Back to Top
Episode No: 380

Abstract

In this episode, Stephanie talks with the managing attorney for World One Law Group, Karol Brown, about the importance of tracking KPIs in your law firm and what metrics you should track. In Karol’s firm, they realized they were not measuring enough, so they decided to take another look and change that. She gives examples of the metrics she is now tracking for the different aspects of her business and their importance.

Points of Note:

  • 10:34 -- Why KPIs are important for your law firm.
  • 19:59 -- Measuring every aspect of your business.
  • 30:48 -- How to get your team to impact the “numbers” at your firm.

Speakers

Stephanie Everett

Stephanie Everett is the CEO and Lead Business Coach of Lawyerist, where she leads the Lawyerist Lab program. She is the co-author of the bestselling book The Small Firm Roadmap and is a regular guest and co-host of the weekly Lawyerist Podcast.

Karol Brown

Karol Brown is a member of Lawyerist Lab and the managing attorney for World One Law Group in Bellevue, Washington. Her firm provides high-quality immigration law services for families, employers, and humanitarian immigration to the United States. The firm provides affordable immigration expertise with a personal touch. Karol earned her juris doctorate from Yale Law School and a master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Episode Transcript

Transcript automatically created.

Announcer 1 (00:03):

Welcome to The Lawyerist Podcast, a series of discussions with entrepreneurs and innovators about building a successful law practice in today’s challenging and constantly changing legal market. Lawyerist supports attorneys, building client-centered, and future-oriented small law firms through community, content, and coaching both online and through the Lawyerist Lab. And now from the team that brought you The Small Firm Roadmap and your podcast hosts.

Ashley  (00:35):

Hi, I’m Ashley Steckler

Stephanie  (00:36):

And I’m Stephanie Everett. And this is episode 380 of the Lawyerist podcast. Part of the legal talk network. Today, I’m talking with Carol Brown about how she got started using KPIs in her law practice.

Ashley  (00:50):

Today’s podcast is brought to you by MyCase, LawPay and Posh virtual receptionists. We wouldn’t be able to do this show without their support. So stay tuned and we’ll tell you more about them later on.

Stephanie  (01:01):

So Ashley, you and I just had the privilege and honor to hang out in Sundance, Utah for a few days with some of the members of our lab coaching program.

Ashley  (01:12):

Yeah. So Stephanie, I’m curious, it was so great in so many ways. If you can share a little bit of your vision for this retreat sanctuary weekend getaway, it was kind of a, a grouping of all of those things.

Stephanie  (01:29):

Yeah. I think the, a vision was pretty simple. We wanted to take a small group of lawyers who really thinking about their business and focused on what it means to work on your business instead of in it. And we realized it’s hard when you’re in the day to day. So for the first year that this group existed, this is kind of a subset of our, of our larger lab group. We were just meeting on zoom calls. And what we discovered is it’s really hard if you’re just in the middle of the day, you’re just working on your day, doing all the things. And then suddenly you had to jump onto a call in this case, like a mastermind call. It was really hard to shift your brain into visionary world, right? Because the reality is you’re still sitting at your computer and your team is coming in with messages or the phones are, you know, all the things are still happening. And so your brain is really hard to just be like, I’m working, uh, it’s three o’clock now I’m gonna go be visionary.

Ashley  (02:27):

Yeah.

Stephanie  (02:28):

So what we wanted to do was really create time and space for this group of business owners to be really thoughtful and intentional about their business, where it is and where it’s going. And we were like to do this, we need actually get away and have like a physical change in where we are. And luckily COVID, we kind of felt like we could do that. So we decided, um, we just picked Utah because somebody wanted to go skiing. So <laugh> honestly, then we were like, okay, it doesn’t really, you know, matter, but yeah, let’s pick a beautiful fun place in the, in the mountains. And we got a huge house. It was like really humongous. And probably the best thing we did was we brought a private chef into the house to just cook for us the whole time, which was, I think amazing. But we just said, let’s get away from your office, get away from your team, get away from the, I mean, and get away from your family, which people commented on too. Right? Like get away from your normal day to day so that you can kind of create this space to really be thoughtful about your business.

