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  • Three Important Lessons to Protect Your Most Valuable Asset (Your Time!)

    By Steve Fretzin Growing up in the ’70s my father instilled something in me that I’ve carried my entire life–the adage of never giving up. Many of us know the power of not giving up and how important it is to persevere in business and in life. This article isn’t about not giving your all or sticking to commitments you’ve made, but rather about the power of trying something and knowing when to give it up before you have too much time, money, and energy invested into it When we talk about building one’s law practice there are hundreds of decisions that need to be made every year, from what practice management software to use, to leveraging LinkedIn better or whether you should specialize in one area more than another. This list of choices goes on and on until your head is spinning. My goal for this article is to help you quit the things that aren’t producing results and allow you to be okay with it. What lawyers never talk about is the cost of sticking with something that isn’t working. Here are three tips to help you overcome the fear or anxiety of quitting. Tip #1. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. You may have heard this phrase eek out of my mouth before and it’s never been more pertinent than today. One of the biggest mistakes lawyers make in business development is to not track and keep score of their activities. All my clients are required to use and keep a business development success journal to track and share their daily, weekly and monthly results with me. This way, we can both see what’s working and what’s not. The goal is to make improvements to get better results. However, the dirty little secret is that sometimes we have to agree to quit doing an activity that isn’t bearing fruits. This shouldn’t take a year or two to decide, but rather about 60-90 days. Observing your billable time going out the window–either by a spreadsheet you keep or a CRM (Client Relationship Management) program you are using– is a game-changer that encourages you to make improvements or eliminate unfruitful endeavors from your calendar. Tip #2. Time is your greatest commodity, become a pro at saying no. One of the first discussions I have with new clients is related to what they are currently doing to grow business or build their personal brand. Many have activities with boards, charities, associations, trade shows, and the beat goes on and on. The follow-up question I ask generally leads to an “ah-ha” moment for my new client. I simply ask, “How’s that going for you?” In some instances, these activities are a home run, in others there’s a long pause followed by a little grumbling. The latter are the activities we need explore right away. The perfect example of this was with John, my client from a few years ago. He was doing regular presentations to the local Bar Association and getting absolutely nothing out of it. We discussed some possible changes and improvements to see if the problem (lack of any results) could be resolved. Ultimately, we agreed that he was presenting to his competition, so the decision to scrap the “sharing of his best IP practices” was an easy one to make. Just so you know, he had been doing these presentations for over five years. When we did the math on his research, prep time, travel, lack of business referrals and lost billable hours, the numbers over those five years were staggering. Accepting new business development and marketing opportunities can be huge in building your book of business, however it’s critical to have your guard up. Take some time to weigh out the pros and cons, as well as the current obligations you have now.  Saying “no” to something, nicely, may be the difference between adding $200,000 in originations this year or regretting that you didn’t say no to more time-draining obligations. Tip #3. Quit early and quit often. So, you might be thinking “Wow, Steve, that sounds really backwards.” Trust me, I know. It goes against everything that’s been instilled in me since childhood.  But, when I look back at all the things I let drag on too long, the list is longer than my arm. I was a sub-par wrestler back in junior high school and never fully committed to the training regimen necessary for success in the sport. The result was years on my back getting pinned by superior athletes who were committed. More recently, I tried playing the drums. I committed to four lessons to see if my lifelong dream of ROCKING IT might be realized. I even practiced outside of my lessons to ensure that I gave it a solid effort. After my fourth session I told my teacher that I was done. He was surprised, as there had been progress and growth. I explained that while this was fun, there are other more pressing and enjoyable activities that took precedence over my future rock-star career as a drummer. I knew the power of quitting early and simply letting go. I was okay with trying something and leaving before getting too far along. I know there are many other variables to this “quitting” stuff, like loyalty to a friend, group or peer. It’s important when quitting to use language that doesn’t upset other people in the equation. For example, I might say, “Based on my time and current obligations, I simply can’t continue with ______ any longer. I loved being a part of it and hope that we can remain in touch.” Whatever the case or scenario, look at your time and current list of priorities and obligations. Think about what is important to you in your career, family, heath and happiness. Do a 1-10 to quickly gauge activities or do a pros and cons list to identify what to keep and what to remove. I know these decisions are hard, however you’ll be better for it in the end. If you’d like to speak with me directly about your career in law and how to get the most from your time, please email me directly at steve@fretzin.com or DM me on LinkedIn. About the Author Driven, focused, and passionate about helping lawyers to reach their full potential, Steve Fretzin is regarded as the premier coach, skills trainer, and keynote speaker on business development for lawyers. Over the past 18 years, Steve Fretzin has devoted his career to helping lawyers master the art of business development to achieve their business goals and the peace of mind that comes with developing a successful law practice. In addition to writing four books on legal marketing and business development, Steve has a highly-rated podcast called, "BE THAT LAWYER." When not busy helping ambitious attorneys to grow their law practices, Steve enjoys fishing with his son, playing many racquet sports, and traveling with his wife. #SteveFretzin #personaldevelopment #postivechanges #businessdevelopment #coaching #professionaltraining #time

