Independent Thinking: Streamlining your Law Firm

December 18, 2012

Small Law: Independent ThinkingIt’s been a fact of life from the earliest inventions of mankind that the use of effective tools for appropriate jobs increases our efficiency and expands our ability.  It just so happens that, these days, most of those effective tools, especially those drafted for office work, are based in electronic technology.

I’ve previously written, in this space, on the importance of moving toward a paperless environment in your law office; and, the movement toward the paperless office is the driver for much of the office technology that modern attorneys implement.  There are not only certain benefits to going paperless, there are also certain benefits that stream from those technologies that you apply to your paperless environment.

There are a number of ways through which your office technology can streamline your practice, make your workflows more efficient and increase the amount of time you can spend outside of the office.  A good law practice management system will be able to provide you a suite of tools that will answer for all of the forthcoming advantages — and it can do so in a single package.

If you can discover a method for archiving your email, it will inure to the benefit of your practice.  Printing emails, buying/utilizing more space within your email programs or PDFing and saving electronic version of your emails are all options that pale in comparison to the inherent smoothness of utilizing an integrated plug-in or add-on for aggregating your email communication by client file. 

Establishing an effective contact management system, through which you can create complete client and related party profiles, is essential for running effective conflict checks by a global search mechanism.  If you can access features related to customer relations management, you can begin to track your progress with potential clients, determine how often you convert potential clients and target your marketing more effectively for the future, through the application of analytics data. 

A time and billing system, potentially integrated into a practice management platform, will offer you better ability to track your time contemporaneously with your activity and to bill on a regular cycle.  Reporting features related to time and billing components, and other aspects, of an integrated law practice management program will allow you to leverage the data you keep about your clients and your practice, giving you an improved ability to act upon potentially significant improvements to increase your effectiveness in various areas of your business. 

The power of the cloud means that you can access your practice information wherever you have a secure internet connection.  In our ‘always on’ culture, it pays to be able to increase your mobility, in order to improve your customer service.  Utilizing a one-entry system: one that syncs between various devices, and that features a ‘home’ dashboard, will allow you to practice out of the office, as if you were sitting at your desk.

In my consulting work with LOMAP, I routinely recommend that the solo and small firm attorneys I talk with strongly consider leveraging a law practice management system, in order to create the greatest efficiencies possible within their law practices.

 

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