Effective cash management for law firms continues to be hugely important moving forward. However, do enough of our solicitors and legal advisers proactively manage these processes as a key and integral part of their daily work?

Simply instructing intelligent, busy and stressed out people to do yet one more task is unlikely to achieve much, especially if they have insufficient understanding of why they should undertake those tasks. This needs dialogue, context and explanation so that lawyers understand why they need to undertake specific tasks.

This is where properly implemented performance management can and should play a key role. In order to fully manage and motivate your staff, let’s think of some key ways of doing this:

• Linking team and individual job objectives to the firm’s strategy and annual objectives;

• Helping and supporting partners and supervisors – the ‘line managers’ – to follow through on their responsibilities;

• Making sure that the firm’s values and agreed behaviours underpin all activities;

• Making sure that objectives are realistic, practical and workable i.e. SMART;

• Undertaking regular review meetings to re-enforce the way you want things done;

• Regular and informal feedback for all team members – how else do your people develop?;

• Regular training – especially on the job training that is relevant, timely and supportive;

• Open dialogue and making the working environment a positive experience.

In other words, performance management should be an on-going bought-into process – not an ad hoc activity instigated without meaning and often only when things are going wrong.

So – when you next wake up in a cold sweat during the night worrying about the firm’s cash-flow –then perhaps it would be advisable to look at and review your performance review systems and processes. Take your fee earners and staff into your confidence, explain what is needed and then fully support them. Doing this should support a more stable and cash rich business.

Leave a Reply