Ashley  (03:36):

Yeah. It was a great location. The house you you’re correct was enormous. Beautiful. It was this remote, you know, I kind of wanna set the tone and the setting of where it was. We were, there was mountains all around us, remote little Sundance village. And we were able to do with the lab members really deep, really thoughtful, really. I mean, it was almost, at least for me, as I reflect back on the time we had there very much kind of this sanctuary of being able to go and have a space dedicated to the people who were there without that outside distraction. For sure. I mean, we were setting one afternoon up on the deck, this a massive wraparound deck with this outdoor stone fireplace and the mountains were around us and the sun was shining and really had some great impactful conversations. It also, we had enough time not to create this, go, go, go.

Ashley  (04:38):

Like you said, when you, you have virtual masterminds, it is, I have a, a time block slotted for an hour at 3:00 PM in the afternoon on a Thursday. And I have stuff before that and I need to have a little bit of time to prep for that call because I know we’re gonna be talking about these things, you know, that I need to move forward on. Then you have something after. And so it was nice to be able to spend that time and to see everyone taking breaks, you know, letting it sink in. And then we would dive back into things. We had time for hikes every day. We had time for, you know, downtime and relaxation. And luckily the house was big enough that we weren’t all in the same space. I think that was really nice. And I, you know, it was interesting to me at the end of it, that each person in our small group kind of had the same reflection on how impactful the weekend was, which was funny to me because it was not a weekend. We were there Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, we had work days. Yeah. And we all left Saturday and the entire time we were there, everyone said this weekend, this weekend because it had really great almost weekend vibes about it.

Stephanie  (05:57):

Yeah. I

Ashley  (05:58):

Think, go ahead.

Stephanie  (05:59):

Well, I just say, I think you’re right at the final dinner, I, I asked everyone to reflect on, you know, what they were taking away from it, what they appreciated about it. And we just wanted feedback on how we could do it differently next time. And everybody was almost surprised in that they were like, yeah, I didn’t realize how important it was for me to get away, to have that space, to have that removal. And I mean, every single person talked about that and they were like, oh, I needed this. I needed time away from my team. I needed time away from my family. Not because we don’t love those people, but because something else happens and your brain unlocks when you give yourself that space. And then, and I think it was a good combination, like you said, of, of working time where we really were digging in deep, we went deep into each person’s business. We solved problems for them. Like everybody walked away with new things that they were excited to do, but also just space just to be

Ashley  (06:56):

Yeah. Yeah. It was really great. It was so good to see. And I think a really great balance.

Stephanie  (07:02):

Yeah. And I’m excited that we’re gonna be doing these more, that this is part of the Lawyerist lab offering for this, you know, for a subgroup that we’re calling legacy. We also have gotten really intentional just as we’ve been. I mean, I’m sure we’ve been talking about it a lot as it’s been on my mind, like I’ve had the ability to go facilitate some team retreats for people this year and we realize there’s a, a need for this and a desire to do this, especially as kind of COVID feels like it’s calming down ish. I don’t know. Um, <laugh>, mm-hmm <affirmative> but people kind of wanna get back and return to being together. And so now we have a, a formal offering where if you’re interested in having someone from our team, come facilitate your retreat either in person or virtually, if you wanna do that for like half a day, uh, we have very specific offerings that we can do now. And I’m, I’m excited about it because this work truly energizes me.

Ashley  (07:58):

Yeah. Same. And I think everyone, everyone else there too, you know, I know you’ve had other retreats and have gotten similar feedback taking the time location aside, you know, I thought it was interesting too, at the end of our time in Sundance, that part of the takeaway was it’s the time, not necessarily the space and the big, beautiful mountains in our back. Like if we could just set aside that time, thoughtfully and intentionally that we can clear away some of those other, you know, office things, home things and take the time to focus on yeah. And not working in.

Stephanie  (08:33):

Yeah. Yeah. So if any of that interests, you would love to chat about it more, you know, you can always just reach out to me and email Stephanie lawyerist.com and would be happy to, to talk to you more about that.

Ashley  (08:47):

And now here’s Stephanie’s conversation with Karol.

