Ever wondered how to transform your law firm from a crawling babe to a master sprinter in efficiency?
Running a successful law firm is no walk in the park and a law firm that is highly efficient is a priority for every managing partner. From dealing with clients and handling sensitive legal information to managing your employees and filing system, you want your firm to run like a well-oiled machine even in your absence. You probably already have systems and processes in place that you believe work, but in today’s fast-paced and rapidly changing world, you do not want to have a law firm that is static and does not evolve with the times.
It is important to review your management systems and processes so you can weed out and get rid of stuff that does not work while introducing new and improved processes that will boost your firm’s efficiency. I am going to share a few steps on how to take your law firm from a crawling babe to the next level of efficiency as a master sprinter. You may have come across some of these steps for efficiency in the past and overlooked them, however, I assure you I provide an easy to understand breakdown of these steps to act as a guide for you to make your practice much more efficient.
We hear the word automation a lot in different industries but what does it really mean? Automation simply means taking tasks that you perform every other day that are repetitive and take up a lot of your time and handing it over to an automated system to do it for you. Law firms handle a lot of documents and paperwork and reviewing and processing documents take up a good amount of billable time your staff could use to attend to other things that require their expertise. Automating your business removes the strain on time and resources allocated to repetitive tasks that can easily be taken over by machine systems, this will greatly improve your firms’ productivity while eliminating costs and redundancy.
Automating your law firm also ensures that your employees get assigned tasks that match their skill set at the right times thus improving their morale, cutting down the amount of overtime they would have put in to finish up all that paperwork and ensuring they perform their tasks well. Automating your law firm streamlines and integrate tasks that are related to one another across departments thus reducing the amount of time and errors that would have been made if these tasks were taken on manually.
In the legal profession, maintaining healthy client relationships are very important and automation helps your firm take on a larger number of clients and improve your client relationships by enabling you to respond to queries in real time as information can be easily pulled up with a significantly lower amount of error that could have been made by manual systems.
Some examples of automatable processes include:
- Time and expense entry – using software like Everhour and Minute7 for your law firm make automating time and expense entries like preparing invoices to be done on time with fewer errors as it reduces the number of hands expense sheets have to go through.
- Client intake processes – Efforltessintake and HubSpot software make automating your client intake process fast and easy for new clients to sign up for your services while taking away all the time that would have been wasted by manually entering handwritten forms.
- Budgeting – automating your budget with software like QuickBooks, NetSuite and Sage50c helps you keep track of your firm’s spending and allocates resources to their various departments. You will also have a central source of budgetary information that can be retrieved at any time without the need for multiple calls or emails.
- UTMBS or “LEDES” – clients who require their bills sent in these codes will easily receive their invoices in these formats quick and on time by using software like Zola Suite.
- Coding – writing code can get tedious and boring, automating coding takes away the stress of long hours you would have spent in front of your screen.
- Invoice submissions – automatically submitting invoices with software like QuickBooks, Zoho or Bitrix24 will save your accounts department from lots of paperwork involved in processing invoices and payments will be made much faster.
- File format conversions– you can easily convert your law firms file archives into different formats that are easier to work with like XML, HTML or Word with the simple click of a button using software like Adlib.
- Document review– automated document review software like Process Street or CaseFox allows your firm to identify relevant information in documents much faster, with fewer resources and more accurately than manual document reviews.
2. Migrating your infrastructure and Practice Management Software to the Cloud
As you may know, Cloud storage is slowly taking over from workspaces and is one of the great ways your law firm can function more efficiently. Imagine being able to access all the information you need to work from any location you are in the world, it makes work so much easier and eliminates all the time that would have been spent locating relevant documents.
Moving your management software and documents to cloud storage platforms like Clio and RockeMatter means new information can be added and made easily accessible to staff at all times, so even when your lawyers and staff are on the go, they can stay up to date on what is happening with your firm on their mobile devices and contribute to completing their set tasks.
Migrating your infrastructure to the cloud is a complex process and it is important that you use a dedicated cloud service that will help with your law firm achieve its business goals.
Benefits of your law firm’s data to cloud storage include:
A. Cloud migration reduces operational costs such as hiring office space in different geographical locations should you choose to open a branch in some other location as employees will have remote access to necessary documents and can work online. This means you can hire more hands to increase your law firms efficiency at a reduced cost.
B. Migrating your law firm’s infrastructure to the cloud ensures that there is a permanent store of your firm’s valuable information and documents. In the case of a disaster where you could lose all of your files and information, cloud storage comes to the rescue because all your information is already backed up and safe. The same is said for a situation where you lose your work device or it crashes. Without cloud storage, this would send you into panic mode as you struggle to retrieve your data from hard drives or colleagues. With cloud storage, however, you are sure your data can be accessed from a new device.
C. Cloud migration allows you to pay for storage by subscription, so your firm gets to eliminate costs because you pay as you use their cloud hosting services.
