#RichLifeLawyer Podcast 011: Importance of Estate Planning Law Firm Systems
Importance of Estate Planning Law Firm Systems
There are several things lawyers are known for:
- poor communication;
- being extremely “busy”; and
- not giving great service once you’ve signed up and paid your bill.
There is one primary reason for this: poor estate planning law firm systems.
Poor Estate Planning Law Firm Communication
First poor communication.
- Estate planning attorneys shouldn’t wait for you to reach out to them.
- Estate planning attorneys should have built in follow up procedures.
- Estate planning attorneys should have built in communication procedures.
Poor Estate Planning Law Firm Scheduling
Second, being extremely “busy”
- For the most part there aren’t a lot of unique estate planning cases;
- The shells are very similar – it’s what goes into them that is different;
- With foresight, it should be possible to plan ahead and complete work on time.
While fires make us feel important, meeting deadlines on time and on budget is possible if each case is inserted into a step-by-step process designed to get the information needed and the documents completed.
Poor Estate Planning Law Firm Follow Up
Third, not giving great estate planning service after you’ve signed up.
It’s not for a lack of want to.
- Most law firms are extremely disorganized.
- Most law firms don’t look ahead more than a few days on the calendar.
- They are unequipped to give you a good service – they are trying their best just to output the basic service you signed up for.
The solution? Ask your estate planning attorney if they have WRITTEN processes and procedures for handling their business. If the answer is no, that should be a red flag for you.
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Christopher Small is a Kirkland estate planning attorney who helps people get rich and live forever. He is also the owner of CMS Law Firm LLC.
Importance of Estate Planning Law Firm Systems Transcript
Hi everybody this is Christopher Small and this is episode eleven of the Rich Life Lawyer Podcast. Welcome to the show, excited to have you here. This is the second episode of this new podcast format. We’re going to talk a lot more about the inner workings of the firm and the thought process behind what we do and why we do it. More so than your typical, you know you should get a will. Or these are the elements of you know, an irrevocable life insurance trust. You know we’ll do that on the Rich Life Lawyer Show which you can find by going to Youtube It’s also be a podcast because we’ll strip the audio out of the video and have that as a podcast.
But I want to break these up because I love to talk about and I’m really proud of the way that my office functions, that my firm functions and the things that go into that and the the reasons behind why we do what we do and this is a great outlet for me to talk about them. So here we are. Today, what I want to talk about is the importance of estate planning law firm systems. I think I probably talked about it a little bit in the last episode you know when I talk about the John Howie experience. And the way that things run smoothly and everything works and people can have a consistent experience.
Today I wanted to dive in to the importance of systems specifically. And as I was thinking about what I was gonna say for this episode. I just tried to sort of think about the typical stereotypes of attorneys. And nothing about untrustworthy or maybe car salesy the or whatever. That’s a separate kind of reputation but more specifically what I’m talking about is three things really that popped in mind for me really fast is that we are poor communicators, right. We’re always extremely busy which means that we’re hard to get in touch with, hard to schedule phone call with, hard to pin down for anything, and that we don’t give a great service once you’ve signed up and paid for that service. And those are the three things that I am fighting against every day with my own firm.
And what I mean by that is I’m fighting against that overall stereotype. I think that we are really good at all three of those things and I think there’s one primary reason why we don’t have a reputation for those things. And that is that we have really great systems. And systems what I mean by that are written processes and procedures so that the things that we do on a daily basis are pre-planned. That are thought out. And the things that we are going to do in the future are pre-planned and thought out and already there so that we don’t have to remember to do things. They just pop up and we do them. And I decided to, what I thought would be a good idea is to just break down into these three problems in the way that we overcome them with systems. Very briefly.
