FREE Webinar:
Kickoff 2021 – Law Firm Annual Planning for an Atypical Year

Have you taken the necessary steps to keep your firm in business and on course to meet your financial goals in this highly atypical year? When it comes to annual planning, leading law firms routinely assess three things: performance KPIs, infrastructure, and marketing. In our recent webinar, Law Firm Consultant, Jared Correia, discussed how legal professionals can kick off a strong, competitive 2021 with a strong focus on the aforementioned facets of their business.

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7:47 – Law Firm Marketing Post COVID

For a competitive year following a pandemic, it’s imperative for law firms to show up online in a way that prospective legal consumers can research, find, and hire you with ease. To that end, Jared Correia reveals the top marketing tactics attorneys must employ in 2021 to control how you are perceived in the legal marketplace and attract the right clients.

23:16 – Performance KPIs That Actually Matter in 2021

Performance benchmarks such as yearly billing quotas or hours billed allow law firms to push towards a desired outcome and make inroads to effectual change. But where to start? In this segment, Jared Correia explains how attorneys can identify their core KPIs, set realistic performance goals, and then act upon those benchmarks. It all starts with gathering simple data.

38:25 – Infrastructure

Implementing tools such as law practice management software and VOIP phone systems enable law firms to not only keep cases on track regardless but also communicate seamlessly with clients and staff regardless of location or catastrophic circumstance. In this segment, Jared Correia and Casey Patterson discuss the required hardware and software required to bring law firms to full remote working sustainability.

47:00 – Company Culture (And Why You Shouldn’t Ignore It)

In a time when connectivity between staff members is more important than ever, infusing your firm with a company culture serves to bring camaraderie and morale back to the law firm. In this segment, we reveal what law firms are doing in 2021 to keep staff engaged and incentivized to perform at the top of their game.

Transcript

Casey Patterson:

Hello everyone and welcome to our kickoff 2021 webinar. I can’t believe it’s 2021. We’re so excited to have you here. As we get started though and as people start joining, we’re going to do a little icebreaker trivia question so you can get your chat fingers going. But first, everyone needs to flip to… In Zoom, there’s a feature where you flip to everyone and you chat everyone, not just… I think that the default is you just chat the panelists but we want it to go to everyone so everyone can see what you’re saying. So without looking it up, please put in the chat what you think the number one stream show on Netflix was in 2020?

 

Jared Correia:

I’m going to refrain. I know the answer.

 

Casey Patterson:

Okay. Yeah… We already talked about it. So you don’t get to answer.

 

Jared Correia:

By the way, mine says all panelists and attendees so maybe people have that option too, just in case.

 

Casey Patterson:

That works, too. Okay, Cobra Kai.

 

Jared Correia:

Good guess.

 

Casey Patterson:

That is a good guess. Tiger King.

 

Jared Correia:

Tiger King.

 

Casey Patterson:

That is a good guess. That was early in 2020.

 

Jared Correia:

Yeah. Remember the early days of the pandemic when Tiger King was king?

 

Casey Patterson:

Remember when the early days of the pandemic when we were going to be here for eight weeks and it was really intense. Oh my gosh, eight weeks.

 

Jared Correia:

Oh yeah, I remember that. That was hard. Even harder. We got some good guesses here. Ozark, Schitt’s Creek. These are good.

 

Casey Patterson:

These are good. Ozark.

 

Jared Correia:

Those are all legitimate contenders.

 

Casey Patterson:

I will say no one’s gotten it. Any other guesses before I reveal?

 

Jared Correia:

Casey, which is your favorite of the shows that are on the board right now? Mine is Ozark.

 

Casey Patterson:

I have to admit, I haven’t seen any of these shows.

 

Jared Correia:

Oh, man you have need to watch them.

 

Casey Patterson:

But I have seen the number one show. Have you seen it?

 

Jared Correia:

Yes. It was great.

 

Casey Patterson:

Okay. Queens Gambit was the number one show.

 

Jared Correia:

I don’t know. That was… Camille came in a little late. She might have heard you say Queens Gambit and typed it in.

 

Casey Patterson:

As soon as I was going… Actually I think that she had it typed up before because she sent it at the exact time I said it. Hey, great job Camille. It was Queen’s Gambit. Okay. Another one… She was typing, she clarified. Thanks Camille

 

Jared Correia:

I believe you Camille.

 

Casey Patterson:

Camille and Melissa flip to panelists and attendees or flip to everyone to make sure that you can be heard by everyone and everyone will see your chats. Okay, without looking it up. This one’s going to be interesting. What is the highest grossing movie? What was the highest grossing movie in the box office in 2020?

 

Jared Correia:

That’s a hard question. I don’t know this answer. So let me throw a guess in before you reveal.

 

Casey Patterson:

Guess.

 

Jared Correia:

Right now or later?

 

Casey Patterson:

Well, okay, let’s get some from the audience. Highest grossing box office movie. This is hard since you know.

 

Jared Correia:

I have a guess.

 

Casey Patterson:

It’s like was it February before the pandemic? Was it somehow during the pandemic? Anyone have a guess, highest grossing movie at the box office? Okay Jerry, let’s hear your guess.

 

Jared Correia:

I may have the year wrong, but I’m going to say Spider Man. Spider Man 2.

 

Casey Patterson:

Good guess, not the answer. The answer is Bad Boys For Life with Will Smith.

 

Jared Correia:

Oh, Mark Parmer. Shouts to Mark Parmer.

 

Casey Patterson:

Good job, Mark. Excellent.

 

Jared Correia:

Mark Palmer’s a bad boy for life. I just want to put it out there.

 

Casey Patterson:

Yes. Nice Mark. Lisa says Nice Mark. Lisa, make sure to flip to everyone instead of just panelists and attendees.

 

Jared Correia:

Wow. All right.

 

Casey Patterson:

All right. You guys crushed it. Queen Gambit was excellent. Very good if you haven’t seen it. Okay. Looks like everyone’s engaged. Thank you all for joining. Make sure to flip to everyone or panelists and attendees on your chat. We’re going to get started. So today we want to provide legal professionals with actionable steps to kick off a strong and competitive 2021 in a landscape that’s just obviously changed a lot. I think new normal is now old news, right? It’s like, whatever. This is just life now.