Some examples of cloud-based legal practice management software platforms are :
Clio is a cloud-based platform for small to large legal firms that enables firms to track information like deadlines, appointments, and collect bills and cases from clients with ease.
RocketMatter is a great legal practice management software that helps your law firm boost its efficiency by managing your schedules, storing documents, and generating invoices.
LawLogix or INSzoom is a cloud-based migration case management software that provides an electronic I-9 service, E-Verify, and client case management practice.
These software and many others like them are made to help firms run smoothly by managing their billing, cases and clients records, accounting information, schedules and appointments amongst other functions. Now it’s understandable that you may have some concerns about the security of the information stored in the cloud especially as law firms handle a lot of sensitive information but all data is encrypted and protected by passwords you set.
3. Invest In Your Employees
Whether you realize it or not, your staff are the lifeblood of your firm and one of your most valuable assets because they are responsible for so many of the activities in the day to day running of your law firm. Making sure that your staff are happy and feel appreciated goes a long way in the increasing the efficiency of your law firm because happier staff work harder, rise to challenges and accomplish their tasks a lot better than staff who feel abused, mistreated, unappreciated and dissatisfied.
Providing your staff with the necessary tools to perform their tasks effectively also increases their productivity and output. It also goes without saying that you need to pay your staff well, you should remunerate staff according to the work they put in, including bonuses. Don’t hesitate to provide payment for overtime and create a conducive work environment that is comfortable, have lunch breaks and even snacks! When your staff love working with you, they are more likely to come in early with a positive attitude, recommend new clients, friends, and family to your law firm in addition to working harder.
Some of the ways you can invest in your staff and increase the efficiency of your law firm include:
- Hire Properly – hiring the right people for the job is hardly an easy task but it most definitely can be done. Sifting through resumes and selecting the right fit for your firm is more than picking the candidate with the right skills on paper. You should hire someone who will fit right in with your firm’s culture, look out for candidates who will get along with your other employees and be willing to learn from them. You should hire someone who is committed to developing their career instead of chasing the next big paycheck as they will most likely ditch you as soon as a better offer comes along. This candidate would be willing to learn and adapt to your firm’s policies and thus will give their best to ensure your firm continues to grow. It’s also important that you check referees and backgrounds of your potential employees as more than a few people have been known to exaggerate on their resumes. A little background check will ascertain the validity of the skills and qualifications candidates have listed on their resumes. You can also check out candidates on social media, In the age of technology, most people are very open on social media, you stand to learn a lot more about candidates, who they are as people and their job experiences from what they share on their social media pages like Twitter and LinkedIn.
- Train them – giving your staff room to grow by training them and providing opportunities for them to move upwards in your law firm’s hierarchy encourages them to work harder thus increasing your firm’s efficiency. You ought to train both new and old staff to ensure they remain competent at their jobs and improve as time goes by. As the popular saying goes, “practice makes perfect” encourage your staff to practice everything they have learned continually. It’ll help them learn faster and get better at everything they’re taught in training sessions. You can also encourage staff to share their expertise with each other. If one staff is particularly good at cloud computing and machine learning, you can set aside a time of the week for said staff to share his/her knowledge with the rest of your team and sit back and watch as your law firm’s efficiency skyrockets. Your staff would most likely feel more comfortable learning and asking questions from a colleague than from a stranger as well. Taking into account how each employee learns and tailoring their training to suit them will also make your employees feel appreciated and spurred to put in their best in completing their tasks. By training your employees individually you also will help them grow both professionally and personally by helping them identify their strengths and work on improving their weaknesses.
- Build a solid management team – Building a strong management team ensures your team works. Finding the right talent to make up your team is the first step to making sure your management team is a strong one. You might choose to go down the route where you promote a member of staff who shows great management skills and has worked with your firm for some time to a position of manager, or you can scout for new talent by attending industry-related networking events or headhunting. Once you have assembled your team of talents, your management team must also understand that they are all equal parts of a whole and no one’s contribution is more important than the other, ensure that roles are clearly defined so that your team does not mix up their responsibilities and butt heads. Your team should also have an open line of communication so information is shared at the same time and no one feels out of the loop, This will reduce conflicts and ensure they have great chemistry with each other. Your management team should be made up of people who are good leaders as well, it is no good if they possess management talent and have great chemistry with one another if they cannot lead the rest of your staff and ensure that your law firm is run efficiently.
4. Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Law Firms
Incorporating AI into various aspects of legal practice empowers law firms to work more efficiently, make informed decisions, and deliver higher-quality services to clients. The ongoing advancements in AI technology continue to reshape and enhance the legal industry’s capabilities.
Example: Legal research can be time-consuming. AI-powered tools like ROSS Intelligence and LexisNexis use natural language processing to quickly sift through vast legal databases, providing lawyers with relevant case law, statutes, and precedents. This significantly expedites the research process, allowing lawyers to focus on strategy and analysis.
