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Keeping Up Momentum After a Law Firm Retreat or Workshop

June 14, 2013

Filed under: Lawyer Coaching,Practice Growth — Tags: , — admin @ 7:00 am

So, you just attended the most amazing law firm workshop ever! You took copious notes. You’re inspired, feeling innovative and charged up. On the plane ride (or car ride) home from this law firm retreat, you feel ready to break down any barriers that kept your law practice stifled and struggling. Your brain is bursting with ideas to market to prospective clients, improve a document drafting process, or reorganize client files.

Good for you.

Trouble is, you’re returning to an office brimming with distracting interruptions, booby-trapped with unplanned meetings, and occupied by a frustrated staff that’s ready to punish you for your selfish absence by dumping all the new problems that popped up while you were gone — kerplop — right onto your desk.

You’ll be back to a frustrating square one position, putting out fires, fixing mistakes and flailing to keep on top of an ocean of “urgent” emails that must be read and voicemails that must be returned.

It’s crucial to keep the momentum alive, or all the money and time you spent away from your desk will be wasted. You’ll lose traction, confidence, and any hope you felt when you attended the workshop or retreat.

To get the most out of the next workshop or retreat that you attend, I have three important recommendations for you:

First, and this is the most important suggestion, block off an implementation day or a half day on your calendar on the first day you return to the office. After that implementation day, you should set aside perhaps two hours a week to work on the project ideas that came out of the session.

When you sit down to register for that next great legal workshop, look at your calendar. If the first day that you return to the office is blank, quickly block off the entire day as busy. If there are already appointments, delegate your assistant to reschedule those calls and meetings. If a court date can’t be moved, then pick the very next day for your implementation day.

Explain to your assistant that you absolutely cannot be interrupted during that day. No client appointments. No staff meetings. And absolutely no “Mrs. Jones is on line two and wants to talk to you for a few minutes.”

Second, during this implementation day, schedule another one about 90 days out. This can be a mini-retreat for you and your key assistant or law partners. I recommend doing this out of the office, keeping you away from distractions while you review progress from the first 90 days and set new goals for the next quarter.

I want you to create good habits, and future planning is crucial to your practice’s growth. Do you want to be back to square one every 90 days with the same uncompleted goals, or do you want to mark off your team’s progress so that you can move on to greater things and greater revenue?

Third, name a project manager for each project. One person can oversee several projects, but I want you to pick someone other than you or other attorneys at your firm.

“Oh no,” you say. “I’m a control freak, and I simply can’t fathom handing over the reins to anyone on my staff.”

You’ve got to trust the people you’ve hired with at least some of the responsibilities to grow the practice, or they will never grow as individuals professionally. Keep them out of the loop, and you are risking that they will look elsewhere for those challenges.

What’s my other reason for saying lawyers should not be the project managers? Well, I think the most successful lawyers chiefly focus on two things:

  1. production work — so that they can fulfill promises to clients
  2. marketing — meeting with referral sources, clients and prospective clients

Everything else is secondary. You, as the attorney, should not be doing all the initial footwork on choosing your practice’s new email marketing service, buying a new document scanner, or inputting a client’s information into the CRM system.

Assigning someone on your staff the role of project manager can help foster a feeling of ownership in the firm’s success and a huge sense of accomplishment when the task is done. This person will hold team members accountable for fulfilling their responsibilities in finishing the project — even you.

I hope my thoughts here have helped you consider new ways to grow your practice and improve your life. I have some great worksheet tools for setting goals and managing projects that I’m happy to share with you. If you’d like a copy of “My Top 10 Crucial Goals” or “My Great Quarter,” email my project manager, Mike Wells, at

As always, if you ever have any questions or suggestions for this blog, contact me.

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