Anywhere you look these days, you see that it’s resolution time. We’ve just finished reviewing the “Best of 2011” lists, with everything from movies to sports highlights getting a celebratory retelling. And now it’s time to plan for the year that will be – asking the questions: what do we want to accomplish, why do we want those things, and how do we get there?

For law firms, this conversation has been going on for some time. The economic downturn (read: collapse) of 2008 caused some serious soul-searching in the industry, and law firms have tried myriad ways to adapt (see e.g. layoffs, mergers and staff moves to interesting locales). So we thought we’d lend a helping hand and suggest some ways law firms can slim down, shape up and get more sleep in 2012. Here goes:

1. Buy some toys. As evidenced by Google’s $12.5B takeover with Motorola Mobility, the mobile market isn’t just heating up, it’s hot. Lawyers need to spend some quality time doing things other than pounding out emails on their BlackBerry’s. Take a look at all the things mobile technologies can do now. See how companies are interacting with their customers on mobile sites. Figure out what this “cloud” stuff is all about. Your clients care about this stuff. And so should you.

2. Learn to love something new. In-house lawyers frequently talk about their desire to have their outside counsel understand their business issues. This is a tall order for lawyers who have no business experience. Most law firms assume that because someone has two degrees from elite universities, they’ll be an excellent lawyer. But here’s a thought – what if those two degrees came with a few years in a business setting, an MBA or an understanding of profit and loss?

3. Start talking. We commend those law firms who have taken to sites like Facebook and Twitter. But are there any firms out there who have used these sites as anything other than virtual ad space? As one expert put it, social media is a conversation, not a broadcast. So firms need to learn how to engage with their clients – both old and new – in a social setting. And in case you haven’t heard, we here at Brightleaf have a cool new way  firms can do that.

Got some ideas for turning 2012 into the year of the law firm? Tell us about them!