I have held every position in my firm: lawyer, receptionist, admissions coordinator, cafe waiter, paralegal, marketer, event planner, director of operations, strategist and witness to wills signatures. It’s quite common to come across seasoned solo lawyers who always answer the phone, email inquiries, print, scan, and copy, essentially doing all the solitary tasks a firm needs. Doing it all does not mean that truly solo lawyers fail; working in this way has led many solos to comfortable and extraordinary success. However, if you are a solo lawyer who is already overwhelmed with the demands of your day and want to continue growing your business without exhausting yourself, you can’t do it all on your own.
$ 10 per hour, $ 100 per hour and $ 1,000 per hour of tasks
A few years ago my trainer Heather hubbard Encouraged me to categorize all of my business ‘work’ into $ 10 an hour, $ 100 an hour, and $ 1,000 an hour tasks:
- The $ 10 an hour tasks involve repeated activities and are administrative. For example, I hired a marketing intern so I no longer worry about designing Canva slides for Instagram instead of completing a sticky probate question.
- Tasks costing $ 100 an hour require legal training or some other professional. For example, I hired an SEO specialist to optimize my blog content.
- $ 1,000 an hour (and $ 10,000 an hour, why not?) Tasks require you to work at your business and generate the most income. For example, I spend time speaking on podcasts to position myself as an estate planning lawyer for underserved people. $ 1,000 an hour tasks may not work right away, but they are worth it in the long run.
The point of the exercise was to see what I spent most of my time doing. Unfortunately, these were time-consuming administrative tasks. I was challenged to devote time only to $ 100 per hour, $ 1000 per hour and $ 10,000 per hour tasks while delegating my $ 10 per hour tasks and about $ 100 an hour. It may seem counterintuitive to spend time working on income-generating tasks, even outside of your day-to-day business, but it works. Try.
Here is an example of a list of tasks by cost:
Tasks at $ 10 per hour (routines and administrative)
- Answer phones
- Travel and accommodation reservation
- Creation and management of spreadsheets
- Creation and sending of engagement letters
- Email filtering and management of the firm’s inbox
- Calendar management
- Order supplies
- Organizing digital files
- PDF design
- Formatting presentations
- Social media posting
- Print, copy, send
- Scheduling meetings
- Updating customer files
- Writing greeting cards and sending gifts
Tasks of $ 100 per hour (lawyer, paralegal or other professional)
- Bookkeeping account
- Conduct consultations with qualified prospects
- Drafting and revision of succession plans
- External marketing
- Follow-up of potential customers
- Payroll management
- Pay bills
- Perform legal research
- Taking important customer calls
- Writing an article for a conference
- Writing blog posts for SEO
$ 1,000 (or $ 10,000) of tasks per hour (generating activity)
- Build a marketing funnel
- Creation of a new legal package offer
- Implement standard operating systems and procedures
- Interview the best clients
- Networking with a financial planner
- Recruit the right team members
- Refine your brand, value and ideal customer
- Speaking at a legal conference
- Write a book for the benefit of potential customers
If you’ve ever hired someone to do a task that you do over and over again, I hate to tell you, but you’re wasting time and money. Either you are micromanaging your job requirements are unclear, or you are hiring the wrong people. Maybe all three?
(Additional Credit: Spend 20 minutes listing the different tasks in your business and categorize them according to the heading above. What you put on your list and the price of each task may vary, but generally categories work.)
Next week, I’ll share some tips on how to hire the right person for your new delegated tasks.
I would love to hear your constructive comments or questions at [email protected] I’m always looking for topic suggestions! Did I mention that I signed up with a literary agent for my next estate planning book? You can read all about it here.
Iffy Ibekwe is the lead lawyer and founder of Ibekwe Law, SARL. She is an evangelical lawyer in estate planning for intergenerational wealth transfer with effective wills and trusts. Iffy is writing her first book on culturally competent estate planning, available in 2022 (prayers in the air!). She graduated from the University of Texas Law School and has practiced law for over 14 years. Iffy can be contacted by email at [email protected], at his website, and on Instagram @thejustincaselawyer.