; in the case of your debit card, it’s the card itself and your pin number. In most cases, the two factors are something the user has and something only the user knows. This process makes it harder for hackers because they need more than just the password to get in.
5. Train everyone on how to spot phishing schemes and scams
Your entire team should be trained on cyber security and stay aware of what scams and phishing emails look like. It only takes one click from a well-meaning but unaware staff member to break a huge hole in your security. Go over the common tactics used in phishing attacks and remind everyone never to open an email they are unsure of or to click on a link that doesn’t look right. One half of all Internet users receive at least one phishing email per day and these types of attacks cost businesses around the world more than $4.5 billion per year. Some tips to avoid opening a malicious email:
- Never click on a link or attachments from an unknown source
- Banks, credit card companies, and other financial institutions won’t ask you for your account information via email
- Phishers often use the words “urgent” or “your account has been suspended”
- Major brands and corporations won’t have spelling and grammatical errors (phishing emails often do)
- The IRS and other government agencies will never email you and ask for information
- Never give any personal information online
Attorneys, just like other professionals, are not immune to cyber-crimes. So if you haven’t taken any steps to protecting your data and your network, follow these tips. Remember, data breaches can happen at any time and when they do, you could be held liable for the loss of confidential client information, not to mention endanger your practice.
For more tips on improving your practice, be sure to visit our blog often. At Boss Reporting, it’s our goal to be your partner for all your court reporting needs and to be a resource of valuable industry information. And if you need a real-time reporter, give us a call at 954-467-6867 or fill out our online quote request form today.
The straight up from a veteran court reporter
It’s not uncommon for attorneys and their clients to forget that a court reporter is present during a deposition—after all, they sit quietly, typing away without making a sound or reacting to the testimony being given. And while it may seem very simple and straightforward, the reality is, court reporters have a lot to say – and would offer up several important tips to attorneys, if given the opportunity.
In fact, knowing these things may serve to make depositions go more smoothly and create a more accurate transcript. Here’s your chance to get this information straight from a court veteran – check out these five things all court reporters want attorneys to know about depositions:
1. Mumbling is a no-no
Before beginning a deposition, be sure to remind your client that uh-huhs and um-hums are no-nos. Court reporters can’t really write those kinds of responses and if your witness uses these phrases, you risk getting a lot of [inaudible] comments and an inaccurate transcript. It’s a good idea to stress that court reporters record every word and sound you make during a deposition, so make sure to speak clearly and loud enough to be heard properly.
2. Hold your fire when marking exhibits
If you’re one of those attorneys that keeps firing away questions while your court reporter is marking exhibits, you’re making it impossible to record things accurately. Everyone’s in a hurry these days, but when you’re doing a deposition, you can’t afford to rush. So when you ask your court reporter to mark an exhibit, take a deep breath and allow a pause before you continue with your questioning.
3. Food for thought
Court reporters are highly-skilled professionals, but they cannot be expected to record a deposition while eating. So if your deposition is going to take several hours and you plan on bringing in food to work through lunch, remember to give your court reporter a break to grab a bite and get refreshed. It’s unfair to assume that they should go on working while everyone in the room is eating.
4. Slow down and don’t quote with punctuation
If you’re reading from a document that all parties all familiar with, remember that your court reporter is most likely not. So you should never speed read anything; in many cases, this will just slow down the whole procedure because you’ll be asked to repeat yourself. Also, remember not to state punctuation like commas or parenthesis out loud, otherwise these things will be spelled out in the transcript. If quotation marks are needed for exact quotes, your court reporter will fill them in after the deposition.
5. Take turns
Remember what your mother taught you when you were a kid? The same lesson holds true in your depositions. Not only is it good manners and proper etiquette to take turns while speaking, it’s necessary to get an accurate transcript—a court reporter can’t capture who said what if everyone is talking at the same time.
For your next deposition, be mindful of these important tips that can make the process run smoothly and with the highest degree of accuracy. And if you need a real-time reporter, give us a call at 954-467-6867 or fill out our online quote request form. Our team of reporters is dedicated to providing you with the highest quality transcripts and to fulfilling all of your reporting needs, whether it’s in the courtroom or during depositions, arbitrations, mediations, or conferences.
Before you jump on every technology bandwagon—read this.
There’s always so much buzz surrounding advances in technology—so much so that many businesses, law firms included, find themselves scrambling to get onboard, afraid they’ll be left behind if they don’t implement the latest apps. And while we all know how valuable many of these new tools can be, they can’t all be a necessity for everyone, can they? If you’re striving to be a tech-friendly firm, it’s important to take into consideration several factors.
Your area of expertise
A law firm that specializes in personal injury is going to have dramatically different needs than one that serves the real estate industry or corporate clients. Each of these types of practices will obtain clients uniquely, will have diverse advertising strategies, and communicate differently with their clients and prospects.
