We talk about tech fixes to productivity problems in the modern law firm, and we sit with attorney, author, and legal FireFighter Jeremy Richter, to learn how to battle the blazes of owning a business.
Organization Tips For Lawyers
The article in today’s Hot Take is from the American Bar Association “Tech Tips for Young Lawyers to Get and Stay Organized” by Peggy Gruenke. This one runs down not only behaviors but recommends tech and software to help. Really good info here, but we have to look back to the Florida Bar Survey of Tech in Law Firms – over 60% of respondents said they have no Case Management system, 78% no document management system, and for Litigators; 92% of them had no litigation support software.
So the question we end up at – is tech the answer, or another barrier? It’s not entirely clear, but what is clear, especially after talking to Jeremy, is people and behaviors come first, tech fixes second.
Building A Better Law Practice
A repeat guest on the show, and here to discuss his latest book Stop Putting Out Fires In Your Law Firm, Jeremy W. Richter practices civil defense litigation in Birmingham, Alabama. He discovered early in his practice that managing cases is only half the battle in the practice of law. Building and maintaining relationships with clients is equally important. Jeremy has set out to innovate ways to develop client relationships and improve methods for achieving efficient and effective results. In addition to this book, you can read more of Jeremy’s ideas on his law blog and in his first book, Building a Better Law Practice.
On Leadership, Management and Personality Types
In this excerpt from the podcast Jake and Paul talk with Jeremy about organization and management styles, as well as understanding the personality types of the people in the organization to communicate better:
Jake: So let’s talk about leadership. Organizational change or trying to solve any problem at a law firm level is challenging. And there’s competing views on what style of leadership is needed to enact a change in the first place, like, a firm hand, a nurturing hand, carpenter, gardener…what are your thoughts on this and how does management style kind of impact the firefighting?
Jeremy: I think that’s a really important question, and, obviously, it’s going to differ for everybody. But what I want to do is, I want to hire people that can do their job without close oversight, and I want to empower them to make all the decisions they need to without me. Now, certainly, I’m available. So, if I give something to an associate and he’s got questions, I’m there to answer all his questions that help him out, but I want to give him what he needs to just take that assignment and run with it, and not feel like I’m looking over his shoulder, the same with staff. I just want people to feel like this is their job, they need to do it however it is they best accomplish it in order to achieve the broader ends. So that’s what I like to do. As far as a firm hand or nurturing hand, I think that depends on the other person as much as how I want to handle it. So, I have in the last, about a year and a half or so, this may be a little bit too woo-woo for some people, but I’ve gotten into this personality typing system called the Enneagram, that divides everybody up into nine different personality types. And it helps me understand where other people are coming from and how I might be better able to communicate with them by just kind of using different tactics or methods that will help them receive whatever I need to communicate in a better way.
Interviewer: Wow. Yeah, the Enneagram stuff, I’m definitely into that type 3s, type 7s, … I mean, it’s all really a tool to help you be empathic, though. I don’t think it is the answer. I think the way in which you just described that was really cool because you’re saying, “I’m using it, not as the answer, but a way to get to the answer, which is proper communication.” That’s really great, man. Oh, I love that.
Jeremy: Well, I’m not naturally empathic. Like, I’m a 3, so I am an achiever. I’m a really driven person, and empathy is not strong with me. And so, you know, for me, the Enneagram, it’s given me language to understand things about myself that I didn’t understand before. But also, you emphasized what the importance of it is, is that, it helps me communicate with other people and figure out what makes them tick, and we can make this whole thing run a little better.
Get More Information About Development Law Firms
Be sure to listen to the entire podcast episode for more information and conversation about organization, management, productivity for law firms and more. If you want more LAWsome subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast platform, and for the latest in legal marketing insights and information be sure to subscribe to the Consultwebs Newsletter here –>SUBSCRIBE<—
Jeremy’s latest book Stop Putting Out Fires: Building a More Efficient and Profitable Law Practice is available on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes and other platforms, find them all HERE