 

Jared Correia:

2021 also promising to be weird.

 

Casey Patterson:

Yes, weird and lots of changes ahead.

 

Jared Correia:

Right.

 

Casey Patterson:

Okay, so we’re going to focus on three areas, marketing. So how are you showing up? This is going to be important for your practice area and your region and also how you’re showing up in terms of digital marketing. Performance KPIs, so what are you focusing on? This is also I find really important for remote work. If your team is dispersed you need to have some accountability across the team as to what KPIs you’re hitting and then infrastructure. So hardware and software. Thoughts on these, Jared?

 

Jared Correia:

They’re all important. No, in all seriousness, this is something you should be focusing on at the start of the year. I’m not a practicing attorney but I consult With a lot of attorneys and I’m always surprised at how many lawyers skip forward to mid January. And then they’re like, “Oh, I haven’t done any planning for the new year.” And then you just don’t do anything. So what I would say is we’re at January 15th already but it’s not too late, right? Wouldn’t we all like to rewind to start 2021 over again? Well you have the chance to do that.

 

Jared Correia:

I think out of this list, probably one of the things I would focus on is data management and collection for law firms. Law firms are so reactive to everything and lawyers don’t make decisions based on data, they make ad hoc decisions based on their guts. In terms of marketing, in terms of infrastructure, and also performance, if you can focus on data, measuring that data and making decisions based on the data that’ll help you tremendously in the new year.

 

Casey Patterson:

Great. That’s so true. I’m so excited to get into more of that, especially in performance KPIs and marketing.

 

Jared Correia:

Right, yes.

 

Casey Patterson:

And quickly to preface, I work at MyCase. MyCase is a… I mean, does data management but it’s a practice management software for law firms. It allows you to work from anywhere because it’s cloud based. We’ll go into a little bit more of that at the end but wanted to put that upfront. My name is Casey, I do work at MyCase. I’ve worked here for over five years and I absolutely love helping attorneys run better businesses as I’m sure our guest host does too.

 

Casey Patterson:

If you were paying attention, you signed up for a webinar with a great guy named Jason Cole Meyer, he actually had to drop out due to some family medical issues. We’re thinking of him. He’s really awesome and we’re hoping to get him for a future webinar. But we have an equally awesome someone-

 

Jared Correia:

Probably not equally awesome.

 

Casey Patterson:

Equally awesome. Jared Correia. Do you want to introduce yourself a little bit?

 

Jared Correia:

Sure. Mary in the comments says, her firm uses MyCase and it’s awesome. So there you go. Thank you for the throw to me, Casey Patterson, MyCase employee, part time gardener. I am a business management consultant for lawyers and law firms. I’ve been doing that for about 15 years. In the course of that time, I’ve worked with about 4000 law firms to advise them on business strategy in terms of technology, marketing, financial management. I have a company called Red Cave Law Firm Consulting where I do that work. Again, I am not a practicing attorney like you’re expected guest but I work with a lot of practicing attorneys.

 

Casey Patterson:

Yep. We’re going to go through the same information that Jason shared. So it will be about Jason’s process, the original host process, 2021 planning and we’re going to add some commentary on to it as well.

 

Jared Correia:

I’m like the cover artist.

 

Casey Patterson:

Right. Featuring Jason Correia.

 

Jared Correia:

Yes.

 

Casey Patterson:

Okay, great. So focus area one is marketing. And before we get into it, we actually want to learn a little bit more about what you the audience does for marketing today. So I’m going to launch a poll here. What marketing tactics do you use right now? I’ll leave this up for about two minutes. Jared, do you have any… I mean, you’ve worked with law firms-

 

Jared Correia:

I venture some guesses.

 

Casey Patterson:

Yeah. What do you think is going to happen here?

 

Jared Correia:

I think that we’re going to see lots of folks looking at strategic website redesign and mobile optimized experience. I say that as I try to gain the poll numbers. No, just kidding. I am wondering if we’re going to see a lot of law firms focused on SEO this year. I’m going to say no. I’m going to throw it out there and say no.

 

Casey Patterson:

Really?

 

Jared Correia:

Yes.

 

Casey Patterson:

Why do you say that?

 

Jared Correia:

Those are my initial takeaways. I think a lot of law firms are reticent to invest in SEO just because there’s not as much understanding about that topic as there is about content marketing and building yourself out online that way. And also, it’s more costly than a lot of the other options we’re talking about here. Most law firms, not saying all, have a very limited marketing budget and could probably ramp up their marketing budget as well. SEO SEM, really valuable but I think there’s an educational gap for most attorneys there. But we’ll see. We’ll see if I’m right or not.

 

Casey Patterson:

Yeah, let’s take a look. So here are the results. Looks like our number one is… Can you see it by the way?

 

Jared Correia:

I can’t see the results. You can’t see the results.

 

Casey Patterson:

Okay. The number one is publishing blog and educational content, 63%.

 

Jared Correia:

I knew it, yes.

 

Casey Patterson:

Yep. And then strategic website redesign is number two. So You were on it there.

 

Jared Correia:

Oh my God. Wow.

 

Casey Patterson:

You really know our audience.

 

Jared Correia:

I just set up a high standard for the rest of the program now. That’s the problem.

 

Casey Patterson:

You need to be clairvoyant for the next 40 minutes. Then online digital advertising is third. Thank you all for putting that out there. We’re going to talk through some of these. The first one is leveling up your marketing strategy in 2021. Our original host, Jason, had a really interesting take on this that he’s focusing on positioning and competitive marketing in this area. He wants to be the number one law firm in his area which I don’t think is… Jared correct me if I’m wrong, most law firms might not think about it that way because the business side of their priorities is not number one.

 

Jared Correia:

Well, I think one of the issues that a lot of law firms have is they don’t have specific goals like that. So if I talk to a law firm, and I say, “Okay, how much money do you want to make this year?” They say, “As much as I can.” “How many clients do you want to bring in this year?” “As many as I can?” When you think like that, it’s almost too broad. When you’re talking about being number one in your area, there’s two questions that come to mind as far as I’m concerned.

