6 Things To Get Ready To Start the New Year


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Are you a law firm owner or attorney that needs help in reflecting for the new year? In the final Maximum Lawyer Podcast episode of the year, Jim and Tyson reflect on 2023 and share recommendations for the upcoming year.

Jim and Tyson share their thoughts on what attorneys should think about as they enter the new year. In relation to financial management, Jim emphasizes the importance of spending money that is just sitting there. This money could go towards the employees, such as bonuses for the holiday season or gifts to show appreciation. Other ways to spend that extra money is to invest in more office equipment, especially if a firm is expecting to hire in the new year. Jim suggests spending money on paying vendors up front for monthly subscriptions or softwares, as many companies provide discounts to firms that do.

Jim and Tyson also delve into the benefits of reflecting on the past year as well as what to look forward to for the upcoming year. The time between Christmas and New Year’s is the best time for this reflection. Jim suggests that listeners get a pen and paper and write about the great things that happened this year and what you want to see for yourself in the upcoming year. As law firm owners, Jim and Tyson see this as a great way to really envision what a practice will look like and what needs to be done to ensure a firm reaches the next milestone.

Law firms are always busy and usually have dozens of cases occurring at the same time. Tyson suggests getting rid of cases you don’t want anymore as a way to lighten the workload for staff. It is important to look at those files that can be resolved by the end of the year and get them done. Any cases that can’t be resolved need to be off the roster. Don't be afraid to fire clients or employees to make things easier for the firm.

Listen in to learn more tips for the new year!

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I may receive a commission if you make a purchase using these links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Jim's Hack: Read the book “Extremely Online: The Untold Story of Fame, Influence, and Power on the Internet” by: Taylor Lorenz. The book goes into the history of social media and understanding the different platforms that exist currently. https://amzn.to/46ZUoLP

Tyson's Tip: Clean your office. Cleaning your office and organizing your shelves is a great way to declutter for the New Year, that way 2024 will be the best year yet.

Episode Highlights:

  • 1:11 The importance of reflecting on the past year
  • 5:46 Improving financial aspects of an organization
  • 6:45 Reflecting on the year
  • 10:51 Getting rid of cases that are no longer desired or valuable


Transcripts: 6 Things To Get Ready To Start the New Year

Jim (00:01.083)
Welcome back to the Maximum Lawyer Podcast. I'm Jim Hacking.

Tyson (00:05.249)
and I'm Tyson Mutrix. What's up Jimmy?

Jim (00:08.182)
Hello Tyson, my friend, how are you doing?

Tyson (00:10.748)
I am doing well, how are you doing?

Jim (00:13.366)
I'm a little under the weather, but I'm excited about this episode. This will be our last episode of 2023. It's hard to believe the podcast is now eight and a half years old and we are wrapping up 2023 and, uh, we, we always have a little debate because you're like, nobody likes these year end wrap up shows. Nobody wants to hear all that crap. But I thought that we could certainly reflect on the year that was both for us in our firms and as.

in running Maximum Warrior and that we could have a nice little chat. As you said, our friends are now in between the holidays, getting ready for the new year and they're thinking about 2024. So what would bring value and what we came up with are the six things, three from you, three for me, that we recommend thinking about at the start of the year.

Tyson (01:05.64)
Um, time out really quick. I thought that was for the checklist. So I didn't come up with three things. Um, I thought that's what she meant. And that's what you meant.

Jim (01:11.062)

I just thought we could record it and turn it right into it.

Tyson (01:16.776)
Okay, um…

Tyson (01:22.64)
All right, then I'll let you go first and then I'll come up with a few. All right, so yeah. All right, Jim. So then let's, let's jump in it and I'll let you go with, with your, your first one.

Jim (01:29.214)
All right. But you have to say something.

