Archive for the ‘Practice management’ Category

Billing methods: time or value?

May 26, 2008

This video has a terrific practical discussion about how different consultants set their fees.

And it’s not always about the hours spent or the money you need. They look at value to the client, the relationship with the client, the quality of the work, your differentiation and other factors.

But ultimately it’s negotiation with the client as you discuss the project. Otherwise you turn yourself into a commodity with a fixed price.


Project management and value billing

January 29, 2008

Professionals tend to ignore the key factor behind the client’s perception of whether fees are reasonable: the way the risks in a project (matter) are handled and the results achieved.

Project management is not just a claims prevention tool. It is also a quality management tool.

But how can a matter which potentially has many strands be managed effectively, on a fixed budget (at a profit)? Well, if builders can do it, why can’t lawyers and accountants.

If you know what is involved in the project and can complete it at a fixed cost, thus removing the unknown hourly cost risk from the client’s concerns, why not do so? You don’t have to time bill everything.

Ron Baker from VeraSage explains in this post a good way of approaching project management for complex matters.

If  what he says sounds attractive then read his other posts on value billing especially this one about Australian accountant Matthew Tol.

Technology update: are you taking advantage of 2008?

January 4, 2008

Effective use of technology means that small office and home office professionals can match (and outgun) their big firm counterparts. But not doing something puts you at risk.

Take some time from the slow holiday season to rethink your risk management and work effectiveness.

For example, hanging on to an out of date PC can not only slow you down. It can put you at risk of a crash and loss of time and data.

So I recently retired a PC I was using that had been struggling along with 256MB of memory (Hint: keep expanding memory as it is one of the cheapest and effective ways of improving performance). I replaced my Dell with an Acer Veriton L460 with 2gb of memory. At the same time I increased the memory on another PC from 512MB to 1gb and on a notebook to 1.5gb.

I’m reviewing my back up procedures and have done a general clean up and office redesign.

Here are some of the articles I referred to:

Tech Greats for ’08

How to set up your new computer

And some great home office articles:

Home office update

Home office warrior

Designing a new home office

BONUS: Digital marketing for modern firms (David Maister)

Sites for solos

November 18, 2007

Here are links to 2 collections of sites relevant to solos:

Sites for sore eyes has links to tech sites to help you understand how things work.

Blawg Review #132 is especially for Home Office Lawyers and Solo’s.

He offers the following words of encouragement:

Solo’s, independent practitioners, those that practice law from a home office tend to be innovative. We tend to be out in front. If for no other reason we have no one to answer to. We are the partnership committee. We are the marketing committee and we are the technology committee. For that reason, we tend to adopt new advances in those areas, dare I say, quicker.

Attracting and retaining new clients

October 23, 2007

David Maister wrote the book on what your client relationships should be based on : trust, not marketing hype (The Trusted Advisor).

He is this week’s host of Blawg Review and rounds up  some topical posts on practice management and marketing.

Look at these to start:

Reading for solos

October 8, 2007

Here are links to articles I’ve been meaning to write about.

I am sure you’ll find something of interest:

Take control: being productive

June 10, 2007

If you’re the sort of professional whose idea of organisation is to do whatever the next phone call or email says (at the same time as avoiding must do’s), then you need to change!

You’ll get burnt out, depressed and risk making mistakes.

Chuck Newton calls it the Lazy Lawyer Syndrome but it needs more than a nap or a break.

Have a look at Marc Andreessen’s Guide to Personal Productivity for some ideas about how to take contrl of your schedule and make you feel like you’re achieving something each day.  I always like to list at the end of each day what I MUST DO the next day. That way you’re off to a flying start each day.

Australian legal technology

October 20, 2006

All too often technology suppliers are simply interested in a product sale without making the effort of improving the profession’s knowledge of available solutions.

So if you’re wondering what’s available locally, check out the conferences organised by Simon Lewis and Australasian Legal Technology.

Solo resources

October 15, 2006

Some great articles for solos this month in Solo Newsletter (especially about mobile phones and smartphones) and Law Practice Today (especially on marketing).

Time Management

August 31, 2006

Are you being ripped off by time thieves?

Learn how to use time effectively and be more productive.

Massachusetts School of Law presents a video on Time Management.