 

Jared Correia:

Number one is, what area do you mean? Let’s say you’re an attorney in Texas, right? You may not want to be the number one attorney in Texas. Texas is a huge state. Maybe you want to be the number one attorney in Austin. Maybe you want to be the number one attorney in the suburbs of Houston. That is how I would break it down. I think, okay, where do I want to be number one? What general areas am I drawing my clients from?

 

Jared Correia:

As we’ll talk about, you could drill down into the data that exists in your law firm and help you to figure that out. Where are your clients from? You probably have a historical record of where they’re coming from. So you can double down on that, get more leads, get more chances to convert those clients. But the other thing that I talk with law firms about on a regular basis is what clients do you want? Because most law firms just think of this as I want as many clients as I can get without an idea of are these good clients for my firm or not.

 

Jared Correia:

So one thing you can do kicking off the new year, is to take a look at what your ideal client is. Many law firms don’t have an ideal client profile but it helps to have that. Are your clients going to be people with families? Are your clients going to be people who have a certain job, a certain income status? You want to know that ahead of time. You want to be able to relay that online, you also want to be able to relay that to referral sources by the way because you want to be doing less vetting on the back end. You want to make sure that people who are finding you are the right people.

 

Jared Correia:

If you’re not being thoughtful about this in the first instance, it’s going to be very unlikely that you get the people you actually want. You have to understand who they are first. So that’s step one.

 

Casey Patterson:

Great, setting up an ideal client or a profile of who you are walking in the door is a great first step to being competitive. Then from there, you can do some positioning and self assessment. Actually, competitive analysis is a way to do this. A third party competitive analysis. So hire some local marketing or branding agency to say, okay objectively, where do you fit into your market? Are you number one? Are you number 10? How can you move within that sphere incrementally? You can’t go from number 10 to number one in three days, you need to make it a long term process and set out long term objectives.

 

Jared Correia:

It’s funny. I’m always surprised at the lack of intellectual curiosity lawyers have over this. I get some lawyers who Google themselves, I get some lawyers who Google their practice. I get some lawyers who Google their competitors keywords. But very few do. So one of my favorite things to do when I get a new client is to Google them online and then tell them something they have no idea about. I’m like, Oh, this is on the first page of Google. They never know.

 

Jared Correia:

So doing this competitive analysis, not only does that require you to look at other firms in your area and what they’re doing but it also requires you to figure out how people can find you and how they’re finding out. There’s two distinct ways to look at this. If you’ve got referrals who are coming in and they’re warm, what are they going to do? They’re going to look for your website, they’re going to look for your name. So what happens when you search for those things? Most attorneys don’t have the intellectual curiosity to do that and to say, “Okay, what comes up?”

 

Jared Correia:

If I’m looking at the page one of results, do I control that or not? How many websites or directory profiles are listed there that I’ve actually completed that I actually have control over? Because what you want is to control that vanity search as much as you can. All those sites should be things you have control over, you should be pushing the narrative, not somebody else. So you want to know if you have negative reviews. You want to know if you have positive reviews. If you don’t have enough positive reviews, you want to push that.

 

Jared Correia:

Now, the other side of this is when people are doing this search near me. Looking for a law firm near me, law firm in Austin. They’re looking for certain keywords. Do that search as well and take a look. Then that’s not only going to allow you to see how you’re positioned there but also how your competitors are positioned. One thing I take a look at, you mentioned a good point, I think, Casey, which is looking at third party providers to help you with this.

 

Jared Correia:

We talked a little bit before about SEO companies, digital marketing agencies. One of the things that these companies will do honestly, if you just call around, they’ll do a little bit of this for you for free. If you want a little bit of taste of what this looks like, call a digital marketing agency and say, “Hey, I’m thinking about working with you.” The first thing there going to do is give me an idea of how you’re positioned in the market. Whether or not you hire that company, at least you get some intel on that to start with.

 

Jared Correia:

I think it’s a combination of being an intellectually curious business owner in the first place. Then also using well placed providers and consultants who can help you to manage that competitive analysis and potentially generate a report on that, that you can use going forward.

 

Casey Patterson:

That’s great. Way we do this on a very low effort basis. At least, what I do is open up an incognito window and search whatever you want to search. Because if you go to a regular window, your cookies are going to… Basically what you’ve searched in the past will show you more of what you want to see rather than what objectively a third party would see. So just right now, even during the webinar, open up an incognito window, search your practice name or more generally your practice area and city and see what comes up. That way you can do a little bit of a competitive analysis just on your own without much overhead.

 

Jared Correia:

Right, and every browser is going to have an incognito window or privacy setting really easy to do.

 

Casey Patterson:

Yeah. Great. Awesome. Then strategic implementation and finding. So once you’ve identified where you stand and how you’re perceived, what do you do with that? What do you recommend Jared? Once… Say I’m a law firm. I’ve never looked at this before and now I see that my rating is super low. I have a bunch of bad reviews and I have no idea where to go from there.

 

Jared Correia:

Michael’s asking how you find the incognito window in Chrome. It should be at the top right hand side of the page. There’s a little hand icon, three little dots. Yeah, you can do it that way too. Yeah, you can… If you do the drop down, you should be able to find it. It either says incognito or private browsing. I can’t remember.

 

Casey Patterson:

Yeah. Really quickly I’m on Chrome right now. Go to file at the top left, and then new incognito. He’s got it.

 

Jared Correia:

He’s got it. All right. So this is Jared to elaborate. So I guess I should do that. Okay. So the first… The problem is, and this is true of attorneys and small business owners across the board. You have all this data, and now you’re watching it. You’re like, “Oh, my God, what do I do next?” It’s tough to know what the results are going to be so I can’t comment on specific results. But what I would say is, don’t get overwhelmed.

 

Jared Correia:

The biggest problem that small firm business owners have, including lawyers, is that they’ll look at a report of some kind, they’ll look at the intelligence they derive and say, “Oh my God, I have 58 things to do.” The immediate response is head in the sand, I’m not going to do anything. Here’s the thing. As Casey mentioned, it’s not going to happen overnight. It’s not going to be something you’re going to turn over tomorrow. So view this as a process. What I tell people to do is make a list of the things you could change. Just sit down with that on a Saturday afternoon with your coffee and say to yourself, what drives me the most crazy of this stuff?

