Lean Law Practice: How To Schedule Without an Assistant

LeanLaw Alarm clock against orange background with white text

Having a Lean Law Practice is becoming imperative for Small Law Firms and Solo Practices.

Today’s Cost

Do you pick up your own phone or do you have an assistant do that? What about scheduling?  How much does that person cost to employ, fully loaded? Have you ever measured the cost of scheduling your meetings and calls? I think you’ll be shocked when you do. For many lawyers, it’s in the tens of thousands of dollars a year.

If you don’t measure how much you’re spending, your overhead can get out of control. As the market for legal work shrinks, getting a handle on your law firm’s overhead is going to be crucial not only to staying in business but also for job satisfaction. As hard as you work, you should be happy.

Lean Scheduling: This essential task is super easy and not beneath you.

What’s Your Role?

Many attorneys think that scheduling their own meetings is beneath them. If that’s you, you’ll need to get over that. The best analogy I can give is pumping your own gas. Remember when there used to be people to pump your gas for you? Well, unless you live in Oregon or New Jersey, you’ve been pumping it yourself for decades. Sure, at first it felt strange, but now you don’t think twice about it. That’s what scheduling is going to feel like.

The Tool

There are lots of scheduling tools out there. Let me introduce you to one we really like. It’s efficient, easy to use, and low or no cost. I expect it can save you much of what you’re spending on scheduling. I like and use Mixmax. For now, it only works with Gmail and Google Inbox. Outlook users receive a Mixmax link where they can complete scheduling functions on the web.

One feature I love is where MixMax allows  you to pull up your calendar from within your e-mail and provide available times for a meeting. You send this email to your correspondent and that person clicks on the available time that best works for them. The appointment chosen will automatically appear in your calendar and will send a calendar invitation to the person with whom you’re meeting. This allows you to set meetings easily without revealing your calendar.

No more emails back and forth. No more middleman to help you with this easy task. It’s done!

Mixmax also allows you to insert a group poll to set up a meeting in an email. This is similar to Doodle, but more elegant because the tool saves steps by facilitating calendar invitations and notifications through your Gmail.  Try it on for size and ask yourself if it doesn’t handle most of the scheduling you need. Even if you aren’t willing to use it, what if your assistant used it? How much time would he or she save?

On a simpler note, MixMax will insert a calendar invitation into an e-mail. Not rocket science, but this can be convenient when you want to add some explanation that is awkward to do in a Google or Outlook calendar invitation.

One last point: Scheduling is just one of the functionalities of Mixmax. You should check it out, because, in addition to calendaring and scheduling, it includes other cool features that might enhance your practice like call to action buttons, polls, and the ability to insert enhanced tables into e-mails. The tool integrates with Box.com, Dropbox and many other cloud-based services.

The larger point is MixMax is one of a growing list of cloud-based tools that are humble, competent and play well with others. By this I mean (1) they don’t try to do too much, (2) they fill a specific niche well, and (3) they integrate with leading generic tools as well as complementary niche tools.  Apps like MixMax are the future of legal software.

Getting Started

If all of this sounds great but you need help taking the first step, give me a call or shoot me an email. I started LeanLaw with the mission that every lawyer should have a lean practice. We stand ready to help your solo practice or small firm get lean.

Join the LeanLaw Movement!

Gary Allen, Founder and Practicing Attorney