In this week’s edition of How Lawyers Work, we talked to Billie Tarascio, attorney and owner of Modern Law, PLLC. Billie worked at various firms before starting her own family law practice in Mesa, Arizona. She is also a law firm business consultant, skilled practitioner, and national speaker.
What apps or tools are essential to your daily workflow?
Zipwhip -This texting app is a game changer for allowing clients and potential clients to communicate with the office via texting.
Clio – Clio’s roll outs have us as excited as ever about a program we have been using for more than five years.
Trello – Visualizing our workflow by phase of case, attorney, and tasks within each case makes it easy to see at a glance how the firm is performing and spot bottlenecks in our workflow.
Box – Box does exactly what we need it to do. It manages documents, tasks within documents, has version control and makes sharing a breeze.
Slack – Using slack for internal communications cuts down on the endless email traffic and allows for creative communications. Our #dailynumbers channel has skyrocketed overall productivity with everyone reporting each day.
Google Apps – Email, calendar and sheets for information we want at our fingertips
Infusionsoft – Kills our intake process with the help of Zapier shooting information to troll, sheets, and Clio. Email campaigns and newsletters are a key piece of our sales process.
What does your workspace look like?
I have a home office, a work office, and the ability to work from anywhere.
How do you keep track of your calendars and deadlines?
Google calendar, Clio, Box and Trello Tasks.
What is your coffee service setup?
(Other beverages are fine, of course, but we think you should really be serving coffee!)
Keurig, which isn’t all that exciting. We usually make three trips or so a day to A.J.’s—a gourmet grocery store in our shopping center—for iced green tea, iced coffee, and delicious baked goods (tip: always provide baked beautiful goods and warm drinks for settlement conferences. It improves your chances of settling by 64.5%).
What is one thing that you listen to, read, or watch that everyone should?
Game of Thrones has to be the best television out there. Television has now surpassed movies in moving beyond the predictable two hour movie plot. The characters in the best series are complex and both lovable and despicable. Breaking Bad is another must-do series.
Top Chef is a family favorite. We get to learn about food, cooking, and group dynamics. It’s a fantastic teaching opportunity.
Apple Music is a great way to listen to whatever you want, whenever you want. I like that it’s on demand.
I think Traction is the best business book I have ever read. It gave me immediate practical insight on growing a business and managing teams.
What is your favorite local place to network or work solo?
The best place to work solo is in my home office. Staying out of the firm office minimizes distractions and improves productivity. For networking I usually grab Panera or lunch or coffee somewhere.
I have a home office that is attached to the house but unaccessible through it, which is great. It provides enough separation for peace and quiet while still being at home. My office is located about 10 mins away from my house and a mile from where my kids go to school. The office is located in an upscale shopping center which provides for fantastic lunch options and recovery from emergency clothing mis-haps. We also do weekly yoga and monthly facials in our fantastic location.
What are three things you do without fail every day?
I always eat breakfast and drink coffee. I always have lunch and green tea, and wine is usually involved at some point in the evening. Apparently my day revolves around food and beverages.
I also set alarms each day to give employees positive feedback. This last quarter’s major goal was to improve employee performance and interpersonal relationships, probably the hardest part of my job. Setting time aside to celebrate and recognize success went a long way toward achieving that goal.
Who else would you like to see answer these questions?
Patrick Palace, I hear he has a firm, yoga studio and vineyard…all sounds amazing. I’d like to know how other lawyers incorporate fun and exercise in their lives and in their firms. (Editor’s note: Patrick answered these questions a few months back!)