 

Jared Correia:

Just get your visceral reaction and say, I hate that I’m not doing this or I hate that this occurred. For example, if you find that you’ve got a directory profile or you’ve got two one star reviews and one five star review, how can you manage that? Well, you can get more positive reviews. So then the next step is how do you do that? So you reach out to somebody who could help you with that, consultant business provider or you could look in yourself and say, “Okay, is there a review management softwares out there that I could use? Maybe I adopt one of those.” That’s a way for me to do this without interrupting my process in the law firm.

 

Jared Correia:

Then you look down to number two, okay, the meta tags on my website suck, or they’re non existent. So how do I fix that? Well, let me talk to my website designer or hire website designer to help me do that. Three, maybe you don’t have enough content that’s showing up. Maybe you’re doing some keyword searches and you’re just not showing up. Maybe you’ve talked to people in your family who are just like people who you say, okay, how would someone look for an attorney in my practice area?

 

Jared Correia:

By the way, they’re not using words like [inaudible 00:19:12] when they’re looking at [inaudible 00:19:14]. So run with that, see if you have enough content and answer specific client questions. If you don’t, then that gives you a reason to start blogging, to start pushing content out there like podcasts but using specific keywords and specific key phrases. So those are just three specific examples but what I would do is take a look at the list, find the biggest pain point for yourself, decide over the next quarter that you’re going to solve three of these issues and try to do it in a really proactive way and outline the strategy and then utilize the technology to make it seamless and easy for you to do.

 

Casey Patterson:

That’s great. I think that the quarter or half year plan is so much better than the month plan because lawyers are already super busy doing… The bread and butter of their practice. This is the extra stuff on top. So giving yourself a lot of leeway and saying this is a three month goal, this is a six month goal not a I need to do this today.

 

Jared Correia:

A month flies by so fast especially for a busy attorney.

 

Casey Patterson:

Right. Great. And then, some of the things that we talked about with Jason were split testing payment plans which is basically a way once you get your client in the door to see client sentiment against the way you collect payments. So especially in the pandemic, obviously money is tight. In order to generate word of mouth, it’s really great to be compassionate with those folks who can’t necessarily pay right up front.

 

Casey Patterson:

Something he suggested was taking some clients and allowing them to pay via a payment plan, taking some clients and allowing them to pay or just doing your normal payment routine and seeing what the sentiment is toward your firm at the end of the case for those two groups. Then if the sentiment is better on the payment plan side, implement that with all clients and leading with a client first approach thinking, how can I put myself in my client’s shoes and make the process as easy as possible for them? Wanted to throw that out there from the… On the more once you get your clients, how do you retain and grow your client base?

 

Jared Correia:

That’s a great idea, by the way. AB testing is a good idea in general, doing an on payments is not something that a lot of attorneys do. But clients who were price sensitive before the pandemic they’re much more price sensitive after. So it makes sense to see what works the most for your clients. I think if you do that, it’s a great idea.

 

Casey Patterson:

Awesome. For those in the audience please, keep chatting in your questions. We’re here to answer them. We both have the chat up so if anything is unclear or you need more information on something, ask Jared. Don’t ask me. But he’ll answer.

 

Jared Correia:

Okay, I’ll try to answer. One more thing. Can we go back for one second Casey if you don’t mind?

 

Casey Patterson:

Yeah.

 

Jared Correia:

So this notion of leading with a client first approach, this is one of the most important things you can do as an attorney. If you take nothing else away from this webinar, take this away which is that attorneys are traditionally focused on what process is easiest for my law firm to implement. But now, the convenience economy has been ratcheted up to a fever pitch. No one’s leaving their homes. Everybody’s utilizing Amazon. So as we talked about with competitive analysis before, as a modern law firm, you’re not necessarily comparing yourself to the law firm down the street anymore.

 

Jared Correia:

You’re comparing yourself to Amazon, you’re comparing yourself to Netflix, and think about it, is your service provision on par with theirs? Spoiler alert, it’s not but maybe you could get a little bit closer. So when you’re generating models in the practice, in terms of payment, in terms of intake in terms of client management, you want to be thinking about what’s most convenient for my client and how do I effectuate that. That’s not just a marketing question, that’s a question for everything you do in your law practice.

 

Casey Patterson:

So good. It really is the do unto others as you would have them do to you golden rule scenario.

 

Jared Correia:

That’s beautiful. I didn’t know we were going there but yeah, golden rule, absolutely.

 

Casey Patterson:

I know. 2021 is so deep. If you’re thinking about others first, it’s actually going to come back to you in spades. So thanks for that reminder. That’s great. Now we’re going to go into performance KPIs. A KPI is a key performance indicator. So these are things like how many cases did I bring in this month or this year? How much revenue am I producing? Things like that? So we’re going to do another poll about what you all are doing today to track your KPIs.

 

Casey Patterson:

I just sent out the new poll. Which of the following KPIs are you tracking right now? Overall firm performance? So things like receivables, financial performance, staff performance, case performance, lead performance or you don’t track performance? Jared what are your clairvoyant?

 

Jared Correia:

You want my guess? Okay, number one, financial performance. Number two, staff performance, number three I don’t track our performance to see how I do.

 

Casey Patterson:

Interesting. I would have put overall firm performance higher up, but maybe…

 

Jared Correia:

We’ll see. I don’t know. Maybe I could pull another amazing kreskin here and figure it out. We’ll see. Maybe people waited to put the responses in before I said something.

 

Casey Patterson:

Yeah. So they can vote for case performance so they just throw Jared’s answers off.

 

Jared Correia:

Right. Vote case performance. I love metrics and data analytics. I’m looking forward to this part of the presentation.

 

Casey Patterson:

Me too.

 

Jared Correia:

Kind of a loser.

 

Casey Patterson:

You’re a business person.

 

Jared Correia:

Yes.

 

Casey Patterson:

Looks like everyone has voted. I’m going to share the poll. I know how to do that now.

 

Jared Correia:

Oh, yeah. Looks good.

