New Year’s Resolutions, according to historians, date as far back as Ancient Rome with Janus, a mythical king. Janus’ two faces allowed him to look forward and back in time (and, incidentally enough, through doors).
Before the beginning of each year, Romans looked for forgiveness from their enemies and also exchanged gifts. In 153 B.C., the Romans declared January 1st the start of the New Year, the calendar month to which Janus donated his name.
“Making a resolution on New Year’s Day is a time-honored tradition. Earlier celebrants of the holiday went through elaborate rituals to chase away the ghosts of the past. While the Chinese used cymbals and fireworks, others used rites such as exorcisms and purifications. Ceremonies, involving bonfires, processions or parades, often had masks that symbolized the dead,” writes Tree.com.
By denouncing past sins, bad habits, or weaknesses through resolutions, it was thought that a person could exorcize his demons. Announcing intentions for a clean slate at the New Year would provide the release needed to escape ill health or oppression.
For lawyers, making New Year’s resolutions may not release you from ill health, oppression, or war, but resolutions could release law firms from its financial ills or other woes.
So, consider making resolutions for your firm this New Year. Here is a start on five:
1. Create a business strategy for 2012
Around the New Year, when work is at a peak, it’s often difficult to find the time to meet. But, law firm partners and administrators should get together to discuss the short and long-term future of the firm.
Whether your goals are lofty, modest, large or small, a firm’s business strategy should be formalized and written down. No more hallway conversations about the problems and solutions you face.
This year, hire a stenographer to transcribe—not your next court case—but your next partners meeting to ensure no creative idea, innovation, or thought is lost.
2. Revamp your website
Like the Trojans, never look a gift horse in the mouth. This year, that means, don’t question the World Wide Web and the gift of its practically free access and marketing for your firm. Creating a firm blog or starting a social media site, for example, require some time and almost no money.
This year, revamp your firm’s website to connect to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Advertise your firm’s expertise and exceptional employees to attract new clients and associates in 2012.
If your site and its content has already been perfected, consider going mobile.
3. Start using social media
Just like a firm website, social media is a great way to establish free marketing for your firm.
Assign a younger associate to the task. Not only is their billable rate low, but their eye for Millennial detail and savvy for attracting new followers will, undoubtedly, be greatest—an thus most effective—at the firm.
4. Personalize legal products to your clients
This year, clients want specialized services and products. This means alternative billing arrangements or tailor-made service.
Make a New Year’s resolution to be flexible. The economic recession is creating change in a variety of traditional industry—law, healthcare, financial services. Stay competitive by becoming adaptive to your clients’ needs and requests.
Set up January meetings with your clients to discuss ideas for improvement. Ask them if there are any services or products they’d like to see from you this year. Arrive with a few ideas, yourself.
Opening up communication and the willingness to change will certainly lead to success and survival during these difficult economic times.
5. Ask for help
Whatever demons your law firm is hoping to expel this year, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Budget some funds to hire new experts in the field or contractors.
Law is an industry where human capital is of the upmost importance. Like Janus in Ancient Rome, two faces is always better than one.
1. Blair, Gary Ryan. “The History of New Years Resolutions,” Ezine articles. [LINK: http://ezinearticles.com/?The-History-of-New-Years-Resolutions&id=245213]
2. “History Of New Year’s Resolutions,” Lifestyle & Leisure Article in Tree.com. [LINK: http://www.tree.com/lifestyle/history-of-new-year-s-resolutions.aspx]