Karol (08:50):

Hi, this is Karol Brown. I’m the managing attorney for World One Law Group in Bellevue, Washington. And we are an immigration law firm that specializes in business family and humanitarian law.

Stephanie  (09:03):

Oh, nice. Welcome to the show, Karol.

Karol (09:05):

Thank you, Stephanie.

Stephanie  (09:07):

So I’m excited to dig in. We have some fun topics we’re gonna talk about today, but before we get too far into that, cuz you know, that’s where I’ll head. Tell us a little bit about your practice. So you’re doing immigration work. How big’s your team and yeah.

Karol (09:21):

Yeah. So I’ve been in this firm since 2012 when I started it and we have now grown to nine people, four attorneys, five staff, and we work with companies, mostly the, at bring in people from all over the world and recruit globally. And so we help them get temporary visas and permanent residency. We also work with families, um, young couples in love who fall in love with a foreigner and they want a green card for their spouse or people who are us citizens or permanent residents bringing their families here from abroad. And we also do humanitarian cases, which are the deferred action for childhood arrivals or DACA asylum U visas for victims of crimes. So we do all sorts of immigration law. The only kind we don’t really do are removal or deportation cases. We do happy cases.

Stephanie  (10:12):

Yeah. I love that. I like happy cases. <laugh> so obvious. You know, your firm has experienced some growth over the past couple of years and with all the things that everybody, all businesses have been through, but I’m kind of curious, you know, what stands out to you as maybe some of the biggest struggles that you’ve recognized that you were facing? What’s been the hardest part for you?

Karol (10:34):

Well, I started this firm to try to counteract the big firm world. You know, I, I clerked and then I went to a great big firm and a giant bureaucracy and I was a single mom. I really struggled to try to balance being a lawyer and being a mom. And if I was at work, I’d feel guilty about being home. And if I was home, I’d feel guilty about not working. And so I was hoping to create a firm that had that balance, had that opportunity to have a life, be a lawyer, do good work, but be a good person all at the same time. Yeah. It’s a constant struggle. We’re still trying to hit that balance. But I think we are, you’re much closer to it than, than what we started and certainly more, I think, than most big firms achieve. And we particularly emphasize flexibility.

Karol (11:28):

People have that flexibility to set their own hours to work when they want not work when they want. And we really worked on that culture I think, and that, and I think we’d achieved that. And that was great. We, you know, people really loved working with us. We kept our team for long term. Even when people got other jobs, they said, can we still work for you in the evening? It was wonderful. And I love my team. One thing we did realize though, we had a leadership retreat last year as encouraged by one of your podcasts, like hold quarterly retreats, do you know, get together with your team. And we realized we weren’t measuring anything. We had a great culture and we had a great, and sometimes we had money and sometimes we didn’t and did cases get complete? You know, we sort of knew when we filed things, but we never really tracked how many we were filing, what we were filing, how much money was that generating? Right. What were our expenses? So that’s when we’ve decided like maybe we should measure things, says we should measure things. We should probably do that.

Stephanie  (12:37):

Yes. And I think your story probably resonates with lots of listeners in that you started the firm with an idea of this, of balance of being able to be all the things that you wanna be for your family. And then some, somewhere along the way you were you’re hitting that. But then it was like, oh, but I’m also running a business. Yeah. And so what does that mean? And I know, um, you started working with us here in the lab program and we probably also hit that home for you. Like yeah. Let’s, let’s measure some stuff. So love that realization. I think a lot of firms are sitting in that, that seat and they realize, okay, I need to be measuring things. How did you guys decide what you should start measuring?

Karol (13:18):

Well, it literally started out with me and a blank piece of big post-it note paper, right. A big easel sheet. And I’m like, okay, if I were looking at a dashboard of my firm, if I wanted to get a, a sense of where we’re at, what numbers would I look at? And you know, financial seemed obvious, uh, we should look at the money, right? What money’s coming in, what money’s going out and what’s in our bank account seemed simple. Right. But those were very lagging indicators, right. By the time it didn’t hit the bank account, it’s a little too late to try to fix it. So I started looking, okay, so what kind of things could we measure? And so I literally just started making a list. We should measure how many consults got completed and by whom we should look at of those consultations, how many of them actually signed up as clients?

