It's mid-December. You've received your glowing performance review, and you've already spent your bonus. Your workload may have slowed (just a tad -- let's not get crazy, this is still BigLaw we're talking about), and this is a great time to start thinking about wrapping up 2013 and getting ready for 2014. Here are the top five things you should do for year-end preparation.
1. Set Goals
Take some time to reflect on your work for 2013, and take into consideration the feedback you received during your performance review. Select areas that need further development, and think about what you can do to improve in the new year. Whether it's better research or more concise writing, set some goals to reach in the new year. Just make sure that they are realistic (i.e., achievable) and that you think about the steps along the way needed to reach the result you want.
2. More Efficiency
Time is money for all lawyers, but with unofficial quotas to meet at least 2,000 billable hours/year, you want to make the most of your time. Try to find ways to increase efficiency, and look for areas that are time wasters. This exercise may take a little -- time -- but the reward will be more, you guessed it, time.
3. Invest in Retirement
If working at BigLaw is your rude awakening to being in a higher tax bracket, then there are ways that you can defer income -- and therefore defer tax payments. Investing in your retirement is one of those ways. If you have not maxed out on your 401(k) contributions (especially if your firm is matching funds) then get to it!
4. Make Charitable Contributions
Another way to decrease income for tax purposes is to make charitable contributions. Select a non-profit whose cause you support and make a donation -- just be sure to do it before end of day, December 31, 2013.
The holidays are a good time to reconnect with old friends, acquaintances and associates. In addition to being a nice thing to do, this is a great way for nurturing the foundation of your network. In a few years' time, when you enter your rainmaking stage, you'll be glad you did this.
What are you doing to wrap up 2013? Share your tips with us on Facebook at FindLaw for Legal Professionals.