Providing high-quality service to those in need is a priority for most law firms, but achieving this goal can often come down to how productive your law firm is. The better your time management skills are, the more you’re able to do for your clients who rely on you for quick and efficient help.
If you don’t believe your law firm is currently as productive as it could be, it might be time to consider making some of the following changes.
When you outsource paralegal work, accounting, cleaning, and other tasks that don’t directly relate to the legal services you provide, you can free yourself up to focus on your clients and their needs.
Crucial but time-consuming tasks like organizing paperwork, entering data, and compiling information don’t have to be performed by lawyers who already work long hours to help their clients.
While unfamiliar technology can be challenging, it can also be beneficial. A wide variety of time-saving software is available to help nearly any law firm make better use of their time.
Accounting software can automate many payment processes, while specific legal software and client portals may speed up particular processes. It may be worth reviewing your current practices and seeing if a faster, more efficient technological option exists to save time and money.
If you’re a lawyer working by yourself, consider whether this is the best option for achieving an acceptable work-life balance. Trying to manage everything on your own can mean you’re spending more time in the office and less time with your loved ones.
Identify time-consuming jobs that can’t be outsourced to other businesses or individuals, and see if you can hire a supportive team to help work in your office with you. For example, rather than managing all your own meetings, booking catering for VIPs, and filling your own diary, you could hire an assistant to handle all of these tasks.
If you know something isn’t quite right in your law firm, but you’re not sure what it is, start tracking your key metrics in legal software, such as your utilization rate, realization rate, and collection rate.
Your utilization rate is the number of billable hours divided by the number of workday hours, while your realization rate is the number of billable hours you invoiced divided by how many hours you actually worked. The collection rate generally consists of the number of hours collected divided by how many hours you invoiced.
When the data doesn’t stack up, you can make changes based on what you find. It may be that you need to charge out more of your billable hours to ensure you’re being adequately compensated.
The work that lawyers do can be life-changing for their clients, which is why it’s essential to remain on-task. Get into the habit of limiting distractions so that you can achieve as much as possible. Set specific times to answer emails, ask not to be interrupted by your team, and silence your phone notifications to avoid those incessant social media bell tones. You can then remain focused without being distracted by what’s happening around you.
Productivity can be hard to manage in a busy law firm, but it’s essential that you make it a priority for the sake of your work life, home life, and client satisfaction. These tips above may put you on the path to success.