Karol (14:11):

So how many new cases got created? Okay. Once the cases are created, they have to get submitted. So let’s track how many cases actually get filed with the us immigration service or department of labor or state department. Those are useful things. Great. We have a desire to make sure our team are well and happy. So we started asking them like, how stressed are you on a scale of one to 10? How busy are you on a scale of one to 10? So we call it the stress busy test. Right. And if anybody’s above an eight on either of those things, we intervene, are you okay? Doing all right. Is that stress level us or is it something going on in your life? Do you wanna talk about it? And that’s a really great indicator that we never really looked at before.

Stephanie  (14:57):

Yeah.

Karol (14:58):

Especially when the team’s remote, we’ve been mostly working from home for the last two years. And it’s one thing when you can see how, you know, how stressed somebody is or, you know, walk by their desk and ask them if they’re okay. It’s a completely other thing when you may see them on a zoom call twice a week, but otherwise they’re, you know, quietly suffering at home. We wanted to make sure that they had a, an outlet for reaching out before it got, before it started affecting their work before it actually sure. Got bad for them or, or making them have to like contact me and like Karol, I’m really stressed. You know, they can just do that by putting a number down.

Stephanie  (15:39):

Absolutely. I love that. I love the example because a lot of people, you know, so what we’re talking about obviously is KPIs, right? Key performance indicators. And we talk about this a lot and I was excited to have this conversation with you. Cause I think lots of lawyers are like, okay, I, I know I should be doing that, but what does that really look like? And you’re right. The financials are the obvious ones and some of the marketing and conversion ones you described are obvious. And we often have people get stuck and say, but team and culture is an, an important part of my life. And that’s a goal that we’re trying to achieve. How do we measure that? And I love that you came up with a simple one to 10 system to measure, to just to ask, start asking the question, are you busy? Are you stressed? And so I assume they just put that is how are you collecting that? It’s just in a spreadsheet,

Karol (16:29):

It’s actually a Google form. Okay. We send them a Google form and they like name on a scale of one to 10. How stressed are you on a scale of one to 10? How busy are you? And once a week at our staff meeting, we send that out beforehand so that I have can just at a glance, see overall how the team is. I get an average, but I also can see in detail, okay, well this person at a four busy, maybe we should give them a little more work to do. And this person is at a nine busy. Maybe we should take away work from that person and give it to someone else. It really does. I think help that sense of comradery, the sense that we’re all in it together really has been great. The other thing that we measured just as a part of, of our performance review was where we are on our values.

Karol (17:17):

We identified six values that we say were about, and we’ve been sharing that and we’ve been talking about it, but when it came to measures, it’s hard. You know, how do you measure your values? Well, we did the same thing on a scale of one to 10, how are we on being pro profitable and affordable? How are we on embracing growth? How are we on innovating for efficiency? And it gives us a place to aspire to oh great. Like we’re doing really well on, on our work life balance stuff, but we’re not doing so well on, on affordability or profitability. We’re not doing so much on innovation for efficiency. If we say, that’s what we’re for. It gives us, oh, here’s, here’s where we have some room to really live up to our values. And so I have a chart in the, my dashboard. That’s all of my teams ratings for our values stacked up. And we’re not at a hundred on any of them. <laugh>, we’re just not. And I don’t think anyone could really be at a hundred percent of, you know, living their values. Right. But at least I know where we have room to improve where we can really look to, to try to live up to that.

Stephanie  (18:28):

Yeah. And we, we talk a lot about values, so I know that’s not new to our listeners, but I, I think people struggle with, well, what does that mean in real life? How do you make your values part of your day to day work? And so just by simply asking your team, the question and having them rank, how you’re doing on your values, it makes it top of mind. It makes it part of the conversation and it shows them that this is really important. This is something we are going to assign value to not just something we’re gonna hang on the wall. That looks cute when clients come in.

Karol (19:02):

Absolutely. Yeah. It’s not just a badge or a, you know, something esoteric, but we really do try to live it. And you, I incorporated that into our performance reviews kind of at the last minute, like we have all these open-ended questions like what’s working, what’s not working. And what would you like to, how would you like to grow and develop over the next quarter? Well, those are great, really useful, fabulous information from that. But to really have something to measure that we can check quarter by quarter, year over year, how are we doing? You know, I looked at other ways of measuring and I’m like that, no, really what we wanna know is are we being true to our values? Are we who we say we wanna be?

