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Voice of Experience

Voice of Experience: December 2023

Planning for a Better New Year

Michael L Goldblatt

Planning for a Better New Year Camandona

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About 70 years ago, a small firm practitioner named Morris Perkin collaborated with a local printer to mass produce a diary called Lawyer’s Day. Now known as Day-Timers, the diaries enable lawyers to take notes and record time. Over the years, Day-Timers added versions for accountants, business executives, and doctors. The product has millions of devoted customers who use diaries for planning.

Planning can achieve goals and reduce stress. Start planning with a year-end assessment and then create goals like improving relationships, managing caseloads, and work/life balancing. Put your goals into action with planning tools like apps, audits, budgets, checklists, and diaries. Work on one goal at a time to avoid overwhelming yourself. Below are planning tips and resources to help implement them.


Budgets – prepare annual budgets and monitor them monthly.

Calendars – try calendaring apps to record appointments, notes, and deadlines.

Checkups – use checklists and to-do lists to create action plans for cases and clients.

Plans –  create plans and periodically review them to identify areas for improvement.

Technologies – use apps and software to perform routine tasks so you can focus on billable work. 


Planning prevents problems and helps get things done. Use planning tools like apps, audits, budgets, checklists, and diaries. Below are lists of articles, books, and tools to facilitate planning for a better New Year.

Analog Tools

Audits – Firm and Individual.

Budgets - OperatingCash Flow, and Capital Expenditures.

Calendars and Diaries - AmsterdamAt-a-GlanceDay-TimerMoleskin, and Per Annum.

Checklists - FirmIndividual, and Technology.

Plans – BusinessMarketing, Personal, and Professional


Assisting - AlexaCortanaGoogle, and Siri

Calendaring Apple Calendar, CalendlyGoogle Calendar, and Outlook.

Listing – Apple RemindersAsanaMicrosoft To Do, and Todoist,

Note-Taking - Apple NotesEvernoteGoogle Keep, and Microsoft OneNote.

Managing – ClioMyCasePractice Panther, and Rocket Matter.


Julie Bays and Jim Callaway, Why Should a Solo Law Firm Budget, Law Practice Magazine, Sep. 21, 2021.

Andrea Cannavina, 10 Quick Tips to Organize Your Law Office and Control the Chaos, Attorney at Work, Oct. 7, 2022.

Norma Harris, Why Do Lawyers Need to Keep Up With Legal Technology, Law Technology Today, Mar. 23, 2023.

Sharon Miki, How to Set Lawyer Goals for Success, Clio, Dec. 11, 2020.

Keith Lee, Annual Planning for Lawyers – Reference Guide, Associates Mind, Nov. 24, 2015.


Kelly Anders, The Organized Lawyer, Carolina Academic Press, Jan. 1, 2009.

John Iezzi, Results-Oriented Financial Management, ABA Book Publishing, May 19, 2015.

Jeremy Waymond Richter, Building a Better Law Practice: Become a Better Lawyer in Five Minutes a Day, ABA Book Publishing, Jun. 27, 2018.

Daniel Siegel, et al., Checklists for Lawyers, ABA Book Publishing, Nov. 24, 2014.

Edward Poll, Attorney and Law Firm Guide to the Business of Law: Planning and Operating for Survival and Growth, 3rd Ed, ABA Book Publishing, Apr. 10, 2014.

Daniel Siegel, et al., Checklists for Lawyers, ABA Book Publishing, Nov. 24, 2014.