 

Casey Patterson:

All right. So you’re right. Financial performance is number one. Overall firm performance was number two and I don’t track our performance is relatively low. So kudos to this group.

 

Jared Correia:

That’s good news. I’m actually happy to be wrong about that.

 

Casey Patterson:

Yeah, that’s awesome. We’re going to go into some of these and why they’re important right now. Thank you all for voting or participating. How do you lay the groundwork for your KPIs and then forecasting what those will look like into the new year? What we suggest is that first you need to identify and set performance benchmarks. So Jared can you talk a little bit about the most important benchmarks and how to track those?

 

Jared Correia:

Yeah, as I said, most law firms are not doing any data collection or management at all. So if you start kudos to you because you’re far ahead of most law firms in that regard. This is the same thing that we talked about in terms of how you take marketing data and utilize it. So if you have the marketing data that’s one thing. If you’re not actually going to effectuate change based on that, then you’re not really getting anywhere.

 

Jared Correia:

So when you’re talking about performance benchmarks, the first choice is to select what KPIs you’re going to use, right? And then it’s about selecting desired outcomes. For example, and lawyers do this all the time but they don’t do it in the context of a KPI necessarily. So if you’re setting a yearly billing requirement for your law firm, like 1600 hours a year, that’s a benchmark that you want people to write to me. You could do the same thing by saying that we’re going to produce state plans in this firm and it’s going to take an average of three hours to get it done.

 

Jared Correia:

That’s a benchmark you’re creating. It’s just a matter of building those things out. But it’s not just a matter of building out the benchmarks. It’s a matter of actually utilizing that data. So the question really becomes, are people hitting the benchmarks or not? If they’re not, what are you going to do about it to support them? It should be a support thing not a way to kick people out the door. It should be let’s provide the tools, let’s provide the insights. Let’s provide the assistance to allow people to meet those benchmarks.

 

Jared Correia:

I don’t want to compare a law firm to McDonald’s but I’m going to right now. Because if you’re looking at the drive thru to McDonald’s, there’s a little tracker up there that says, how long does it take to get your order, how long on average does it take to deliver these orders. You want to be thinking of your law firm in the same way. You want to think of these discrete tasks you’re doing. Try to improve them as quick as possible, try to be as efficient as possible and use the law firm. Want to make the most money, that’s how you’re going to do it.

 

Jared Correia:

Identify the KPIs, set the benchmarks, and then act upon those benchmarks if they’re not being met. So that’s how you do this. It’s different for every law firm so if you have some historical data to rely on, let’s say you could look five years back at average performance for timekeepers, that’s a helpful place to start so you’re not totally guessing at what the benchmarks going to be. If you’re using a software, like MyCase, you’ve kept data for a long time, what it may be, it’s just utilizing reports that you’ve never utilized before.

 

Casey Patterson:

Right. I think that setting realistic but a reach but still realistic is important because like you said the-

 

Jared Correia:

You want to be a little aggressive. Yeah.

 

Casey Patterson:

Right, you want to be aggressive but not impossible. Otherwise that will dramatically affects staff morale.

 

Jared Correia:

You don’t want everybody getting depressed because they can’t meet their goals, right. Part of this is gamification by the way. If you set a benchmark, immediately, people are going to be like, I got to beat that. Then there’s going to be some competition among the staff like, I can do better than this person can do. That’s just going to naturally happen. I think that’s a good thing for a law firm environment.

 

Casey Patterson:

Definitely, a little bit of friendly competition. That’s great. And so, some of the things that we recommend tracking, that Jason tracks are revenue by practice area. He actually has two separate practice areas. One is family law. One is criminal law, and he tracks revenue by each. As I remember talking to him, there is a little bit of competition between those two, which is… It’s healthy for the business-

 

Jared Correia:

Healthy competition.

 

Casey Patterson:

Exactly. Revenue by location, if you have multiple offices, and then revenue by case. He does it with the help of MyCase, which law practice management software of any kind should help you track all these things and also keep up with them. So another element of this is accountability and making sure that it’s not end of the year surprise. You didn’t hit your number but instead every month or every week you have someone responsible for sending out an email that says how everyone’s doing or in your one on ones, you’re communicating that information out, right?

 

Jared Correia:

Or years ending, we’re not going to hit our goal. Let’s really try to do it. I think it’s important to do this on a quarterly basis at least and preferably on a monthly basis. So when I work with law firms and I have them set up revenue projections, I have them do that on a monthly basis because you want to run this like a corporation that has a sales team. The idea is you want to lay out some numbers and that you want to hit those numbers.

 

Jared Correia:

Ideally, you’re doing that for a specific case type. So if you got a practice like Jason’s that has two practice areas, those are going to be sold in different ways. You need a certain number of family law cases, I forget what the [inaudible 00:30:16]. You need certain number of criminal law cases, whatever it’s going to be, set those numbers up in advance, track them on a monthly basis and make sure those are being hit.

 

Jared Correia:

So if you haven’t done so already, one thing I think you want to do to start the year, and again we’re starting the year on January 15th. That’s okay. You can still build out your revenue projections. Take every case type you have, assign an average value to that case type, figure out how many of those you want every month and then total that up and that’s your revenue projection for the year. Now, I like some of these KPIs that Jason’s using. So revenue by practice area, that’s a great one.

 

Jared Correia:

I have a lot of law firms and I ask them, what’s your practice mix and what do you make for each of those practice areas? They don’t know. I will tell you that if you don’t have data on this, law firms are often wrong. I’ve talked with many law firms where they say the most profitable part of my practice is a state planning. Then I’m like, Okay, you got a case management system like in MyCase, you’ve got time and billing information, let’s dig into the data and they’re wrong. It’s a totally different practice area that makes them the most money.

 

Jared Correia:

So having that knowledge really affects your strategy. So take a look at the data and make decisions based on the data. Now the one other thing I’ll add here, there’s another KPI that I really like, especially now during a pandemic, is called revenue by square foot. So how much money do you make for every square foot of office space you use? That answer is totally different in January 21 than it was in January 20. So take a look at that number to determine do we have too much space? Do we have to reduce the space? What can we do to make more efficient use of that space?

