The anticipated (or dreaded, depending upon your perspective) summer lull has likely hit your law firm. Although the warmer weather and lazy summer days may be good for morale, they’re often hard on the firm’s bottom line.
Here are 7 ways to take advantage of the potential opportunities that this seasonal slow time can provide:
#1: Track your firm’s trends
Analyze the ups and downs that your business has experienced over the last several years and make note of seasonal slow times. Most firms experience such lulls in the summer, the middle of the winter, and sometimes during the holiday season.
Knowing when to expect these slow times will allow you to carry over some work from a busier season to get your firm through the lull and reduce the impact of a seasonal slow down.
#2: Connect with freelancers or virtual assistants
Tired of dealing with fluctuating staff needs? If your business is subject to seasonal ups and downs (as most businesses are) freelance paralegals and virtual legal assistants can effectively expand or shrink your staff at will, based upon demand.
Or consider hiring a student law clerk from a local law school to pick up the slack during busier times. Having a clerk on staff can be a great way to vet and train a future associate so that you’ll be prepared when things pick up.
#3: Work on marketing efforts
The summer lull can be a good time to focus on upcoming marketing campaigns, since most firms struggle to find time for promotion during busier times of the year. Use the summer to plan and prepare all your marketing content for the coming year, including the following:
- Have new photos taken of the entire staff to update your marketing materials.
- Give the firm’s website a makeover while traffic is low.
- Write or commission some blog posts and articles to be published in the coming months.
- Create new print and online advertising.
- Research new ways to market the firm.
You can also use this time to complete relatively mundane tasks that are often put off until the last minute: It’s never too early to prepare the annual holiday cards for current and former clients!
#4: Fine-tune your budget
As business tapers off a bit, use this time to start scaling back wherever you can. Those charged with managing the financial aspects of the firm should take the time to comb through expenses and determine where it might be possible to cut back. When everyone is busy, it’s easy to ignore the budget and pay the bills as they come in.
But if you’re not paying close enough attention to your spending, you could be operating at a less than efficient manner and basically throwing money away. No firm can afford to do that.
#5: Work on boosting morale
Happy employees are good for business, making company culture more important than ever. Your human resources department might take the summer slow time to consider implementing new workplace morale programs that will make the legal team excited to come to work each day.
Invest in fostering a happy work environment when business is slow, and you’ll reap the rewards of high morale once the busy season kicks in again.
#6: Conduct a case review
Every lawyer has a few matters on their caseload that could use a little extra push forward. Some effective ways to get them off the back burner include:
- Review the file for upcoming deadlines and due dates.
- Contact clients you haven’t heard from in a while to get an update on their circumstances.
- Send out some overdue correspondence to get status on a matter.
- Make a few phone calls to get stalled negotiations going again.
You can also reach out to former clients to get their opinion regarding their feelings about working with your firm, and while you’re at it, request a testimonial from them to help impress potential leads and demonstrate your firm’s credibility.
#7: Spend time with your family
Summer can be a great time to reflect and spend time interacting with your family, so try to schedule your vacation in anticipation of the summer lull. Also take advantage of this downtime by doing some self-examination, reviewing your professional goals and making adjustments wherever necessary. Use this time to recharge and get back on track before things start to pick up again – after all, the busy season is likely right around the corner.
Do you know of other ways to maximize the summer lull at your law firm? Tell us about them in the comments!