Jim (01:40.578)
So the first thing I'm thinking about as December rolls to a close is, who can I give money to? What can I spend money on? And I know that accountants are always like, well, if you do all that and spend money at the end of the year that you're taking away from your gross and your net at the end, that's true. But I pay so much money in taxes right now. And I would just rather give that money to team members, even though, you know, it's going to be more than I would give to the IRS. It's just that we're at a rate where.

If we can give out bonuses or spend money on equipment or software or get ready for next year, I'm happy to do it when it's been a good year.

Tyson (02:20.76)
Yeah, so you're suggesting bonuses and things of that sort, right? You're not talking about raising salaries because that's more of a future thing. You're saying give out some bonuses, that way you can lower your tax bill and give people some more money.

Jim (02:35.818)
Yeah, so right around this time that we're recording, which is early November, we meet with our CPA and he sort of lets us know again, we, we had checked maybe six weeks ago, eight weeks ago about how things were looking and we start making plans for how to structure, uh, compensation or bonuses or expenses. You know, we're, we're putting a major investment in the sales force this year and that's been a big, a big bite. So that's, that's the kind of thing I'm talking about, you know, spending that money that.

may just be sitting around and maybe putting it to good use to set yourself up for success in the following year.

Tyson (03:10.94)
No, I mean, I think that that's, if you follow that advice that the, that the accountants, some accountants give, some disagree with, then I think that that's a smart way. It's much better than going buying a bunch of office equipment that you may or may not use. But I, but I think with that, I think it is really smart and I think most accountants would agree with this. I don't think that anyone would disagree with what I'm about to say is.

If you do plan on hiring more people in the future, then go ahead and buy that office equipment that you're gonna need, those things that you do need for those employees. If you think you are gonna be expanding and hiring those, because I think that is a good way of that good balance. Because if you're in a position to do that, and you're gonna need to hire, then I think that would make sense. I am curious to see, we just had Jessica Ghanifas on.

the podcast and I wonder what she would say about this advice.

Jim (04:09.266)
Well, there's also things you can do. Like if you have vendors who you pay every month, a lot of them have a discount for paying upfront. So if you have cash sitting there and it's going to help your cashflow next year, if you pay off some piece of software for the year and you get that one month free or whatever, those are the kinds of things I'm talking about. I'm not talking about going out and buying a new Mercedes Benz or an Escalade like I did.

Tyson (04:35.172)
Why not? You know, one of the best business things I've ever seen is my former boss, he would go in, when they paid for billboards, he'd go in with a check, a prewritten check, signed everything, made out to the vendor, and he would pay for the entire year, it was for a substantial discount, and they would tell him what the rate was, and he says, here's what I'll give you. Like, he had already written it out. He already knew what he was gonna pay them. And it was funny.

Um, I mean, I think I've told you this on the podcast, but he, he had me do that meeting one time and they balked. I had the check written everything. I said, here's what I've got for you. And he said, they're like, okay, they're not going to do it. So I walked down the hallway and, uh, got Dan, Dan comes back down and they like about 10 minutes later, they agreed to it. So, um, he did have a, he had an act for it. Um, so it was, I learned like to stay in my ground.

Jim (05:27.118)
I'm sorry.

Tyson (05:34.392)
because I wasn't staying on my ground as well as he was, but I was young. I was a brand new attorney. So it was fun. All right, let's get to my first one. And it is somewhat relatable to this. It's get your finances in order. So make sure that your books are cleaned up. Make sure that your bookkeeper's on top of things. But that also means like getting rid of those expenses. So review all your books at the end of the year.

Get rid of all those expenses that you don't need. All those user licenses that you're paying for that you don't need. All those software license that you're paying for that you don't need. Any recurring, and also here's something that I think gets a lot of people. If you've got something that hits yearly and not monthly, figure out when that is and if you need to cancel, go ahead and cancel it. Because those are all, I mean, those all add up. I'm thinking about all those $50 here, $15 there, you know, $20 here, $30 there.

Before you know it, it's a salary. So get your finances order and start to clean things up. And this is a really good time because, I mean, a lot of us aren't working a whole lot at the end of the year. It's pretty dead. And so you get some time to go through things and see what you need to get rid of.