Stephanie  (19:43):

Yeah. So you’re tracking, you’re measuring your values. You’re measuring team stress and busyness. You had some conversion marketing type numbers and financial numbers. Anything else that you’ve decided to measure that? Cuz I think it’d be really helpful for everyone to hear. <laugh>

Karol (19:59):

Absolutely. One of the things that we found to be so helpful and it was, we started out just putting the numbers down and you know, are we above this number or below this number, but I’m visual. I like graphs. And I like things that are pretty. And so I, you know, started collecting it on a Google sheet and putting it in there. And then I’m like, well, let’s look at, you know, how those cases are allocated amongst the attorneys. And I made a pie graph seemed obvious. And when you start to see things visually like, oh wow, that one attorney is, you know, know got 33 cases. And that other attorney has five cases. Whoa. When it’s visual, it’s much more evident. It’s much more obvious when we have our paralegals and we could see, you know, one had many more cases assigned than the other like, oh, let’s, let’s reassess how we allocate those cases who gets them and make sure that we cross train, make sure that when somebody has a certain kinds of case that another paralegal knows how to do that, that our processes are clear so that if somebody needs to jump in and do that, if we’re brought to light a lot of the issues that were happening in the firm, but we never really noticed, we never paid attention to except when it was in a chart, it was in a pie graph.

Karol (21:17):

It was obvious it was visual. And people immediately, as soon as they kind of saw the visual, like a dashboard, it was very easy. Like, oh, that warning light seems to be flashing. Oh that seems to be off. Wow. How do we immediately became like, how do we fix that? How do we make those numbers different? How do we make that more fair without me saying, you know what we need to do? We need to be more fair. We need to like allocate things more justly. It just be came obvious for everyone who saw that. Oh yeah. Let’s let’s change that. Oh, it looks like I need to, to schedule more consults. Oh, it looks like my conversion rate isn’t as high. What are you doing that I’m not doing?

Stephanie  (22:00):

Yeah. I think that’s amazing. So I wanna dig into that some more, cuz it’s just bringing up a bunch of questions for me, but let’s take a quick break. We’ll hear from our sponsors and we come back, let’s pick that up.

Zack Glaser:

The Lawyerist Podcast is brought to you by Posh Virtual Receptionist. As an attorney. Do you ever wish you could be in two places at once? You could take a call while you’re in court, capture a lead during a meeting or schedule an appointment with a client while you’re elbow deep in an important case? Well, that’s where Posh comes in. Posh is a team of professional US-Based live virtual receptionists who are available 24/7/365, they answer and transfer your calls. So you never miss an opportunity. With posh handling your calls. You can devote more time to billable hours in building your law firm. And the convenient Posh app puts you in total control of when your receptionist steps in. So if you can’t answer, Posh can, and if you’ve got it, Posh is always just to tap away. With posh. You can save as much as 40% off your current service providers rates. Even better, Posh is extending a special offer to Lawyerist listeners, visit posh.com/lawyerist to learn more and start your free trial of Posh Live Virtual Receptionist Services. That’s posh.com/lawyerist.

 

And from LawPay the gold standard in payments for the legal industry. For more than 15 years, our partners at LawPay have been helping lawyers get paid faster. In fact, 62% of bills sent by LawPay are paid the same day to learn how you can enjoy faster and more reliable payments. Schedule your demo at lawpay.com/lawyerist.

 

Tired of wasting time on administrative tasks? Want to bill more hours, get paid faster, and ensure the success of your team?With MyCase law practice management software, your firm will have access to all the tools needed to run more efficiently. Digitize your client intake, manage documents in one place, and track every billable hour so you can focus on what matters most to your firm. MyCase is an affordable all-in-one solution that gets your business up and running quickly.

