The Suite Spot

  It is important to recognize that each attorney is unique and may have unique needs, therefore each onboarding situation should be tailored to the attorney.   When a law firm hires an attorney from another firm, certain challenges need to be addressed. It is prudent to address these issues prior to day one, before the lateral attorney becomes an entrenched member of the firm. It is equally important to recognize that each attorney is…
  It is important for all businesses, especially law firms, to control operating expenses.   The goal of all law firms is to be profitable, but achieving that goal can be difficult for some lawyers. Generating income is, obviously, the first step towards making a profit; of course, income can only be generated if billable hours are accurately recorded and invoiced to clients, and if payments for those invoices are collected. Moreover, all firms, no…
  Financial management needs to be a priority especially for solos or boutique firms.   Picture this: a new client retained the firm, timely work was performed, invoices were prepared and sent to the client and yet those invoices remain unpaid. Sound familiar? Many law firms have very high accounts receivable balances that are aged over 120 days and these high and aged invoices directly affect the firm’s overall financial health. While it may be…
  It’s important to remember that improving operations, no matter how seemingly minor the change is, will have a positive impact on the firm’s profitability and overall health.   In most law practices, a qualified professional can predict the costs associated with operating a firm relatively accurately. Most expenses are easily forecasted including salaries, facilities and technology. However, revenue is a bit more difficult to predict. Maintaining and attracting clients is key to increasing revenue.…
  While many providers mention that their data center (for example, AWS or Azure) is compliant, that doesn’t mean that the platform itself has been put through the paces of a SOC 2 audit.   With cybersecurity threats on the rise, it is imperative that firms proactively improve internal and external security protocols. Keeping confidential information and sensitive client data secure means extending such protocols to each software vendor. It’s important to check the data…
Legal professionals use a wide variety of tools and methods for tracking time spent on billable matters. Some are sophisticated, while others are more problematic and error-prone; for example, lawyers who use giant spreadsheets that are updated at the end of each day or week or sticky notes to jot down each task by hand. These antiquated, and inefficient, methods result in reduced amount of captured billable hours with corresponding loss of revenue. They also…
Organizational change is the only way to be proactive, rather than reactive, in continuing to develop your firm from the ground up. Krystal Champlin, the CEO of RJH Consulting, discussed taking steps to grow your law firm in a Zola Suite-sponsored ALA Webcast on April 14th. The webcast explored the five stages law firms commonly go through and how the “STARS” framework (which stands for Start-Up, Turnaround, Accelerated Growth, Realignment, and Sustaining Success) can help…
  Making a move from one firm to another is a major career transition and due diligence is necessary.   When considering a lateral move to another firm, it is important for an attorney to make the appropriate inquiries into each potential firm. A thorough investigation into any potential new firm is necessary, now, more than ever as the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the practice of law. Remote work is very common and will continue…
  When considering starting a boutique law firm, there are many issues that need to be addressed prior to the first day of business.   When considering starting a boutique law firm, there are many issues that need to be addressed prior to the first day of business. For instance, if a lawyer is leaving another firm, it is critical that the lawyer read any documentation or current firm policies regarding clients and transferring data.…
Measuring the productivity and profitability of your timekeepers is rarely straightforward. There is, of course, the hourly rate and total billable hours for any given matter, but that fails to look at all the different variables: differing rates by matter or client and time spent on the matter that can’t be billed to the client (or is eventually written off). In understanding a firm’s profitability, and the contributions of attorneys, determining the effective rate of…