Jim (06:50.966)
I think that's great advice. You know, I always view those things as like barnacles that attach to the side of the ship. And that if you're, if you're not paying attention to it, they can really add up. Um, one of the things that we have now is like a chart of when our. Annual agreements all run out and we've also have our accounting team sort of monitoring all the monthly charges and we, we look at those probably every six months. So this is a perfect time to do it.

Tyson (07:17.668)
Love it. All right, let's get to your number two.

Jim (07:20.782)
So I love this week between Christmas and New Year's. Our office closes this week, and I usually end up going to the office, if I'm in town, maybe once or twice during the week. I love the quiet, I love the solitude. I love reflecting back on the year that was, I love reflecting back on where we've come from, because you know, when I started the firm, it was me sitting at a desk by myself, and I sort of get that feeling and…

charge back into that feeling during this week. And I just sort of write out in my journal about, you know, what did I like about this year? And what do I want for myself this year? So the second thing that I do is I really try to picture how do I want my life to look like in 2024? How am I gonna interact with the firm? Sorry, I have the hiccups. How do I interact with the firm? And how do I…

move the firm forward, what's my role gonna be, how does that look, you know, because if you lose sight of that, if you just get caught up in the, sorry, if you just get caught up in the.

Tyson (08:29.328)
I think this is the first time ever Jim having the hiccups on the podcast. I think this is kind of funny to watch.

Jim (08:32.654)
It's the third, I have a sinus infection. This is the third time I've had the hiccups today. So something's going on. I don't know what, I apologize everybody. But if you don't touch into how you want things to be, you'll just get, oh man, you'll just get caught up in the minutia of the day and the tasks that need to get done and you lose that big picture. It's a great time to have that chance to reconnect to where you wanna be.

Tyson (09:04.1)
I think this is great advice. I'll just admit I'm not great at this. I'm not great at reflecting on the year in review. It's just one of those things where I, I'm always looking ahead and I, it's, it is, and I think it's something that people should do. I do think people should stop and kind of smell the roses in a way and look at things and see how, where you've come from. And…

and where you've been and all that. And I think it's great advice. I will ask you, I need some advice on doing this. What is the best way of doing this? Do you go and sit somewhere quietly and do this? Because I'm just not good at this. Actually, let me rephrase it. I'm working on getting better at doing that. So how do you recommend it?

Jim (09:55.35)
Well, to me it's the pen and paper because doing it on your phone just doesn't have the same brain connect to your hand. And I think that you need some quiet, which is why I like this week when people aren't around. And I think that I just like to sit down, give myself like 50 minutes or 45 minutes and say, just total stream of consciousness. What am I thinking? What am I feeling? What am I struggling with? What am I anxious about?

and just sort of getting it all out on paper. I think if you do that for 45 minutes each day this week, that by the end of the week, you're gonna have a pretty good sense as to where things are. You're gonna have pretty accurate thinking. You know, Dan Kennedy complains that everybody loves think and grow rich, but no one likes to think about, I think it's number 11, the rule that Napoleon Hill mentions, which is accurate thinking. And I think to me, the only way I can get to accurate thinking is by writing it out by hand.

in a quiet space and I love doing that in a big empty building because I feel like I've got the chance with everything quiet to sort of focus and do the work that I'm talking about.

Tyson (11:03.848)
I like it. I like the idea of accurate thinking. I'm also going to say for those of you that want to use this as an excuse to procrastinate with things, don't even dare. But I like it. I will give it a shot this year Jimbo, just for you. And I'll let you know how it goes. All right, let's get to number four, which is my second one. Get rid. So this is actually more forward thinking than you might think.

