Don’t look now, but the end of 2022 is almost here. Has your small law firm or solo practice accomplished what you wanted it to accomplish this year?
Whatever your answer, the good news is there’s still time — plenty of it, in fact. Here, we share some ways for lawyers in solo practice and at small law firms to have a strong year-end finish:
Make the most of the holiday season slowdown.
Many practice areas quiet down during the holidays, because people are busy and put things off until after the start of the new year. If this is true for you, don’t squander the quiet time. Use it to do something you’ve been putting off (re-writing your website description, perhaps? Or freshening up your LinkedIn profile?) It also may not be a bad time to try a new business development effort that you haven’t gotten around to yet, like researching 2023 conferences you might like to attend or reaching out to five contacts whom you haven’t heard from in a while. None of this is to say you should be panic-level busy at all times, of course — just that rare quiet periods are a good time to dust off your “I’ve Been Meaning To Do That” list.
List your highlights.
Many people can’t come up with the best things that happened to them in the past year right off the top of their heads — and that can sometimes make them feel like they didn’t accomplish much. If you feel something similar, it may help to sit down with a pen and paper and take a few minutes to write down the high points of the past 10 months. First, it’s a thought exercise that will likely remind you of all the good things you’ve done. Second, it will get you thinking about how you can repeat or improve upon them in 2023. It’s okay if this process takes more than one sitting, by the way. It’s likely that more things will come to you the longer you think about it.
Reach out for help if you need it.
Let’s say you’re one of the many small law firms or solo practitioners who didn’t quite hit all your marks, even if you tried everything in 2022 that you had set out to try. That happens in many cases, but just because you couldn’t pull it off all on your own doesn’t in any way mean you failed! Law firms can try their own hand at marketing themselves, but for 2023, you may want to consider working with a marketing vendor. These trained professionals can handle your marketing for you, so you can spend more time practicing without worrying that your efforts to draw in new business aren’t working.
Start brainstorming milestones for 2023.
Jotting down goals for the coming year on a cocktail napkin on New Year’s Eve may have a certain romance to it, but to put it plainly, it’s not a good way to set goals for the future. Setting worthwhile goals and devising a plan for how to reach them takes time, so start now. For the time being, it’s okay to stay in the thinking stage. You may want to try by setting “wildest dream” goals (for example, expanding your law firm to offer new practice areas). What will happen is that, over the coming weeks, you’ll naturally modify them to become more realistic. It takes time, but it avoids the joylessness of self-criticism (e.g. “I’m a dreamer. There’s no way I can do that.”) and still helps adjust your goals to something more reachable.
Remember, not getting to everything you intended to get to in 2022 shouldn’t be a source of disappointment. There’s quite a bit of runway, and any goal you don’t reach might be a good one to save for 2023.
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