  • LegalBusinessWorld eZine 2024 - issue #2

    Table of Contents | eZine 2024 - issue #2 Cultivating a change culture in law firms, Eve Vlemincx Legal Innovation: The African Perspective, Hellen Mukasa Fashion & Law: Balancing Style & Responsibility, Chiara Lamacchia Unifying Privacy, Investigations, and E-Discovery to Find Truth in a Digital World, Ari Kaplan speaks with Jonathan Rubinsztein Management Beyond the Basics, Richard G. Stock Book Review: Ditch The Billable Hour! Implementing Value-Based Pricing in a Law Firm, Mitch Kowalski Striving for Work-Life Balance as a Lawyer? Discover FRETZIN's Top Tips to Attain Harmony, Steve Fretzin Loneliness In Law A Silent Source Of Our Suffering, Bree Buchanan Embracing Neurodiversity: A New Frontier in the Legal Profession, Marco Imperiale Legal Project Management Enables Legal Practitioners, Nicolene Schoeman-Louw The role of legal advisors in bridging the divide between technology and policy development, Hadassah Drukarch Dynamically Managing the Proliferation of Data in Modern Litigation, Ari Kaplan interviews Eric Mandel 8 Ways to Stop Losing Time & Money in Your Law Practice: Part 3. Mastering efficiency: unveiling the DOWNTIME framework for a productive practice, Karen Dunn Skinner and David Skinner Tech-Powered Growth in Professional Services: Survey & Podcast, Ben Scott and James Fielding You can download and read the PDF version here #eZine #businessoflaw #legalprofession

  • Why is most legal tech lacking this important feature?

    By Anna Lozynski Tech adoption in the legal industry remains a big issue in 2024 - by legal professionals and business users of legal tech alike. As industries continue to embrace digital transformation, legal professionals are increasingly seeking innovative solutions to make the automation of legal contracts and compliance more enjoyable and engaging. In the ever-evolving landscape of technology, the incorporation of gamification has emerged as a groundbreaking strategy to revolutionize the way users interact with technology. In this article, I explore the reasons why gamification should be added to legal tech platforms as well, providing a fresh perspective on how this approach can encourage users and enhance tech adoption. 1 - Making Legal Automation Enjoyable Oxymoron? - Doesn’t have to be. Gamification introduces an element of enjoyment into the routine activities that have been automated, motivating users to stay committed to their tasks. By incorporating game mechanics, such as point systems, badges, and progress tracking, legal tech platforms can turn the automation of legal processes into a more enjoyable and rewarding experience, ultimately boosting productivity and efficiency. 2 - Enhancing User Engagement One of the primary advantages of integrating gamification into legal tech platforms is the potential to enhance user engagement. In our work with law firms at inCite Legal Tech, we often see sophisticated legal tech investment and implementation, but ongoing challenges with the rates of user adoption. Investing the money into legal tech is great, but it quickly becomes a fail if there’s no user base. Amongst other user adoption engagement levers, the incorporation of game-like elements, such as challenges, rewards, and interactive interfaces, can transform the mindset block around using legal tech platforms and encouraging active participation in legal processes. The concept of “play” not only improves the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well- being of children but adults (and lawyers!) too. 3 - Fostering a Culture of Continuous Learning Gamification provides an effective solution to foster a culture of continuous learning within the user community. Legal tech platforms can create an environment where users actively seek knowledge and improve their skills. This approach not only benefits individual professionals but also contributes to the overall advancement of the legal industry. Don’t underestimate the power of community. 4 - Increasing User Adoption Rates The success of any technology depends on user adoption, and gamification has proven to be a powerful tool in increasing adoption rates outside of legal technology. I’m sure you can think of some apps or platforms you use in your day to day where you are “congratulated” or encouraged about your use of the tech. It’s motivating. By incorporating elements of healthy competition, collaboration, and achievement, legal tech platforms can attract users who may otherwise be hesitant to embrace technology in their daily workflows. The intuitive and enjoyable nature of gamified platforms can break down resistance barriers, resulting in broader acceptance and utilisation. Conclusion In my mind, and because I’ve seen it successfully work (albeit using manual data), the integration of gamification into platforms for automating legal contracts and ensuring compliance presents an exciting frontier. By prioritising user engagement, making legal automation enjoyable, fostering continuous learning, increasing user adoption rates, and boosting efficiency and accuracy, gamification has the potential to bolster adoption rates. The adoption of technology in the legal sector is not going to diminish over time, only increase. Being able to achieve user adoption rates and creating a sense of fun to execute the mundane, is an underrated skill. Indeed, “Games are the only force in the known universe that can get people to take actions against their self-interest, in a predictable way, without using force.”― Gabe Zichermann So, have a chat with your legal tech providers today about adding gamification as a feature, form a test pilot group and see what happens! About the Author Anna Lozynski is an executive general counsel and author turned change agent, advisor & influencer. She believes that legal innovation is invigorating, change is energizing and efficiency will never go out of fashion. Anna has studied law in Melbourne, Beijing, Utrecht and Boston. Starting at a major Australian law firm, she has spent the majority of her legal career in-house working in the banking, automotive, and cosmetics industries, before starting her own business, Anna Lozynski Advisory. Described as a transformer, Anna is a sought-after commentator, speaker & brand ambassador both domestically and internationally – seeking to shift the dialogue to propel the corporate world forward and create lasting change.

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