Most solicitors, wait, nearly all solicitors, track the wrong numbers.
Talking of tracks, if you were managing a schedule for a train, if you wanted your train to arrive at a station would you leave at the time that you wanted it to arrive, or would you take your arrival time, deduct the usual journey time, add a few minutes for delays (leaves on lines, unicorns jumping across the track etc) and then take that as your leaving time?
Hopefully, it would be the latter. So if you wanted to arrive at 10am and the journey took 2 hours, adding some time for delays you might leave at 7.45am.
That is logical isn’t it?
In which case, if solicitors want to bill £10,000 per fee earner each month, where should they start?
The £10,000 figure is the end destination of the journey, so they need to start with the beginning of that journey, then add some time for delays.
What is the beginning of the £10,000 per month billing?
The answer is the number of files opened each month (the leaving time), plus some allowance for some clients dropping off (the delays).
Let’s say that your average bill per file is £1,000 (there is always an average), then clearly you need 10 files opened to, in time, produce your £10,000 billing per month. Add an extra two files for the drop off, and you now know that you must be opening 12 files every month to achieve your targets.
The great news about this is that once you know this number, you can sit down with yourself or each fee earner with this target every week and ask them if they opened 3 files last week. If they didn’t, you need to do one of two things:
1. Generate more enquiries for them; and/or
2. Ensure that they convert the enquiries coming into your firm better than they are currently doing so.
When I have a More Clients Strategy call with a solicitor, they rarely know these numbers. They know the billing target that they are looking to achieve, but they have no idea how many enquiries they need or receive each month or how many files they need to open to achieve their billing target.
Going back to the train journey, they know their arrival time but they have no idea when they need to leave.
If you don’t know your leaving time, I advise you to find it out pretty quickly.