Improving Law Firm Security, Efficiency, and Profitability Part 2: Efficiency & Profitability
One of the most important and many times the most overlooked aspects of a law firm is the technology and applications that it owns. While sufficient cybersecurity measures will be beneficial to your firm in the long run, ultimately, it is having the proper tools in place for your employees that will help guide your firm to success and profit.
Virtually, every law firm has a time & billing application along with a document management system. However, these applications are often used at a fraction of their capabilities. Studies indicate that the average worker uses approximately 36% of the capabilities of an application.
Many firms will purchase an application and then move into the “set it and forget it” mode. Learning more about available tools and matter management solutions cannot be placed in the “important but not urgent” pile. It IS urgent! The more effectively an application is used, the sooner tasks are completed, providing more available time for other more meaningful tasks.
In today’s environment, firms must embrace technology and all employees must as well. A firm that does not utilize its technology to its fullest capacity runs the risk of losing valuable employees, who will leave to join an organization that prioritizes remaining current.
Having regularly scheduled meetings is important, but not if they run the risk of becoming pointless and unproductive. Make sure all in-house meetings include agendas that have been distributed prior to the meeting. You want to make sure the content of the meeting is meaningful for all attendees.
In today’s environment, it might make sense to include a business partner, via Zoom or in person, to present. Business partners can get a better understanding of their clients’ needs and clients can use what the business partner offers in a more effective and efficient manner. For instance, a valuable meeting would be to review what occurs from the start of a case and how the firm’s matter management software can streamline this process, ensuring that new clients are swiftly onboarded and vetted appropriately. There are usually software features that can help to automate documents, ensure that important deadlines are met, and facilitate both internal and external communication. Finally, law practice management software with robust billing features makes it easy to invoice clients and to collect payment from them.
Law practice management software provides the tools and functionalities that busy law firms need in order to ensure that the entire business end of the practice runs smoothly and efficiently—from onboarding clients, to creating documents, to meeting deadlines, to improving communication, to billing and collecting payment from clients.
As mentioned in Part 1 of this series, it would be wise for a firm to provide regular training to all employees. Everyone has to understand the process and the best way to complete a task.
When it comes to training ideas, there are many processes that your attorneys should be on the same page about:
- Client Intake. It is very important that everyone follows the same procedures from prospect acquisition to the conclusion of the relationship. This will help with the firm’s application for professional liability insurance.
- Billing. The more accurate and timely manner in which bills are prepared and submitted, the more profitable and successful a law firm becomes. Therefore, everyone should understand their firm’s time & billing system. When people understand and utilize this application efficiently, less time will be wasted, and clients will be able to pay their invoices sooner.
- Document Templates. Not every template has to be utilized by every member of a firm, but it is important for all employees to be aware of such documents. Anytime a procedure can be automated, it is a benefit to the firm. There will be fewer errors and routine tasks can be handled quickly, leaving time to be spent on other tasks.
- Client Portal. These portals can be built into law practice management platforms and offer many benefits to the firm as well, not the least of which is security and ethical compliance. If implemented, the firm will probably be eligible to pay less in cyber liability insurance. Client portals also offer important benefits to the clients through minimizing the transmission of emails containing confidential information. It is also very easy to set up a platform, within a portal, which allows a client to pay online.
Becoming an efficient, safe, and profitable law firm is an ongoing process. In no case, is it “set it and forget it.”