Document Review and Analysis
Example: AI-powered document review tools, such as Kira Systems and eBrevia, use machine learning algorithms to analyze and extract information from contracts and legal documents. This not only speeds up the review process but also reduces the risk of human error and ensures thorough scrutiny of documents.
Example: AI tools like LegalSifter and LawGeex assist in contract drafting by providing suggestions and identifying potential issues. These tools use machine learning to understand the context of the document and offer insights, helping lawyers create well-structured and compliant contracts efficiently.
Example: During mergers and acquisitions, AI streamlines due diligence processes. Tools like Luminance and Intraspexion use AI algorithms to review large volumes of documents quickly, identifying potential risks and relevant information. This accelerates the due diligence phase and enhances the overall efficiency of transactions.
Predictive Analytics for Case Outcomes
Example: AI-driven analytics tools, such as Blue J Legal and Lex Machina, analyze historical case data to predict likely outcomes based on various factors. This assists lawyers in making informed decisions about case strategy, settlement negotiations, and resource allocation.
Example: AI-powered e-discovery tools like Relativity and Catalyst use machine learning algorithms to analyze and categorize large volumes of electronic documents. This not only reduces the time and costs associated with e-discovery but also enhances the accuracy of document classification and relevance determination.
Virtual Legal Assistants
Example: Chatbots and virtual assistants, like DoNotPay and ROSS Intelligence, use AI to interact with clients, answer frequently asked questions, and provide preliminary legal advice. This enhances client communication, automates routine inquiries, and allows legal professionals to focus on more complex tasks.
Example: AI is instrumental in identifying and preventing cybersecurity threats. AI tools, including Advanced Next-Gen Anti-virus (EDR), SentinelOne, Cylance or Darktrace, use machine learning to detect unusual patterns and behaviors in a law firm’s network, helping prevent data breaches and ensuring the security of sensitive legal information.
Legal Analytics for Business Strategy
Example: AI-driven legal analytics platforms, like Premonition and Legal Analytics by Westlaw Edge, help law firms analyze market trends, competitor strategies, and judicial behaviors. This information assists in making data-driven decisions for business development and strategic planning.
These four ways will help you get the ball rolling to a law firm that is 200% more efficient. However, it is up to you as a managing partner to find the appropriate tools and best practices available that would be most suitable for your law firm to enable it to succeed in our fast-paced and rapidly evolving modern era.
Automating redundant, tedious, time-consuming tasks that slow down your law firm and eat into billable hours with machine learning capabilities, adapting and migrating to cloud-based software platforms and using tools that work best for your firm will benefit your practice and your clients. Your employees will also deeply appreciate the effort you make to streamline their processes and increase productivity so that they can spend their time doing work that requires their expertise like winning new business. Moving your firm’s processes towards new technology sooner rather than later makes your firm indispensable. Any firm can increase its efficiency as long as you are willing to embrace change and learn new ways to get things done.
Book A Call to learn more if we can help if you are wondering how to transform your law firm to be more efficient.
You may also like to take a look at some of these great resources:
- Is your law firm’s technology holding you back?
- What Is Managed IT Services and How Much Does IT Support Cost?
- The Benefits of Managed IT Services for Law Firms
- How To Allow Employees or Contractors to Work Securely and Effectively from Home or Overseas?
Frequently Asked Questions
eSudo is a local managed IT & Cybersecurity services (MSP/MSSP) company that helps businesses make technology seamlessly work over the last 22+ years in Silicon Valley. What sets eSudo apart is we focus on security first, and IT support happens to be part of the security services.
Our team of experienced and certified computer engineers understands that no two businesses are alike, that’s why we partner with our clients to develop efficient and cost effective computer networks, cloud solutions, network security, and phone solutions that help you run your business.
As a local Microsoft Partner and Cloud Technology Specialist, eSudo has the knowledge, skills, and commitment to help you implement modern technology solutions that match your exact business needs.
Our goal is to Keep your IT Systems running and data Secure (KISS) so you can focus on running your business safely!
We specialize in working with professional service organizations like law firms, accounting firms (CPAs), and wealth management. However, eSudo have helped other business such as non-profit organizations, manufacturing and other small businesses after we have reviewed their needs and determined if they are good fit for our services.
eSudo is not a traditional IT support company; we focus on security first, and IT support happens to be part of the security services. In the dynamic landscape of network security, a proactive approach is key to safeguarding your business. It’s not a one-time event but an ongoing commitment to keep your systems resilient against evolving threats. With the rise of a mobile workforce and the omnipresence of phishing attempts or social engineering or AI, educating your employees, continuous monitoring and proactive support are vital to prevent data breaches.
If your business is looking for break-fix support or hourly IT services, we may not be for you because we cannot fully manage your risks and more importantly, it creates a trust issue in our relationship. Under a “break-fix” model, there is a fundamental conflict of interest between your business and eSudo.
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