Building systems for your law firm

By May 31, 2019June 24th, 2019law, Operations, systems

Why is creating systems for common workflows so challenging?

As you may recall, that’s the question that was raised last Tuesday.

I told you about the lawyer who said she was finding it difficult breaking procedures down into bite sized pieces.

Then I explained this is a common challenge for most lawyers I’ve talked to.

And I promised to explain how you can meet this challenge.

The Big Picture

Every law firm has a bunch of discreet tasks that are mindless-but-necessary. Some are more important than others…

…if you consider them separately.

Of course, they’re ALL are super important.

Especially when you consider that they ALL have to be done by someone.

Now, realize: it’s best if those tasks aren’t done by a lawyer—especially not by you!

Also, consider that…

Some of the tasks are super-repetitive, meaning they have to be done every single day.

Other tasks are done less often.

But the key word here is “repetitive.”

Now that brings to me something that seems like common sense, but it’s definitely not a common practice…

Any key task that’s done repeatedly should have a checklist.

Checklists are the basic building blocks of any kind of smooth operation.

For example…

Pilots use checklists for every task involved in flying a plane. Even for seemingly menial things.


Well because, as this article about pilot errors points out:

“A surprising number of accidents result from [small lapses], like…forgetting to fasten the cockpit door. They’re small mistakes that…escalate into a series of big ones.”

So pilots have checklists to remind them to close the cockpit door, even though they would remember to do so 99% of the time without having it on a checklist.

Why bother to put menial tasks on a checklist?

Because, as pilots will tell you: small mental lapses often have serious consequences…

Checklists are important!

So you need to start creating checklists.

Fortunately, if you go about it properly, this is actually pretty easy to do.

The “proper” way is to use paper and pen (or pencil, if you prefer)

So go grab those tools now…

Start making a list of the things you should have a checklist for. And to get the ball rolling, let’s start with what happens when a new client comes into your firm.

This is a common, repetitive occurrence for pretty much every law firm.

So what’s the process for handling this situation?

Well, let’s be clear about “the situation.”

What probably happens is the prospective client will call your office wanting to learn more about your services. That’s how you sense they’re interested in hiring you, right?

So what does the person who answers the phone say to find out if they’re interested, and what kind of legal probelm they have?

Do they say the same thing to every caller or do they improvise?

Hopefully, they have a script that you’ve worked out, but if not…

What questions should they ask?

Think about this and map it out using the aforementioned pen and paper.

This is how you go about creating your (ideal) checklist.

Just keep writing out the questions until you run out of ideas (remembering the goal of this script is to get as many prospects as possible to book an appointment with you).

Then, after you run out of ideas for the script for getting clients to book an appointment to come to your office, work on the script for the receptionist or whoever greets them.

In my next email (on Tuesday), I’ll give you more guidance on fleshing these two checklists out (so you can see the more of the ideal process)

But first I want to see how you do on your own.

Oh, and if you’re not convinced of the importance of using checklists, read New York Times bestseller: The Checklist Manifesto.

And if you’re ready to take bold, swift action to streamline your law practice you’ll be interested in my 2-day “Operations Workshop.” It will be in New Orleans on Friday, August 16th & 17th.

This is not like other workshops you’ve perhaps attended or heard about) where lofty advice is dispensed by a guru seated at the head of a conference table.

We’ll be working hands-on with 10 lawyers, to document systems, plus building out automation and unveiling powerful, but little-known outsourcing tricks. In short, this is a “get stuff done” workshop for impatient lawyers who want fast results (without any fluff or nonsense).

If this sounds intriguing shoot me an email. Here’s what you do…

  • Address the email to me at
  • Type “I’m interested in the Operations Workshop
  • Then Hit “send,” and I’ll get back to you right away with more details.

Did you see that? A simple checklist!


Oh, if you prefer, you can just apply for the Operations Workshop directly.