A personal injury firm, for example, isn’t looking for repeat business from the same customer, but will use various forms of media to communicate their services to the public. And while a corporate lawyer may have a big presence on social media for marketing, he or she may get most clients through referrals from CEOs. Websites are a necessity for every law firm as a source of information and references, but being active on social media is not as important for some practice areas.
Technology can increase efficiency—but it won’t necessarily make you more successful
There are many successful law firms out there that don’t use some of the newest technology. The cloud, for example (technology that allows you to store, share, and access files remotely and not on your firm’s physical server), is not being widely used by firms as of yet. And while there are attorneys who rely on the cloud to safely store sensitive information, this technology is still daunting to many.
The same goes for practice management software, Adobe Acrobat applications, OneNote, and other applications. Are the law firms who aren’t onboard with these tools losing business because of it? Maybe or maybe not. Because while many of these nifty platforms can help you complete tasks faster and with more efficiency, unless they affect the way you handle your cases and your clients, they’re not necessarily a game changer.
Tech-friendly isn’t just for the big dogs
If you’re a small firm or a solo attorney, you may be under the impression that unless you have an IT department or a big budget, you shouldn’t be messing with advanced tech-tools. But in reality, many of the top new apps and software are totally intuitive, very affordable, and can be managed by pretty much anyone with a computer, tablet or smartphone.
There’s always room for applications that can make your job easier and help you run things (even on the back-end) more effectively. From dictating tools that allow you to record your ideas or important facts on a case via your smartphone (while you’re on the go) to those that make it possible to video conference or create a paperless deposition, there is an array of highly-useful technology.
Trying to keep up with the technological revolution is not something all law firms aspire to and there’s no reason to rush into becoming a cutting-edge tech firm. The key is to consider who your clients are, how best to communicate with them, and how well your organization is running. If you find that you could make your job easier and your firm more productive, do your homework and find the tools that are most applicable to your specialty.
For more industry information and tips on improving your legal practice, be sure to check our blog. And if you’re in need of real-time court reporting, give us a call at 954-467-6867 or fill out a quote request form.
When you add in hard work and years of experience … maybe.
Think for a moment about how much technology has impacted industries and the professionals in them. From how doctors diagnose and treat illnesses to how musicians record and sell their music, the way people do business has been dramatically changed by the advent of cutting-edge technology. So as an attorney you may be thinking about the ways you could use tech to improve your practice and your skills. And while it cannot necessarily make you a better lawyer, there are numerous ways it can help. Take a look:
New technologies and advanced apps have taken the world by storm and the legal industry is no exception. If you haven’t already invested in or started using some of the most popular tools designed to make running your firm and serving your clients more efficient, it’s time you did. Some of the top apps and software solutions that successful lawyers are using include:
Adobe Acrobat Professional: This software solution replaces the manual method of Bates Labeling and redacting documents, making the whole process electronic, easier, and much faster.
Evernote Scannable: Point your smartphone at a doc, a receipt, or a whiteboard and this nifty app will capture the image and automatically rotate, crop and adjust it. Then, you’ll have a digital image that not only looks exactly like the original document, but is shareable and saved.
Chrome Remote Desktop: Need to retrieve a document while you’re meeting with a client? With Chrome Remote Desktop you can access it and share it from anywhere.
Dragon Dictate: How often do you think of the perfect closing argument while you’re driving home from the office or on your way to a meeting? With this app, you can dictate your idea before you forget it. It’s also handy for dictating notes for a case and anything else that you need to remember but can’t write down at that moment.
Any.do: Never miss a meeting or forget to file a motion with this sophisticated task management app. It even offers geolocation and other really cool features that allow you to create your own custom reminders in relation to where you are at the time (like reminding you to file a motion as you’re driving by the courthouse).
Paperless depo software: Replace the piles and piles of printed documents often involved in depositions with a paperless deposition solution. There are numerous products out there that are easy to use and offer an array of useful features beyond paperless capability, including giving you access to exhibits and depositions from anywhere at any time.
Video conferencing: Need to do a remote deposition? Or how about doing several in one day without the need to travel back and forth between clients? While some depositions require a one-on-one, many don’t and having the ability to do it via video conferencing can save time and money.
OneNote: While there will likely always be a place for yellow legal pads, this app makes it easier and more efficient to take, save, and organize notes. It’s got advanced capabilities that also enable you to record a video (like of a focus group) or to take notes and sync them with the video and any other notes you’ve compiled for a case. You may never have to scour through pages of hand-written pads again!
These tools are just a few of the many that are designed to make running your law practice easier and serving your clients more efficient. So while technology can’t improve your knowledge or skills as an attorney, it most certainly can help you improve the way you run your firm.