Debt recovery or problem escalation?

  Avid readers of this column (I live in hope) will be familiar with my pieces on competent retainer management.[i] In the last year, I’ve encountered an increase in small practitioners who take their eyes off their aged debtors lists to suddenly discover that they have a serious cash flow problem. Now, the best way

Cutting through fears of criticism and failure

  Fear of criticism and fear of failure are common concerns of early career lawyers. The sources of these fears are divergent, but there are common threads. Graduates will often have been the brightest and the best at school, where failure was a rare experience. Also, university learning style is structured and predictable, compared with

Extracting value from the first hour

  I think I’m OK at the whole productivity/behaviour game. But just recently a client spoke to me so passionately about value lost at early morning log-on that I thought I’d pass the story on. It goes like this… The lawyer arrives, logs on and opens Outlook. He starts scanning his email inbox. In the

How about some New Year’s resolutions?

Make 2017 the year you actively improve the areas you aren’t naturally good at  So we’re all back from the beach and ready to go hard again… which is great. It’s a good time to reprioritise efforts… not just going harder, but identifying areas for personal improvement. For this issue, we’ve considered the major parts

It’s nearly Christmas, so think mid-year reviews

Mid-year performance reviews can be really beneficial, provided you go about them the right way. Theory and practice regarding performance management is constantly evolving and reshaping. There are, though, some enduring boxes to be ticked. They are: ·       Do we review? ·       When do we review? ·       How do we go about it? ·       What

The matter and the money

Talking confidently and concurrently about matter and money In the Proctor July edition, we reproduced a piece called Getting paid: Start with file opening. This is a reprint from the same journal 10 years earlier. Some things just stay important. The essence of that article was that responsibility for slow or poor payment by clients

Low price vs low cost – the strategic trap

As part of the emerging Newlaw dialogue, there is a groundswell of opinion that low prices and in particular, fixed low prices are the new must haves in law firm competition. But that’s only half the story… Some 30 years ago, Michael Porter’s generic competitive strategies were all the rage. Broadly speaking, you had to

Getting paid: Start with file opening

A practical plan to improve cash flow and client relations Some messages are worth repeating. This popular article appeared in the April 2006 edition of Proctor, but the message in this updated version is as relevant now as it was 10 years ago: ABSTRACT Many firms bemoan the difficulties with slow, combative, and non-payers. And