By: Lesa Koski
Have you ever tallied the time you spend doing nonbillable work?
For over 20 years in the field as an attorney and mediator, I had a nagging feeling I was spending way more time on non-billables than billable.
According to Statistics Research Dept., I am not alone. In fact, 75% of attorneys spend 20 or more hours on work other than meeting with clients or representing clients in Court.
Yikes, that is even worse than I imagined.
Let’s break this down- if you are working 40 hours a week ½ of your time is nonbillable! I don’t know about you but for me that is a wake-up call.
What I have learned seemed counterintuitive: my earnings are directly related to adding value to client’s lives. When I really chew on this thought I realize the truth behind it.
So, I rolled up my sleeves and went to work finding the most obvious, valuable area I could automate that would indirectly and directly add value to clients.
I created and have been using this tool for several months and found that it gave me back two hours per divorce while adding value to my client’s lives.
After years of exposure to desperate parents it became clear that a program that calms their fears, makes sense of the legal jargon and works well with my divorce paperwork was needed.
Here is how I did it:
1. I began utilizing a flat fee when working with my divorce mediation clients. I studied the average time I spent with clients through the year per divorce and put a value on this. If you prefer working with hourly fees it is easy to simply charge a fee for the parenting plan course. The final outcome is a win-win. You will save clients’ money; while gaining billable hours.
2. This online course allows clients to take this at their own convenience on their own time and does not necessitate me being there. The course holds the clients’ hand through the creation of their unique parenting plan.
So far 100% of my clients have enjoyed this way of creating a parenting plan. As you know, Happy Clients make Happy Divorce Lawyers and Mediators.
The Course is simple to use and includes the 10 modules outlined below:
The Divorcing Together Parenting Plan:
Module 1: Why you need a Parenting plan
Module 2: The Parenting Plan Form (How clients input their own information in the boiler plate form)
Module 3: General Principals of the Parenting Plan
Module 4: Residence, Schedules and the Right of First Refusal
Module 5: Vacation Time and Holiday Schedule
Module 6: Education/Extracurricular and Religion
Module 7: Communication
Module 8: Health and Safety
Module 9: Miscellaneous
Module 10: Cheers!
Now that you understand the program I have created here is a little bit about me. I call my parenting plan course one of the gifts of COVID. When COVID first hit, I buckled down and took the time rework my business. I learned that any divorce support I give while in the presence of clients, I can give virtually. Thus, virtual mediations, coaching calls and even court processes.
The reason I am passionate about mediation is the huge impact it has on children. As you are aware, parents will be connected for the rest of their lives. Children need both parents. This is always my clients’ number one concern. We all have heard the scary statistics about how divorce affects children. Let me ease your mind a bit, when parents work together without conflict they can mitigate the negative impact of divorce on kids. Because what will happen with their children during divorce is a parents # 1 concern, I focused on how I could help. Thus, I delved into creating a parenting plan course. An online course, where do-it-yourself types could get started on their divorce paperwork by completing the parenting plan course. This is often the first step I take with my divorcing clients. There is always a sigh of relief when divorcing clients know (and actually create) the plan for their kids. It also seems to be one of the areas of divorce that is easier to agree upon. Even if parent’s hate (too harsh?) each other they always love their kids. Doing what is best for them is their number one priority.
My dear friend, Susan Guthrie, Esq., was mentoring me on glitches I was running into in my business plan; when I began discussing a win I discovered. I had begun using my parenting plan course a different way. In addition to selling my course online, I was actually utilizing it with clients. It was helping my business save time and money by sending my clients through the course. They could take care of this portion of the divorce without me being in front of them. They also could complete the paperwork themselves. And then Susan Guthrie gave me a phenomenal idea, why don’t I make this course available to other Mediation professionals to use in their own practice. Genius, right?!
I am so excited to be offering my course to divorce and mediation professionals. As a first step in my process, I am offering it free to professionals who agree to be in a test group. Please connect with me at Website; Instagram ; or linkedin if you are interested!
Help yourself by helping your clients. Parenting plans are a powerful tool divorcing couples can use as they continue to be a united front in their children’s lives. Serve your clients well by giving them the opportunity and power to make decision for their children and their future.
Lesa Koski s the President and Founder of Koski Law & Mediation, PLLC in MN and WI. After 18 years of Elder Law and Family Law, Lesa Koski brings extensive experience to the complex area of Mediation. Lesa is a graduate of The College of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN where she majored in Journalism. She received her Master’s degree in Health and Human Service Administration from St. Mary’s, Mpls, MN. And finally, she obtained her Juris Doctorate from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, MN.
Statista.com/ Published by Statista Research Dept. Nov. 4, 2020
American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry: Children & Divorce No. J an. 2017
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