 

Jared Correia:

These are just four KPIs by the way of a number of different ones that you could use but that’s helpful. Oh, so Lisa, you’re asking for definition again. I don’t know if that was the definition for revenue projections, or revenue by square foot but you can track using your data. It’s just revenue per square foot. How much revenue do you make total? How much square footage do you use for office space and then divide the number and see how you do. I’m not sure if MyCase has a report on that but I bet you could create one.

 

Casey Patterson:

Yeah. That also speaks to the fact that office space is a little bit less… In certain parts of the country a little bit less required this year than it was last year. Maybe eliminating that expense would really boost the revenue of the firm. Yeah.

 

Jared Correia:

Okay. All right. The benefit lease is determining how much office space do you need? How effective are people within that space? It’s a way for law firms to determine, do I really need as much space as I have? Which has become more of an important concern as the pandemic has gone on when a lot of office space just sits there wasted.

 

Casey Patterson:

Or is it halfway used by half the staff because they’re social distancing?

 

Jared Correia:

Right.

 

Casey Patterson:

Okay, great. And then understanding staff performance is another key area which is individual performance management across teams. Can you speak a little bit to the KPIs that you should be looking at there and how also to enforce them without being a jerk?

 

Jared Correia:

Not making everybody feel terrible or using [inaudible 00:33:26]? Yes.

 

Casey Patterson:

Right.

 

Jared Correia:

So revenue per attorney, really helpful. I would extend that to revenue per timekeeper by the way. Because you might have paralegals in your office, you want to know how efficient they are and how much money they make as well. Billable hours large per attorney. That’s valuable as well because you know how many hours people are getting. If we extend that conversation a little bit, you can also take a look at utilization rate. So given the hours that somebody is in office or the hours that somebody is working if they’re not as an office anymore, how many hours have they actually built?

 

Jared Correia:

That number may be lower than you think it is, if you can get that number higher, your revenue is going to go up. So the way that you track KPIs like this, and staff performance is really important by the way. One of the reasons I focus on utilization rate is because one of the easy ways to make more money in the law firm is to be more efficient and utilization rate is probably the best KPI for tracking that. So how do you track these, time and expense report, fee allocation report? Both of which you can run out of MyCase.

 

Jared Correia:

The expense part is important as well because you don’t live in a vacuum as a law firm. I think one of the problems with lawyers hyper focus on revenue is that they’re only looking at revenue and they’re not on overhead. So one of the problems with that is you see law firms doing things like paying the most in terms of IT costs of any business in the world. The reason for that is A, lawyer is not as tech savvy on generally speaking the many business owners are, but also they don’t pay attention to overhead.

 

Jared Correia:

So because they’re solely focused on revenue, they’re not looking at the other side of that. Running a law firm is much like running your life. Low overhead is Better. So you can use technology, you can lessen your reliance on office space, you can reduce that overhead and make more money. So take a look at that expense report, try to design a law firm budget and implement that effectively. Then in terms of fee allocation, you’re looking at where are the fees coming from in your practice? Who are the high performers who are doing the most work on specific cases? Who are the people who are originating the KPIs? That’s… Excuse me, the new cases in the firm.

 

Jared Correia:

This is all very important to running a law firm. What I would say is that most attorneys are A, not looking enough at the bottom line, the overhead, and B, not looking enough at individual performance because there could be one or two people that are dragging your firm down. But if all you’re looking at is the overall financial health of the firm, you’re not going to be able to see that. It’s very easy to monitor software like in MyCase to be able to run reports based on specific timekeepers.

 

Casey Patterson:

Right. And also, the more modern software systems, the individual timekeepers, or contributors themselves can track their own progress so that they know where they stand. It’s not a hidden thing where at the end of the month, oops, I missed my number. It’s very clear that today I only billed three hours. I should have billed four et cetera. Having that-

 

Jared Correia:

Everything should be transparent.

 

Casey Patterson:

Exactly.

 

Jared Correia:

Which is why people don’t necessarily feel bad about it because then it becomes a communal thing. If somebody is not performing, then you have the opportunity to provide them help.

 

Casey Patterson:

Exactly. Yeah and then another thing that goes along with transparency is assigning a KPI owner. Who is tracking and monitoring billable hours per attorney? What’s the communication process when that’s not being met? Do you go straight to the attorney? Do you go to the managing partner and they talk to the… Assign a very clear order of operations so that everyone’s on the same page when those numbers aren’t hit and like you said, then support and try to come alongside that person who might be missing a number.

 

Jared Correia:

Right, step one is helping not stringing somebody up to the rack, for sure.

 

Casey Patterson:

Right, the worst situation is, you didn’t know you miss your number. I just found out about it and now I’m mad at you.

 

Jared Correia:

That’s what happens in most law firms because everything’s reactive. You got a partner looking at KPIs at the end of the year, right? It’s like, oh, man, I should have been yelling at this person the whole year and now the only opportunity to do it is at the end of the year. Absolutely.

 

Casey Patterson:

Missed out on all that yelling. Okay, that’s great. Then some marketing KPIs as well are call volume and closure rate. So how many people are calling into your firm? What leads are coming in? How are we closing them and then what were the sources that converted the most leads into cases. Again, this can be done in a modern law practice management software, but thoughts on this one.

 

Jared Correia:

Yeah, call tracking is important for law firms. So especially if you’re utilizing specific marketing campaigns and working with a digital marketing agency. You want to know how are each of those campaigns tracking. So to do that effectively, each marketing campaign you have would have a separate column number. That’s all tracked by software. Again, you want to be making business decisions based on performance not on your guests. I don’t want to say too much here because I think we’re quickly running out of time, right?

 

Casey Patterson:

Oh, yeah, we have a little bit of time. We can make sure we hit all the points but I totally agree. I think we should move on to infrastructure which is how all this happens, right? This is the undergirding of performance KPIs of tracking your marketing, et cetera. So let’s do a quick poll to talk about what infrastructure everyone uses today. I’m going to launch that poll. Jared-

 

Jared Correia:

You ready?

 

Casey Patterson:

Predictions?

