Do you send holiday cards each year with little business to show for your effort? That’s not surprising. After all, many firms are inundated with holiday cards and may do little more than glance at yours. So why not start a new end-of-year tradition: a law firm annual report. Here’s some tips on how to get started.
- The Content
As a first step, decide on the contents of the report. You can model an annual report on a traditional corporate annual report, summarizing key cases you’ve handled and successes you’ve enjoyed. Depending upon your practice and how you track cases, you could include charts showing the number of cases opened or resolved within the course of the year.
Of course, an annual report doesn’t have to focus on your firm. Instead, you might highlight key developments in your practice area. Since 2012, I’ve included an annual summary of FERC appellate cases in my law firm newsletter. It’s an eagerly awaited feature, plus it forces me to read the thirty or so decisions issued each year.
- The Format
Varied formats for annual reports abound. Your report can take the format of a letter along the lines of the annual holiday letters you might receive from family, summarizing the events of the year. You could send the letter as a stand-alone or tuck it into your annual holiday card.
Another option – albeit one that’s more time consuming – is to compress information from your annual report into a post card like this. Or, you could use an online template to create a more traditional report and either print copies to send or save them as PDFs and circulate them via email. LucidPress has a great template here.
Finally, there are online only options – perhaps not quite as nice as a mailer, but infinitely better than a generic, annoying electronic holiday card. For example, you could use one of the e-newsletter programs like MailChimp to circulate an annual report. Or, if you’re especially ambitious, you could create a One page Website for annual report information. And of course, no matter what format you choose, don’t forget to post it to JD Supra for a little extra search engine love.
Holiday cards are nice – but not much more than that. By contrast, an annual report can inform and educate clients and colleagues – and yes, even brag a little a bit at a time of year where people are more likely to indulge you in sharing good fortune. If you’re going to spend the time and money to reach out at the end of the year, might as well get the most out of it. And depending upon its content, an annual report can serve as the gift that keeps giving – not just to your clients but also to you.