 

Hundreds of lawyers have rated MyCase the number one legal case management software. After making the switch to MyCase, one law firm saved over 100 hours per month–time that would have otherwise been spent on tedious administrative tasks. It’s time to choose a case management software that works for you. If you’re looking to supercharge the growth of your firm, go to mycase.com/lawyerist and sign up for a free trial. Right now, Lawyerist listeners get three months at no cost on a new annual plan! (Offer cannot be combined with other discounts). Visit mycase.com/lawyerist (my case dot com forward slash lawyerist) to get started. 

 

Stephanie  (24:39):

All right. I’m back with Carol. So one of the things you did is you decided, okay, let’s start measuring some of these numbers to, to get a sense of how we’re doing in all different parts of your business, which I love. Let’s take a moment to talk about logistics. You mentioned this, I think a lot of attorneys kind of hear this and freak out and think I gotta go buy a new software or I need some cool technology now, how am I gonna track it? And the reality, the reality is you’re just, you’re using a Google form and cheat, right?

Karol (25:07):

Yes. And I am the one who always goes for the new bright, shiny software. And I wanna just sit and talk with Zach about like what kind of software could I have and did I Google like, you know, company dashboard software? Yes. Yes. I, I did all of those. I did all of those things, but again, starting from a simple piece of paper that went to like a, a scorecard that was just a kind of an Excel sheet in wanting to have those pictures and wanting to have those graphs. You know, I’m like I could do this in Google, if at some point in the future, I wanna change it to something else may. But when I did it in Google and was able to, you know, have different tabs for different, but that all got summarized on a dashboard, it was this kind of like, oh, this is easy. I could do this, I could do this. And at some point someday, maybe we will find a more efficient way to collect that information. You know, I have my office manager collect the financial stuff. I have each of us reporting consults each week and summarizing those things, there might be more efficient ways of doing it, but it’s evolved over time to really be something we’re looking to, something that we’re using. And it doesn’t take all that much time, but the, the benefits have been really stunning.

Stephanie  (26:28):

Uh, yeah. And it can evolve. That’s the whole point and you just gotta get started with it. Right. And so, yes. And so one of the things you did is everyone on the team sees this dashboard that you created.

Karol (26:39):

Correct. We had some questions about like, maybe I should have attorneys only dashboards and paralegal only dashboard and staff only. And I realized we’re not that kind of firm, we don’t have that kind of hierarchy or secrecy. Was it a little disconcerting to say like, okay, here’s our break balance, everybody in the firm. Right. That was a little, you know, like, should we do that? Is that something that people do? But yeah, people can see that it’s not secret. People can see what our income and our expenses are and how are we doing? Because I think it also makes people really motivated to see that like, oh wow, we need to let’s cut our expenses. What are we spending things on that we shouldn’t, let’s generate some more income. And I think especially cuz this year, one of our targets is a million dollars now, you know, we’ve hit 800 and some odd thousand before, but there’s something about that.

Karol (27:38):

Number a million, a billion dollars, you know, not to get all Austin tower years on the, but a million has that a lovely string of zeros and it’s, it’s inspirational. And like we, we’re creating a million dollar firm even just tracking that financials over time. And are we on track? Are we behind? Where, where do we wanna go? If we really wanna hit that goal, having that visible and a, a reminder each week, are we there yet? Are we close? Are we on track? It gets those competitive juices flowing that, that ambition that most lawyers have, you know, they, and they have those measures throughout law school. But when you get out into the world, you don’t always have that. What’s next? What do I, how do I get at a good grade as being a lawyer? Yeah, we don’t do that.

Stephanie  (28:29):

Yeah. So I think, I think the fear, I love that you’re so transparent with your team and everyone on the team, the fear and the pushback always is, is your team going to see that you’re making a million dollars and have some kind of resentment towards you as the business owner, like, oh, now Carol’s making all this money. Right. And I mean, that’s always, everyone’s assumption that this is what’s gonna happen when we’re really transparent with the financials. So I just, you know, love to hear what your experience has been and how your team’s reacted to, to knowing some stuff that they might not have known before.