So the first is poor communication, right. Most attorneys wait for you to reach out to them, right. Most attorneys don’t have built in follow up procedures and most attorneys don’t have built in communication procedures. We do, right. So every Tuesday we reach out to all of our current clients to check in. If we have news to report, then we report it. If we have status to update, then we update it. But otherwise we simply reach out and say, you know this is just part of what we do. How are things going? Is there any way that we can help you? We’re working on XYZ for you, we plan to have that completed by X date or whatever and that’s how it goes. So that’s one of the ways that our systems really eliminate poor communication.
Another way that eliminate, we eliminate poor communication is to have just very specific follow up call procedures for people when they do call. So if a client calls and they have a question, we take a message, we set up a time for a call back, and we take detailed notes so that I can be prepared to answer the questions so the call can go smoothly as possible. So we’re all prepared to talk at that time. So there’s not a lot of back and forth but those kinds of things just pre-thought out, pre-planned to make a huge difference on the experience of the client and also on the amount of work that it takes me to do, right. I only have to make one phone call. That saves me a lot of time because there’s not a lot of back and forth. There’s not a lot of messages left. It’s just done.
Second, being extremely busy. For the most part there aren’t a lot of unique estate planning cases. In contrary to what some attorneys egos would have you believe that’s not true, right. The shells are very similar. You know so somebody comes in for a will, someone else comes in for a will, the way that it looks and be very similar. What’s different is what goes into them and what’s different is the way that they’re set up or the shows that are used to make sure that each person that comes in has their own individual goals achieved. So it’s not a lot about starting from scratch and writing things. It’s about, you know, what are you doing and how can we use our tools to help you reach your goals. With foresight, it should be possible to plan ahead and complete over working time and while fire make attorneys feel important. You know running around like hey I’ve got all this stuff to do today, it’s so important, so busy, meeting deadlines on time, and on budget.
It’s possible if each client is inserted into a step by step process designed to get the information needed and the documents completed. A lot of what holds me up is waiting the documents from clients. But there’s also a lag if I’m not careful and if our systems are tight, for me getting that information putting it into to the documents that are required and getting it back out. That is where attorneys fall short. They don’t have systems in place to make sure that what documents are received. They don’t put it on the calendar to make sure that those documents are turned into estate plane documents, that the follow up is done, that the scheduling is done correctly and all attorneys don’t want to do this because they don’t believe that down time is right. You know I like it when we when I come into the office every day and there are no fires. That we know exactly what we’re doing. That the day is boring because we’re just doing work, we’re servicing our clients. We’re setting up new clients and we’re doing a great job. That is the way that every law office should be run.
And third not giving great service after you’ve signed up. A couple things here. It’s not for lack of want to buy attorneys. You know most law firms are extremely disorganized. You know the first two problems are rampant in their firms almost all forms don’t look ahead more than a few days on the calendar. They’re unequipped to give you a good service. They’re trying their best just to output the basic service you signed up for. I can tell you that I’ve seen it firsthand. I’ve been in firms that are like that and when I started my own firm. It was like that for a little while because they didn’t have the systems in place but I have been diligent about creating the systems. I am diligent about implementing the systems and I’m diligent about continuing to upgrade the systems so that we have a great service from start to finish. For example a lot of people, when people sign up with us, the service starts right away.
You know there’s a thank you card just for signing up that comes. In most cases there is a set of things that happen immediately after you sign them before even any work begins to make sure that you understand that you are important to us. All the other firms don’t do that because they just haven’t taken the time to think about what needs to be done and writing it down and making sure that it gets done. So when you’re looking for an estate planning attorney or any other attorney make sure that you ask them if they have a written processes and procedures that written part is important. It can be written down. If they’re not written down, then not everyone knows them and things are probably getting done differently at different stages of the of the work which is not a good.
If the answer is no that should be a red flag for you, you may want to consider hiring someone else. I would love if you hired us. I’d love to help you but if not find someone that’s organized, find someone I can give you that service and give you the work that you need and give you the peace of mind that you need. Alright that’s it. This is Christopher Small of CMS law firm. Once again this is Rich Life Lawyer Podcast episode eleven. Thank you for listening and I’ll catch you next week.