New Year’s resolutions and strategic planning goals for law firms have a lot in common. They both generate a considerable amount of excitement once placed on paper. But fast forward a few months and most resolutions or goals typically end up entirely abandoned.

Here are a few suggestions to improve the chances that you achieve both your personal New Year’s resolutions and your law firm’s strategic planning goals.

Be Realistic

Let’s get real; are you really going to be able to lose 25 pounds by the summer when past diets have never yielded more than 10. How about aiming for a dozen pounds, instead? You can do that!

Then there’s your law firm goal of requiring that all attorneys complete a comprehensive marketing plan by the end of January. Fat chance if half of the firm’s attorneys are minders and grinders. Instead, consider requiring that all attorneys perform at least one business development activity per month. That’s doable! It may only be one, but for many lawyers, that single effort will be by far the most business development they have ever done.

Less Is More

Are you sure you can lose 12 pounds, go to the gym three times per week, read a best seller every month, volunteer for an afternoon every other month, and attend an adult education class both semesters? Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Choose to tackle only two or three goals.

If one your law firm’s goals is to kick-start business development, will you be able to switch the firm’s practice management software, redo the firm’s website, streamline the intake process, and systemize the firm’s collection process? I doubt it. Here again, aim for no more than two or three goals.

Be Specific About What You Will Do

What is your exact plan to lose weight? What will you eliminate from your diet? How often? How much and what type of exercise will you perform each week?

If every attorney has to do one business development activity every month, what counts as an activity? How many hours must the activity last?

Be Accountable

Have you skipped dessert six nights every week? Attended aerobics class twice a week? Checked your weight every week to measure progress?

Has the firm set up a process to know what each attorney is doing every month for business development? Is the law firm willing to base compensation decisions on compliance?


All goals are achievable with the right mindset and guidance along the way. Take advantage of the fresh start of a new year.

Wishing you and your law firm success in 2016.