You might think it's backwards thinking, but get rid of the cases you no longer want. If you do that at the end of the year, it's a good time to do it, especially for injury attorneys. You can get cases settled. And if not, you can get it off your roster. Same thing with whether it's criminal defense or family law, estate planning, whatever it may be, whether that's closing out those files that need to be closed out for the year, whether it's getting those out of your drawer.

and off your plate, whatever it is, that is gonna make you so much stronger in 2024, because you're then gonna be able to dedicate all your time to the more valuable cases, the cases where you can do really, really good work, the cases that are gonna make your firm a lot more money, that's what you're gonna be able to focus on. So by getting those off your plate, getting rid of those cases, and using the end of the year as a time to do that, highly recommend it, because it's gonna have so many

benefits that are going to snowball in a good way into 2024.

Jim (12:41.854)
I love it. One of my favorite things is to fire clients. I'm always happy when I fire clients, people that are giving my team hell or cases that aren't very good or whatever. If people are making your life difficult, getting them out of there is important. That's a great segue for my third thing, which is I think you need to reflect, and I like to reflect on the people in our lives.

around this time of year and that's in all the all the Aspects of that, you know There's the people that I really appreciate the people that have helped me this year The people that I want on my side as I move forward Conversely, I want to think about the people that are dragging me down The people that are bumming me out and that can certainly include team members that I work with I think the year end is a good time to sort of reassess and reevaluate the energy that's around you

Um, and that obviously comes mostly through people. And so I think that both on a firm level and on a personal level, that thinking through how you're interacting with other human beings and how that feeds you or depletes you is really, really time well spent.

Tyson (13:54.756)
Yeah, I was, I was talking to Elizabeth the other, or yesterday about this, um, and just about how the way we act affects other people and the way other people act affects us. And, um, cause it, it is, it's almost like a germ, right? Whether it's a good germ or bad germ, right? You, you kind of pass it along to the next person. They pass it on to the next person. So, um, and that's why I gave you, I was giving you hell for the longest time about your tweets because

It was kind of like you weren't the most positive person on Twitter for a while. And that's why I was calling you out all the time, but it is one of those things where if you put that into the world, right, it's gonna pass on to other people. Especially it's interesting about people that post about politics, because it is, no matter what side of the aisle you're on, usually the post about politics is to piss off somebody.

Right? And so what you're doing is you're essentially trying to ruin someone's day. Right? That's what you're trying to do. Like no one's going to like win a point on politics on social media at all. But the same thing is when it comes to the real world, right? You are, how you interact with people and the people that you associate with have such a substantial impact on you and on your families. Like if you surround yourself with negative people,

guess what you're gonna do? You're gonna take all of that and you're gonna then put it onto your family. You're just gonna pass it on, that's what you're gonna do. And it's a natural tendency. So by surrounding yourself with good people, with people that you wanna be around, that are positive people, it's gonna allow you, it's gonna make all other areas of your life a much better place to live. So I think this is the best one, Liz, to be honest with you.

Jim (15:51.31)
It's probably something that needs to happen more often than once a year, but this is a great opportunity to do it. I mean…

I just keep coming back to, you know, what opportunities do you have? I mean, I guess some people don't close their offices, but I guess I'll put in a plug right now for that too. I mean, not much is going to get done during this week, even if you're open. I mean, we're dealing with the federal government, so you know, those lazy bastards aren't doing anything. So it's good to let everybody reset. You know, we have our retreat coming up next week in November, and then we have that week that people have really come to rely on and really like having that week off. And obviously it's paid. So

Just having that time to be by yourself and say, why am I doing this? And are these the right people who are gonna get me where I wanna be? And is this in line with my vision for myself and for my family and for my firm? Getting all that stuff aligned is, if you're not doing it, no one's doing it.