Karol (29:04):

Well, I really wish I was made. I haven’t yet that,

Stephanie  (29:08):

Yes,

Karol (29:09):

I haven’t quite hit that. I’m so jealous of Carol Mo yet. And I mentioned we’re immigration attorneys. We, you don’t really do that so that you can make bank. Right. Right. Oftentimes people go in immigration law because they have a, a passion for it or, you know, wanna save old thing of course, and that’s me. Right. But it does show that we’re all in it together that everybody’s contribution makes a difference. Everybody’s income really does get tallied up there and make that difference in terms of profitability, in terms of where we’re at. You know, if I were the Jeff Bezos type and taking 90% of all the proceeds and buying yachts, it might actually have a detrimental effect on my staff morale, not right. So I think when people really see that, that there’s not a huge amount of money left over at the end, that there’s not a huge amount of proceeds, you know, I think people really have that sense of comradery and PE people being able to see it, that it’s not some secret that they can estimate or try to think that there’s, there’s this huge amount of money that they only, they could just get some more of it.

Karol (30:23):

It really just, I think actually adds to that team culture rather than detracts from it. Yeah. In my experience.

Stephanie  (30:29):

And one of the things you said to me earlier that I loved is you, when, before we started recording, is you said, you’ve really noticed how this just has brought everyone on your team into the business and that they now, they now just think of the business as a business and they’re doing things differently. So what does that look like?

Karol (30:48):

Well, one of the, one of the practices we started at our staff meeting was pick a number. Here’s the dashboard pick one number that you personally are going to impact between this meeting and next meeting, you know, our receptionist, a I’m gonna look at scheduled consults. I’m going to really look at scheduling more consults and seeing if we can get that number up, another team looked at it and said, well, the employment side is getting these cases done really faster from days open. The number of days from case open to filing is 56 and we’re at 73, how do we get that number down? What are you guys doing? So the attorney announced that that was her number and her paralegal said, yeah, I’m gonna do that without the family attorney. And we’re gonna, you know, get our number down to where this other team is at.

Karol (31:37):

It wasn’t me from on high saying, you need to get your numbers down and you know, you need to be better that it was just a natural instinct for, oh, I see where I am. I see where it’s possible to be. Let’s try to get there. Let’s strive for that. Let’s make a difference with that. And I think it really helped people too, to, you know, it’s a lot of numbers, it’s a lot of numbers. And, and at first people were like, we’re not gonna have to look at that every week. Are we, we’re not gonna have to see that like, that that’s like a once a month thing or a once a quarter thing. I’m like, no, no, we’re really gonna look at that every week, every week. And I think now people are used to it like, oh yeah, that, that’s where we’re now look at, you know, cuz I have it this week and compared to the last four weeks and compared to the year to date and be people really starting to see how those numbers change over time. I keep trying to take away the meaning for it. Like just because your number is higher than somebody else’s number. It doesn’t mean you are bad and they’re good. Like right. Let’s be really clear. And yet people I think can really see, see those comparisons and have something to shoot for, have something that they’re now conscientious of that they weren’t before.

Stephanie  (32:49):

Yeah. You told me the other week we had our strategy intensive and you and I were talking about and looking at your dashboard and you said, wow, it’s really true. What measured gets managed? What kinda, what kind of difference have you seen just in the short time that you’ve had your team looking at this now?

Karol (33:07):

Well, the, the days from open to filing was one of those I was trying to figure out like how do I measure our efficiency of actual processes? That number has drastically changed. We had some cases that were taking 200, 250, 300 days from the date. We opened it until it was filed with the immigration service. That’s a really long time. And some people were like, Hey, that’s not me. That’s the client not getting the stuff back. That’s them not filling out their questionnaire. Yes. All of those things are, are factors that play into that, that number. But can we impact that number? Can we remind those clients more effectively? Can we send them not just emails, but phone them or text them or use other resources that might generate better results? Can we put cases on hold when it’s the client saying that it’s on hold, we can do all of those things.

