May 8, 2009
The entrepreneur is essentially a visualizer and an actualizer. He can visualize something, and when visualizes it he sees exactly how to make it happen. — Robert L Schwartz
It seems that fate, fortune and the real estate market have pushed me off the pier and into the full time practice of law, much to the surprise of my original plans. I had grown comfortable with the idea that I would grow my small rural practice slowly on evenings and weekends while relying on that solid day job to cover life’s necessities. The only hitch… office space and the snail’s pace of small town government to issue things like conditional use permits and zoning variances (hey around here, plowing, planting and milking take precedence over council meetings).
When all seemed at a stand still, fate stepped in and I was offered affordable (so affordable I’ll be able to reduce my daily rate by $400) office space in a recently developed business incubator site lying at the junction of suburbia and the untamed rural countryside. Where once a dairy farm stood now stands a several blocks of office suites and a cash-strapped developer. The bad news is that to make this work, I’ve got to be a full time lawyer.
June 29th is the target date. Until then, blog entries may be a bit irregular – right now I’m alternating between Snoopy joy dances and blind panic. Hopefully the latter will eventually subside. Wish me luck.
May 8, 2009
Posted by Bruce under Practice Tools
| Tags: Flow Control
| Comments Off
Checklists and procedures seem to go hand in hand. We all seem to have them, lists that outline the key points to cover at that first client interview, to perform when handling a real estate closing, to cover when closing a file, etc. The elements of standard procedure reduced to bullet points and checked off one by one as the task is performed. The problem with checklists is that they are really designed to be used by two people – one to read the list, the other to perform the action. Running a randomly ordered checklist solo is inefficient – sure you can cover all the points, but ask yourself: how many times did you lose your place, or have to back up a step or two just to be sure?
Now for the good news, there’s a way to improve checklist efficiency. Its the flow concept and comes from aviation. The idea is to accomplish a task through the use of specific patterns. A flow simply structures an important task so that every element is completed in the correct order and nothing is missed. Think of it as a Gantt chart you perform.
The basic concept is to:
- arrange the flow so that items are performed in a natural, logical sequence so that step B builds from step A
- memorize the “killer” steps – those things that have to be done even if everything else is forgotten
- interact with the steps in the flow
- touch the physical item a step refers to
- verbalize each step as it is accomplished
- follow up with a single run through of the checklist
A good flow acts as a type of mnemonic, allow a procedure to be accomplished smoothly, naturally and efficiently.
May 1, 2009
In the 19th century, Benjamin Brewster summed up the essence of the billable hour debate as:
A lawyer starts life giving $500 worth of law for $5 and ends giving $5 worth for $500.
The key questions surrounding this issue boil down to: “what is all this advice worth” and “what are clients willing to pay”. As I see it, these are two sides of the same coin and regardless of how you want to get paid, there is a simple methodology for arriving at a pricing structure that will satisfy both the attorney and the client – accurately determine your daily rate and then give your clients full value.
The magic formula is: (more…)