Tyson (16:44.728)
Yeah, we give the last week off as a reward for hitting goals and stuff. So it aligns with everything else we're doing. But yeah, you're right though. It's something that Ryan McKeen recommended for a while. It was like, they just closed their office down. So very good. All right, let's get to my last one and we'll wrap things up. This may seem obvious, but I bet the majority of people don't do it. Take a look at your calendar for 2024. Okay. And look at, okay, what trials do you have coming up?

what birthdays and anniversaries do you have come up? What big events are coming up? So get a really good idea of your calendar because it's really easy to get lost in the day-to-day and just looking at the week view of your calendar and kind of losing grasp of what all you have ahead of you. And so take a look, and really you should do this throughout the year as well, but get a good grasp at the end of 2023 as to what 2024 looks like. And that way you can plan around big events

which I mean, things as much as like, as little as, okay, I've got an assistant, she's off for this week during this month. Okay, all right, well, if you've got a jury trial the following week, then you may need to look, okay, she's off that week. So my case manager is off that week, I'm in trial the next week. I need to account for that. So it's gonna allow you to account for all the different things that are going on and have some sort of master calendar so you can look at all these different events.

to see what's going on in your world. That way you can account for them. You know, when do the kids start school, right? Like what days are they off? Like all of those calendars are usually posted online that you can then look at to see what's going on. That way you can plan around them.

Jim (18:34.634)
All right, so I have a question for you. You said, you said that this is something that historically hasn't been your strong suit. What, what do you think is holding you back on doing this kind of stuff? What? I mean, I know, I know your mind's always going and that you're, you're high action and, and. You know, you, uh, go more towards systems than, than I do. So what, what do you think, or what could we do to sort of help you with, with that?

Tyson (19:01.092)
Well, mine's more of the reflection with yours. It was more of like the looking backwards is really where I am. Where could you help? I mean, I just want to say, I just need to do that. You know, I just haven't, I don't do it. It's something that I need to set aside the time to do it and think about it. Because the problem is like I sit down and if I'm thinking,

Usually my mind doesn't slow down enough for me to reflect. It's more of like, I've got a billion ideas popping into my brain that I'm like writing notes down, right? Note, note, note. It's crazy.

Jim (19:41.9)

Jim (19:46.882)
That's why I think it's so important to do it by hand and do it on paper because do you ever wake up in the middle of the night and have all these thoughts and you can't go back to sleep until you, until you can't go back to sleep until you've recycled through all those thoughts. It's almost the same thing. You can't get to that place. And that's why I think you have to do it each day on paper. So you have to just keep going until you get all this shit out so that then you can get to the reflection point. I think that's really important.

Tyson (19:53.35)
All time.

Tyson (19:58.357)
100% all the time.

Tyson (20:11.316)
Okay. So more of a daily exercise. Okay. I mean, I will give it a shot for you, Jimbo. So I need to buy a paper journal that I can write in. So something that I do is I want all my books to be neatly organized. We had Dave Dee on the podcast the other day and I showed my notes. I have it indexed. I've got a handwritten index. Oh yeah. I forgot I sent that to you.

Jim (20:34.596)
Oh, and you sent them to me.

Tyson (20:40.112)
But yeah, so I've got, I feel like handwritten notes and things, like we're like, and it's all indexed, right? So I knew, I knew exactly, once I found the right book, I knew exactly where his, what pages was on, because I have handwritten all the numbers on the pages and created an index. So I, my problem with those journals is that I, which I've used them in the past, I do like them, but I like them to be neatly organized. And if they're not neatly organized, it bothers me. I stop using it. So do you?

Jim (20:53.39)
That was crazy.

Tyson (21:09.992)
Do you just write and you don't care what goes in the book? Or do you write anything in that book? How do you do it?

Jim (21:18.162)
Well, I write in there every day, but I don't index it. Or like, I could never do what you just did. When we were talking to Dave Dee and Tyson pulls out his notes from a seminar he and I went to in 2013 or 17, whenever it was. Yeah. So, no, I think it was 2013 or 14. Yeah. And I mean, literally, you know, it's a half hour show and within, and I don't think you planned it ahead of time. I think just while the podcast was going. Yeah. So no, I'm not nearly that organized. And.

Tyson (21:29.347)

  1. Oh, I didn't actually know it was before that. I don't know the year. I have the date somewhere in there.

Tyson (21:41.677)
I did not.