 

Jared Correia:

If it’s not case management cloud software, number one, I think we’re in trouble. That’s what we got to be going for here. So I’m going to say that’s number one. Then I’m going to say videoconferencing is number two, maybe number one.

 

Casey Patterson:

That’s a good point.

 

Jared Correia:

And then individual laptops. That’s what I’m going to go with. I don’t think there’s a ton of adoption for CRM and legal… VOIP phone systems and legal although I think that’s trending in the right direction. So we’ll see if I’m right I guess.

 

Casey Patterson:

Yeah. We’ll see. Those are still saw coming in.

 

Jared Correia:

Other, we’ll see how other performs.

 

Casey Patterson:

Yeah, other’s always [inaudible 00:39:25].

 

Jared Correia:

Hopefully somewhere in the middle.

 

Casey Patterson:

I think the video conferencing tool I mean, we did a survey actually.

 

Jared Correia:

Video conferencing might be number one. That’s been a hot topic this year.

 

Casey Patterson:

I mean, we’re currently doing… We did a survey last year-

 

Jared Correia:

Is this a video conference. No one’s talking.

 

Casey Patterson:

Wait I’m on camera? Video conferencing just went from 2% adoption to 60% adoption.

 

Jared Correia:

Zoom fatigue is real.

 

Casey Patterson:

Yes, absolutely. Okay, let’s see what the results are.

 

Jared Correia:

All right. I’m excited.

 

Casey Patterson:

All right, video conferencing is number one.

 

Jared Correia:

All right. I was hedging myself there a little bit. Look at that, VOIP phone system, VOIP is higher that I thought it would be.

 

Casey Patterson:

Yeah, I think a lot of people converting over from landline to being able to have it at home or on their cell phone. Case management server based is pretty low, cloud software is up there. CRM is strong although there’s not a ton of adoption so…

 

Jared Correia:

Stronger than I thought. Other checking into the solid 7%.

 

Casey Patterson:

Yeah. I mean, I think we all use other things.

 

Jared Correia:

Yes.

 

Casey Patterson:

All right. Excellent. Thank you for that and for participating. I think we… I like to think of it in terms of hardware and software. Hardware being your laptops, your phones, your cell phone. Software being your case management, your VOIP phone system. I think that the balance between those really shifted during COVID because hardware-

 

Jared Correia:

Without a doubt.

 

Casey Patterson:

Was no longer available or relevant unless it was to access the internet which is available everywhere. So yeah, could you just speak to how this has changed and what firms should be looking for in 2021?

 

Jared Correia:

It’s been a massive shift. I’ve had a lot of lawyers call me who were used to working in an office exclusively. They have one device. This is especially true of lawyers who are working on premise based software, is I actually had attorneys who would call me and they’d have two separate emails. They would be at the office and then they would forward all the emails they got that day to their home computer so they could work on it.

 

Jared Correia:

The next day when they came in, they would forward all the emails they got overnight to their office laptop where they had that particular email system working. I’m like, you just use the cloud and everything’s in the same place. It’s revolatory to a lot of people who have been working the same way for the longest time. I would say, if you’re still on premise based software, get out as quickly as you can. Run from the premise based software. It’s just not necessary anymore.

 

Jared Correia:

The argumentation I make is that I feel like cloud software in a lot of instances is actually more secure than premise based software which is why a lot of law firms decide to stick with it. So getting on the cloud is important for sure. The other thing I will tell you is look, you don’t really need any hardware anymore outside of a phone, and a laptop or a tablet. That’s all you need. That’s the hardware list. The hardware list is done. So utilize software, utilize cloud based tools, utilize the internet and secure connection and you’ll be fine. You can work from anywhere.

 

Casey Patterson:

Yep, totally agree. Again, the delineation here is between software which is online or based out of a server and that’s installed onto a computer or available through a computer. So a lot of practice management software, something like MyCase, SharePoint is another highly used. I mean those type of things are available in the cloud. Then hardware, more like the phone systems. If you have a Zoom room which has a fancy microphone and a fancy camera, those are those hardware systems that you might consider installing if video conferencing is a long term thing.

 

Jared Correia:

Do not install a phone system, use a VOIP system. It’s going to be cheaper by about 30% and it’s going to have more functionality. So the great thing about VOIP phone systems is that you can utilize any internet connected devices as a soft phone. What that means is any device you have can have a dial pad and you can make calls out of it. You don’t need a traditional phone system anymore. Now this idea of a Zoom room is useful.

 

Jared Correia:

One other component of hardware that you might want to invest in is audio hardware. So for example, I’ve got this microphone right here. I’ve got an audio mixer. I’ve got audio mixing software on my computer. You can get something like crisp which reduces or eliminates background noise on your device. All in your paying like 300 bucks for that. So if there’s any software… Excuse me, any more hardware you’re relying on outside of just devices you use, make it so that you can appear to be persuasive and effective on a video conference. A lot of that is audio software.

 

Casey Patterson:

Yep. Lisa asked if there’s a VOIP system that you recommend or several systems.

 

Jared Correia:

Do you have… I can say some. Do you have any partners on the VOIP side on MyCase or no?

 

Casey Patterson:

Yeah, go for it. No.

 

Jared Correia:

Ones I like and that attorneys use, OOMA O-O-M-A is a good software for VOIP. A lot of lawyers use Nextiva and RingCentral is also pretty popular for attorneys as well. I probably say those in the way I would rank them. Those would be one, two and three for me. You’re welcome Lisa.

 

Casey Patterson:

There’s also Zoom phone, which you might… If you have a Zoom account you can pair with that and it goes together. Might be a nice all in one thing.

 

Jared Correia:

Also if you’re a solo attorney, you could do Google Voice for free. That’s functionally a VOIP system for a single person.

 

Casey Patterson:

That’s a freebie. Yep. Okay, great. And then connectivity with clients, just to round out this category, is also really important. Obviously having a phone or VOIP system. But then things like client portals and two way text messaging for clients are really important. So these are things that are outside of mail or coming into the office or the 2019 ways of doing things so far in the past. But now in 2021, the old days-

 

Jared Correia:

I used to ride a horse to work in 2019.

