To really feel like you’re getting a fresh start this spring, take a look around your estate planning law practice. Remember that the physical space is as much a part of your marketing as your website, videos and social media. How you present yourself and your firm to the IRL (In Real Life) world is important. It also impacts how you feel when you walk in the door everyday: excited and ready to dig into a fulfilling day, or wishing you had someplace nicer to spend the day.
How does the office look and feel? Whether you believe in the power of the immediate environment to impact productivity on a spiritual level or not, there’s no doubt that a chaotic mess makes performance more challenging. You have to start by finding what you need, on the top of your desk or your desktop, before you can even start working.
If you rent office space, take a look at your lease. Is your landlord or property management company obligated to keep the walls freshly painted, floor coverings clean or do annual exterior maintenance—think walkways, entry doors, lobby? If things look dingy, it’s time to make a phone call and get the building freshened up.
If you own the building, consider the property from a prospective client’s point of view. What do they see when they pull into your parking lot or walk down the hallway? Look at the building’s exterior. If it is modern and well-maintained, client confidence will grow. If it looks like it’s headed to “zombie” status, you will have to overcome client’s concerns that something is not right with your practice. By the way, clients will not say this to your face, because they won’t want to seem rude. But a poorly maintained property will send a message loud and clear that you are not managing the details of your own property—how can they be sure you’ll take good care of their property?
What happens when they arrive inside? Today’s client wants to see that they are in the office of a successful professional. That means furnishings that are up to date, current magazines, sparkling clean floor coverings and clean windows. Would you hire an attorney with a conference room that looks like yours? Be brutal in your assessments. Your prospects will be!
Is your law firm “millennial friendly”? The oldest millennials just turned 36 this past February (2017) and that means that they are your next big target market. With children, homes and mortgages, they need wills and estate planning for their families, and Elder Law help for their baby boomer parents. If your law firm is stuck in the 1990s, these young adults are going to notice. They are already more minded to go online for legal services than any other generation, so you have to give them a good reason to follow the traditional model of going to see an attorney with a physical office.
Cleanliness matters. If the cleaning service isn’t doing a good enough job, speak up. If your landlord hired them, let the landlord know your space is not being cleaned properly. If you are a major contributing factor, with food and beverage containers littering your desk or the office kitchen, find the energy to clean up your act. Colleagues and associates find it dispiriting to have a messy boss. Don’t be that guy.
Keep things running smoothly with systems that work. There’s no good reason to run out of supplies, folders, coffee, paper, printer ink. Whether you buy from a national office supply chain or a local vendor, use an account and assign someone to keep track of inventory. Use something as simple as a spreadsheet to keep an eye on supplies. If you think that supplies are walking out the door, have a group meeting and set a system in place. Even if you can afford to supply everyone in your firm with office equipment for their homes, there’s no need to do so.