Jim (21:46.258)
me it's about getting on the paper. I very rarely go back and read what I wrote. Sometimes I do, but very rarely. I think it's the actual power of getting it out on the paper and out of your head that really is the help.

Tyson (21:59.46)
I like it. I'll give it a shot. All right, let's wrap things up. Before I do, I want to remind everyone to join us in the big old Facebook group, search Maximum Lawyer on Facebook, and you'll be able to find us there. If you want to hang out with guild members and join us for our quarterly masterminds, we were in Miami this year, we were in Denver, we were in Scottsdale, and we were in Austin. So we had a lot of fun next year. You're going to have to help me with this, Jim. It's going to be Vegas.

Jim (22:26.134)
Yep. No, go in order. So Scottsdale, Minneapolis, Charlotte, and Vegas.

Tyson (22:29.956)
Scottsdale, Minneapolis.

Tyson (22:35.952)
Vegas, okay there we go, thanks. I need you to remember. So that is the order, it's gonna be a lot of fun so if you wanna join us, go to maxlawguild.com and if you don't mind, while you're listening to the rest of this episode giving us a five star review, we would really appreciate it. All right Jimbo, what is your hack of the week?

Jim (22:58.422)
Well, as so many of my hacks are, this one comes from Gary V. And I was listening to Gary V. as I want to do when I feel sort of down or I want to start doing more social media. And he got me going again. He very rarely has authors on. And I think that's mostly because Gary V. doesn't read books. But he had on this lady from the Washington Post. She's written a new book. It's called Extremely Online. And it's the history of social media. And it's pretty well-sourced. And it's pretty.

Bite size II which is good for me because I don't like big old thick things She's gonna talk about you know the rise and fall of things like myspace friendster Vine all the way up till now and I think I think she must have interviewed Gary for the book Which is why he had her on but it's just it's great For me, it's a great motivator to want to go do more social but it's also good to understand the platforms because you have to understand the platforms and I told my daughter that

reaching out, branching out into Snapchat. So I'm gonna start playing around with Snapchat. That's really something that I found a little bit intimidating, but I'm gonna check it out because people are using it for all kinds of stuff.

Tyson (24:10.588)
It's interesting. I mean, it does seem like Snapchat's been kind of holding on. Um, it was a, it's, I thought for a while it's going to go away, but it's still there. So.

Jim (24:20.366)
She's on it all day long. Like that's her number one. They don't use text messages. That's how they keep track of their friends. That's how they group message. They don't use iMessage at all. It's all on Snapchat.

Tyson (24:30.756)
Interesting. Okay. I still I have the app. I don't ever use it but really cool Here's my tip Snap friends. There we go Jim clean your office. Okay, that's the tip. So this is the last episode of the year. Yours is actually pretty decent We're gonna organize your shelves, which are yours or not organize your shelves clean your office That way by the time you come back in for the year the new year So next time you're listening to our next episode

Jim (24:36.063)
or maybe we can be snap friends.

Jim (24:48.195)
for me.

Tyson (24:59.588)
You have a clean office. You're going to start 2024 ready to go. I know several of you have papers all over your desk right now. Organize those, clean those up. Go read the book, get things done. I can't remember the author's name. Go read that book. It'll give you while you're on hiatus.

and get things organized with all those things that you need to put somewhere get organized that way 2024 is Your best year yet All right, Jimbo

Jim (25:31.174)
I'll, I'll put a little bit on it and I'll just say, have someone else clean your, your office.

Tyson (25:37.068)
I like it. I love it. Very good. Yeah, have someone else do it. I like it. All right, man. Let's wrap things up. Have a wonderful day. I gotta go get some work done.

Jim (25:38.806)
You're a mute, somehow.

Jim (25:49.89)
Peace everybody. I can't hear you anymore so I'm just gonna get out.

Tyson (25:52.034)
Have a great year.

Jim (25:57.154)
I'll see you later bud.

Tyson (25:58.492)
See ya.

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