Karol (34:04):

People wanted us to do that. Like, can you take out the client time? And no, the number is the number, right? There might be all kinds of factors about that. But it was amazing when people saw that that was something we were measuring. It was something that they, that became aware of. And it’s not like we’re, you know, tying bonuses to your days, open to filing number. It’s just a measure. And yet people started really looking at our processes differently. People started looking at like, oh, we’re losing days by, you know, the case got created, but it took us a week to send the, a client, the questionnaire. We could do that differently. If we, if we were notified when the case got created, we could send them that questionnaire that same day. And it not only impacts that number. It impacts our client satisfaction. It IM it impacts our productivity and our efficiency and our ability to do more with the same staff and the same resource

Stephanie  (35:02):

And your profits. Right? Like people forget. But the number of cases you and how fast you’re moving them through your firm, that’s your inventory. Yeah. And so shortening that time and then opens you up to have the capacity to help more people and hit that million dollar number.

Karol (35:19):

Absolutely. Yes. And it’s a very exciting thing to even contemplate that we might, we might be a million dollar firm this year, next year. It’s, you know, having that measurement, having that goal, having something really provide incentive or, or motivation is a wonderful thing. Like it’s nice to help clients. It’s really great. And I love talking to them. I love it. When people get their green cards, I, I still tear up at citizenship interviews, uh, every time and I’ve been to hundreds of them, but there’s also like that big picture that really can be motivating too about are our processes efficient? Are people happy in the firm? Are our clients happy? Are we living our values and identifying what those numbers are that are motivating? What are those numbers that actually do eventually result in profitability and productivity? Happiness. It’s good to start somewhere. Even if it’s a blank piece of paper, write it down. What would you measure? What would you look at? And it evolved from there.

Stephanie  (36:26):

Yeah. And now you have a clear picture of the health of your business. And so now we can work together as we do and figure out, you know, what do we need to impact act? Where do we need, what levers do we need to be pulling? And then now you can see that the actual results of that. And so I’m curious, what’s the current. So you started at like 200, 300 days. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, what’s it down to?

Karol (36:50):

Well, the, the days from open to filing, it’s been interesting. All of our attorneys are right around 70, 73, 76, 72. And those are essentially the same number.

Stephanie  (37:04):

It’s amazing

Karol (37:05):

In the grand scheme of things. But it’s funny how each of our attorneys are like, oh, if I could just get this one a little bit faster, I could just get this one mild. Maybe my number would be, would decrease. You know, it’s,

Stephanie  (37:18):

It’s amazing. It’s natural thing. It’s no, I wanna applaud you. I mean, just by, I just wanted to give everyone a tangible example of just by starting to track something that you, you had a hunch and knew would be important. You know, you guys have dropped that from 200 plus down to 70, that matters. And like you said, that’s starting to impact all those things, your client happy, or they’re gonna give you better reviews and they’re gonna refer their friends. And then your team is seeing that their work’s getting completed and not sitting on their desk and it’s gonna make you more money.

Karol (37:49):

Absolutely. And having that comparison from last year or on the days thing, we, we just track it from the month before and the month before that. So we can really see the as trends we can really see improvement. It’s incredibly motivating.

Stephanie  (38:04):

Yeah. Well thank you for coming on with us today. I think everyone has for sure. Learned a lot about this, cuz KPIs. We, we talk about ’em a lot in the abstract, but I hope that this really shows people what it looks like in real life, right? The real, tangible way approach it and how to get it started and that yes, you can absolutely involve your team and you must, you should. And that it gets real results. And I have, I have no doubt. I’m gonna say it right now. I know you’re gonna be at that million dollars. I know we’re gonna be celebrating that real soon. Yay. I know. Thank you. And I can’t wait. Thank you for being on the show

Karol (38:39):

And thank you for, for the coaching, for the program, the fundamentals program, for all of the, the things that you guys provide through the lawyers program, it’s been so incredibly helpful. It’s really helped me get here.

Stephanie  (38:51):

I love it.

Announcer 1 (38:54):

The Lawyerist Podcast is edited by Britany Felix. Are you ready to implement the ideas we discuss here into your practice? Wondering what to do next? Here are your first two steps. First. If you haven’t read The Small Firm Roadmap yet, grab the first chapter for free at Lawyerist.com/book. Looking for help beyond the book? Let’s chat about whether our coaching communities, right for you. Head to Lawyerist.com/community/lab to schedule a 10 minute call with our team to learn more. The views expressed by the participants are their own and are not endorsed by Legal Talk Network. Nothing said in this podcast is legal advice for you.