A small law firm calendar that is perfectly organized and cohesive is rare to find. Whether the calendar is managed on a computer or at your desk, keeping the different elements (personal, client-related, partner-related) on your calendar organized and visible for all partners can be tough.
Even if you’re running a solo practice, your calendar can quickly become your enemy if you don’t begin to manage it more effectively. Overlapping appointments, vacations that don’t align with client needs, and even meetings that conflict with personal obligations are all issues that stem from poor calendar management.
To understand and implement the 3 keys to small law firm calendar management, you need to gain an awareness of your schedule as a whole. Try to cover not only your work-related appointments and meetings, but also personal events and obligations and those of any partners or client needs that go beyond regular meetings.
3 Keys to Small Law Firm Calendar Management
1. Personal events and obligations
Before filling in your calendar with client and work-related appointments and meetings, start with personal events and obligations. It’s especially helpful to code your events by color – for example, green items are personal, blue are client and work-related, and partner-related are orange.
By starting with personal events and obligations as one of the keys to small law firm calendar management, you ensure that you won’t be scrambling to fit in or get to personal and family-related activities and obligations you can’t get out of later on in the year. With these events on the calendar first, all client, work, and partner-related events will have to be scheduled around them, affording you a better work-life balance.
2. Client and work-related appointments
Next on the calendar should be client and work-related appointments. Most of these events will be scheduled in on an ongoing basis, but you may be able to fill some in now. As you add these appointments and meetings to the calendar, you will do so around your personal events since they’ve already been scheduled. This is the portion of the calendar you will tend to and make changes to the most often, so organize it well and ensure none of your appointments overlap. Take special care to make immediate note of any rescheduling or cancellations – if you don’t make note of it immediately, you may forget to add it to the calendar.
3. Partner and client-related yearly events
Finally, it’s helpful to keep track of any partner and client-related yearly events on your small law firm calendar. If there are a few partners at your firm, you can ensure to schedule yearly vacations and other events in a way that doesn’t overlap unnecessarily with others’. If any of your clients have yearly events that may affect their needs, you should try to preemptively accommodate those as well as you can in advance.
“For example, if you know that your client attends a yearly trade show, and frequently returns from that show with a host of questions or concerns, try and make sure that you are around for that post-show contact. Maybe your client has some patents on a key product, and needs immediate action to analyze and potentially shut down infringing products they encountered at the show. You can assume they will want immediate action, so best not schedule your annual fraternity ski week for that time where you know your client will want you accessible.” – Gaston Kroub founding partner of Kroub, Silbersher & Kolmykov PLLC
If small law firm calendar management just hasn’t been your forte, there are a multitude of options available to you. One of the most cost-effective options is hiring a virtual receptionist. A virtual receptionist can answer your small firm’s phone calls with a custom script, qualify leads for you, screen calls, take appointments, and help manage your firm’s calendar for around $120/month. You can get started with a free 30 day trial here!