11. Institute the “screw up rule.”
If someone makes a mistake, they must immediately tell a superior. Most mistakes can be remedied if discovered soon enough. Give amnesty to an employee if they immediately admit an error. Terminate the employee if they try to hide any mistake.
12. Use hourly employees or independent subcontractors to complete short extensive projects.
Some cases demand extraordinary time commitments. Use contract employees where possible to avoid increasing your overhead. Consider using contract employees to do the summary judgment or work on a particular case with a large time commitment. One additional way to lower your cost is to give an hourly employee subsistence money now and payoff money when the case settles or a recovery is obtained. Remember if you are asking an employee to share in your risk, they must earn a premium when the case settles or a judgment is received.
13. Utilize the power of technology
Many new attorneys are so proficient with their computer they do not need a secretary. This is an incredible savings to your firm. Use your personal computer for deadlines, word processing, and power point presentations. Place deposition testimony on your computer with a Summation program or similar product.
This writer cannot overemphasize the power of the computer, the summation program, and a in effective trial preparation and cross examination. This is a real edge. Use it.
14. Time line case management.
This is perhaps the single most important thing to master if one is to succeed. Time line your cases once every two months. Make sure you have listed all the deadlines, including expert disclosure dates. Look at the work involved and the potential fees. Project costs, time and income. Be conservative. Use the information to determine which cases to push, and which cases to continue. Roughly manage your cash flow based upon the time lines. Always plan at least 6 months ahead for cash management purposes.
15. Establish a credit line; avoid using it if at all possible.
If you must use a credit line to finance your cases, be careful. Time line your cases to make sure you don’t make case decisions based upon your credit needs. If you have a good case, have experience, and a lack of cash, you may consider those specialized lending entities that lend costs for the prosecution of a case. If you do not win, they do not collect their costs or fees.
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