You had all those years of law school and yet they never taught you important things like billing, case organization and practice management. New lawyers and even experienced lawyers striking out on their own are surprised by the administrative hassle associated with running a legal practice. I’ve spent many years providing legal technology solutions to the legal industry and I want to share the strategies I’ve seen law firms use not just to succeed, but to thrive.
Productivity vs. Productivity Multipliers
If you bill by the hour, then why should you care about doing things faster? Because an efficient office means you put in fewer non-billable administrative hours organizing your team or puzzling over client accounts and put in more billable hours that earn you money. If you are one of the growing numbers of law firms moving to alternate, flat-fee billing models then the capacity to handle the same in less time than the attorney next door means a greater profit margin for your practice.
Unfortunately, many attorneys take short-sighted views of productivity. They adopt methods that might improve efficiency a little, but each method is independent. They don’t work together. What the truly successful law firms use are productivity multipliers: methods that enhance each other to send your practice’s productivity skyrocketing. You expect that using two productivity enhancers would be twice as efficient as using one, but with productivity multipliers using two methods might be four times as efficient. Using three methods might be ten times as efficient. You create a cohesive practice management strategy rather than just reacting to problems as they happen.
Productivity multipliers don’t just increase your law practice’s profits. They allow you to handle matters more quickly and efficiently, thus providing better service to your clients. They minimize the chance you will commit unintended ethics violations, protecting you from audits and bar association censure. They give you more time for the important things in life: family, friends, hobbies, and relaxation.
The Nine Productivity Multipliers
Here are the top methods I’ve seen successful law firms use. Adopting any one of these practices will help your practice, but they also all work together to create an effective practice management strategy that will drive your productivity through the roof.
You can adopt any one of these nine work model components to greatly increase your law firm’s productivity, but things really start to take off when you see how they work together. As you check off tasks on your workflow management system, billable hours flow into the invoice system. Team collaboration features can ensure that work done by multiple parties in the firm all shows up on the same invoice for a matter. The billing system looks at the trust account system to get payments from available retainers. Paperless invoices, late payment reminders, and low retainer replenishment requests go out through email. Manage all of this from anywhere through your cloud connection to get a comprehensive overview of your practice.
I firmly believe these new technologies will create a revolution in legal practice management over the next few years, which is why we at CosmoLex are working to create a tool that supports all of these productivity multipliers. Use one integrated application to manage all of these critical tasks and bring your firm into a new era of productivity and profitability.