7 Common Mistakes When Disciplining and Terminating Associates and Staff

By Philip J. Kavesh, J.D., LL.M. (Taxation), CFP®, ChFC, California State Bar Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law Dealing properly with employees is yet another key challenge to running a smooth-operating practice.  And, once again, this is the kind of stuff we never learn in law school or any other continuing education course.  Unfortunately, I have made all of the following mistakes and have had to learn the hard way.  By reading this article, I hope that you will now be adequately warned and can hopefully avoid making the same mistakes! Mistake #1: Quick to Hire, Slow…

The Importance of Taking Time Off and Getting a Break from Work

By Kristina Schneider, Practice Success Coach The concept of taking time off of work or stepping away from work seems like an obvious one, but for those that are super-dedicated to their job, this can actually be a difficult task to do sometimes. It took me some time, but it was something that I had to learn over a number of years of going full-steam, with very little to no breaks. I can recall when I was first hired by Phil back in 2004, I was an eager, freshly graduated college student. There were a lot of details to my…

Clearing the Bubble—The Transition To Fixed Fees

By Philip J. Kavesh, J.D., LL.M. (Taxation), CFP®, ChFC, California State Bar Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law In the past, I have emphasized and reemphasized the advantages of utilizing a fixed fee structure rather than an hourly billing system. Here’s just a few of the main advantages for a fixed fee structure: Fixed fees avoid the need to maintain hourly records and keep track of every moment of your time. Fixed fees avoid having to go through the effort of preparing, reviewing and sending out billings. Fixed fees avoid you having to be a bill collector,…

Reduce Your Number of No-Shows and Cancellations with a Proper Confirmation Process

By Kristina Schneider, Practice Success Coach Having worked with numerous estate planning professionals over the years, one of the issues that a lot of people have struggled with are appointment and seminar no-shows and cancellations.  One of my first questions is always, “What does your confirmation process look like?” For some, they don’t have any process in place at all.  For others, they have a mixture of an e-mail that is sent or a phone call the day before.  While something is better than nothing, there is always room for improvement to help reduce the number of no-shows and cancellations….

Drowning in E-mail? Tips to Save Time and Be More Efficient!

By Kristina Schneider, Practice Success Coach Electronic mail, otherwise known as e-mail, has become a vital and primary form of communication for most businesses.  In fact, it’s the very reason you’re probably reading this newsletter article. While e-mail has become a very efficient way to communicate and handle business, it can also become a source of major inefficiency and time-wasting in the office.  Think about how much time is spent sifting through all of your daily e-mail.  Double or triple that when you come back from the weekend.  And let’s not even talk about how much e-mail we come back…

A Conversation About Perceived Value

By Melinda Merk, J.D., LL.M. (Taxation), CFP®, AEP® (Distinguished) This time of year, we tend to see an uptick in estate and trust administration and guardianship cases. All too often, we see situations where the deceased or incapacitated person did their estate planning on the cheap, did it themselves or, worst of all, did nothing. Unfortunately, their families and loved ones are now bearing the added cost and emotional burden of a court-supervised probate or guardianship proceeding and other unintended consequences, which could have been alleviated had the proper planning and documents been in place, working with an experienced estate…

Top 6 Strategies for Managing Interruptions in the Workplace

By Kristina Schneider, Practice-Building & Marketing Specialist According to a study, the average time spent per day by employees being interrupted and trying to refocus is 2.1 hours. Interruptions at the workplace is estimated to cost businesses in the U.S. over half a trillion dollars each year!* While interruptions at the workplace are inevitable, it doesn’t mean that they cannot be minimized or reduced. Below are what I consider to be the top ten strategies for managing (and reducing) the amount of interruptions at the workplace. Strategy #1: Evaluate (and change) your physical workspace. One of the biggest eye-openers for…

Free Checkup Meetings Generate Lots of Revenue!

By Philip J. Kavesh, J.D., LL.M. (Taxation), CFP®, ChFC, California State Bar Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law In a prior article, we discussed the “free service package” alternative to an annual maintenance fee program.  The package included a free attorney checkup meeting every three years. You may be wondering, “How do you get your existing clients to come back in for these checkup meetings and actually generate additional revenue from them?” (Before I address these questions, let me first note that, even if you do have and decide to keep your current maintenance plan, periodic checkup…

Staff Reviews & Setting Goals at the Beginning of the New Year

By Philip J. Kavesh, J.D., LL.M. (Taxation), CFP®, ChFC, California State Bar Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law In successfully running a law practice for over 40 years, I have found that it’s vitally important to periodically meet with each of my staff members (even ones that may be part-time or independent contractors) to review their job performance and set clear and defined goals.  Once you do these reviews on a regular basis, you will be amazed how much more motivated and productive your staff will be! I do these reviews semi-annually, at the beginning of January…

The Success of Your Business Starts with a Happy Work Environment

By Kristina Schneider, Practice-Building & Marketing Specialist “Businesses often forget about the culture and ultimately suffer for it because you can’t deliver good service from unhappy employees.”  – Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos   An often overlooked aspect of developing a successful business is really taking the time to look at the employees, the work environment and the company culture.  The fact is, if you have a disorderly, stressful, and hostile work environment, chances are that you have unhappy employees who don’t like coming into work every day.  And the bold truth of it is that your business will suffer…