 

Casey Patterson:

Right. That’s what we’ll be telling people 20 years from now. But ways that… And this goes back to thinking about what your clients need and value. Two way text messaging allows you to text them important updates instead of having to call them or try to get them on a conference. These are just a couple of ways to streamline the client communication process by utilizing your infrastructure to make those changes.

 

Jared Correia:

Yeah, I think one of the most important pieces here is two way texting which I think you just added in MyCase. One of the issues I’ve traditionally seen with lawyers is they text clients and then they’re like, oh, I can just easily pull that information off my smartphone, guess what? You can’t. It’s much easier to do that in system where you can archive that information because if you don’t, that’s a malpractice loophole because you need to be able to capture every communication with the client. Preferably every communication you have about a client’s case you want the [inaudible 00:46:36]. So definitely utilize that messaging feature and client portals are essential at this point. Lisa is right. That is an awesome feature of MyCase. I agree.

 

Casey Patterson:

Lisa loves it. I think another benefit to that is not having to give away your personal cell phone number and not having your clients have full access to your phone whenever they want. That was one of the big benefits of why we built that two way text messaging feature. Lastly, I’m going to do a quick poll on culture. This is just keeping team morale high. This will be a two minute section. How does everyone keep team morale high if they do? I’m going to launch this poll. Jared, this one is… I don’t know, this is not your area of expertise maybe. I don’t know if you know the answer.

 

Jared Correia:

No, this is going to be tougher because usually the culture in law firms is that there is not a culture. I’m going to say performance incentives, one. Team building games, two and then daily stand up meetings, three.

 

Casey Patterson:

Daily stand ups is, for me so important to have communication.

 

Jared Correia:

I talk to lawyers about that all the time. It’s not used in law firms but I mean, that came out of scrum environments and it’s used in tech companies largely. It’s a great way to reduce questions throughout the day. It’s a great way to hash problems out with everybody in a single space. So I recommend having a daily six minute stand up meeting in the morning if you’re a law firm. Super easy to do. It also helps with the transparency and getting everybody to buy in because there’s a different leader theoretically for every meeting.

 

Casey Patterson:

Definitely. Yep. And I’m going to share these results very surprising. I actually want those who answered other to try and chat in what you do please because we want to know. What did we miss here?

 

Jared Correia:

What does other mean? Just keep it clean but chat in what you do for team building procedures.

 

Casey Patterson:

Yeah, so performance incentives.

 

Jared Correia:

That’s number two, performance incentives.

 

Casey Patterson:

Or number one. I mean, number one besides other. You were right.

 

Jared Correia:

I think for myself. Let’s see. Daily stand ups was second. Okay. I’m surprised people aren’t playing more team building games. Trivia is great. I don’t know if folks have ever played any of these online gaming things on Steam. That’s pretty cool, too. You can do that via Zoom. So that’s a great team building activity. Who doesn’t like trivia?

 

Casey Patterson:

We played Among Us as a team. Oh my gosh.

 

Jared Correia:

My kids love Among Us. There’s Among Us going on all the time.

 

Casey Patterson:

That’s so great. What else do you guys do?

 

Jared Correia:

That’s a little bit sas.

 

Casey Patterson:

Michael says solo office with one employee daily and frequent interaction.

 

Jared Correia:

Michael talk to himself all day. Four day work week. I like that.

 

Casey Patterson:

Wow. That is… That’s very Adam Grant of you Frank. I bet you’re reading those productivity books. Six hour work days. What else do you guys do for those who answered other. Food, lunch delivered. That’s great.

 

Jared Correia:

Yes. You can never go wrong with food.

 

Casey Patterson:

That’s awesome.

 

Jared Correia:

These are all good.

 

Casey Patterson:

Yeah, these are all really great. Just to wrap it up I think that-

 

Jared Correia:

Happy hour in the living room. That’s what I’m doing after this.

 

Casey Patterson:

Oh, sole practitioner, yeah. Thank you all so much for chatting in your answers. But basically, keeping team morale high through all this is really important. Obviously COVID is still very much going on. It’s only going to benefit firms, I think, to have that morale high.

 

Jared Correia:

Totally. The poll is still up. I didn’t know if you wanted that to be the case.

 

Casey Patterson:

Oh, thank you.

 

Jared Correia:

Yep. High morale, yes.

 

Casey Patterson:

Awesome. Love it. Bonuses is another way. I’m sure everyone is happy with bonuses.

 

Jared Correia:

Money, yeah, money’s good.

 

Casey Patterson:

Thank you all so much for joining. Again, MyCase, we talked about it periodically, you’re able to manage all of these things that we talked about through MyCase. It’s a cloud based software. It’s accessible from any device that is connected to the internet. Basically, it allows you to manage anything that a small to medium sized law firm would need to manage. Whether you’re working remotely or from the office and just a little bit of proof that we have some great features. 96% of our customers would recommend us to a friend or colleague.

 

Casey Patterson:

If you haven’t heard about MyCase, we will eventually highly encourage you to try it out. 83% of our customers feel that MyCase has helped them provide a better client experience. So that client minded focus is really something that we take to heart as well to make sure our customers, the attorneys who use MyCase are able to provide a great client experience too. Thank you so much to Jared.

 

Jared Correia:

You’re welcome.

 

Casey Patterson:

We are so thankful to you for jumping in last minute and crushing the webinar.

 

Jared Correia:

I don’t have a lot going on so.

 

Casey Patterson:

Didn’t you buy a sectional? No, you didn’t buy a sectional.

 

Jared Correia:

Not yet. Talk to me next month. My family’s fine, probably buying furniture as we speak.

 

Casey Patterson:

Without you, just ship it. My name is Casey and we host webinars all year round. So please check back next month for more webinars where we’d be doing demos of some of the features we talked about today. We’re so thankful that you all came. You’ll also be receiving a quick survey on your way out to ask you if you want any follow up on using MyCase or have any questions about the software. Thank you all and we’ll see you next time. Thanks, Lisa. Thanks Melissa.

 

Jared Correia:

Thanks Lisa, thanks everybody.

 

Casey Patterson:

Thanks everyone.

 

Jared Correia:

Have a nice weekend.

 

Casey Patterson:

Have a great weekend. Bye Jared.

 

Jared Correia:

Bye.





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