Law Firm Management: 5 Ways to Run a More Efficient Law Firm
Running a law practice in isn’t easy. The day-to-day tasks involved in running a successful law firm – including tracking deadlines, staying on top of client communications, overseeing your firm’s finances, and business development – can take up significant amounts of time. If your firm doesn’t have processes in place that streamline law firm management, it can be difficult to find the time to do what you do best: represent your clients.
That’s where law practice management software comes in. It provides the tools and functionalities that busy law firms need in order to ensure that the business end of the practice runs smoothly and efficiently. From the very start of a case, law practice management software can streamline your law firm’s processes, ensuring that new clients are swiftly onboarded. From there, built-in features can help to automate document creation, 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 for your firm to invoice clients and collect payment from clients.
The bottom line, the more efficiently your firm runs, the more you billable work you can get done. The end result will be happy clients and a healthy bottom line.
If this type of efficiency seems unattainable, rest assured, it’s not. With the right law practice management software, your firm’s processes will be streamlined in no time. The key is to take advantage of key productivity features, including client intake forms, time-tracking and billing tools, online payments, document automation, and secure client portals for communication. Let’s five into each of these features so that you can learn how they can help your firm be as efficient and productive as possible.
If your firm’s website doesn’t already have online intake forms in place so that potential clients can retain your firm’s services no matter what the situation, then what are you waiting for? Online intake forms simplify client intake and make it easy for potential clients to provide contact information from any internet-enabled device, at anytime, day or night. The convenience and flexibility online intake forms offer potential clients start each case off on a positive note while streamlining the remote collection of necessary information from potential firm clients. And if your online intake forms are part of your law firm’s law practice management software, then all the better, since all information collected using online intake forms is then immediately accessible in your case management software.
According to MyCase customer, Aaron Feldman, intake forms have made all the difference for his law firm, Feldman Law Group:
“When I have a consultation with somebody who wants to become a client, the ability to create a fee agreement from a template in leads and then to turn that into a PDF that is sent out for electronic signature – it takes minutes now. And then the intake forms that we’ve developed to go along with our practice areas go out automatically and are easy to for clients to complete.”
Billing and invoicing
A successful law practice is a profitable one. But there’s more to making money than simply earning it. After all, it doesn’t matter how many hours that lawyers in your firm bill if your firm isn’t getting paid for the work being performed for your clients.
That’s why streamlined, effective legal billing systems are so important. The more efficient your firm’s billing processes, the more quickly your firm will get paid. If things run smoothly, legal billing can be a painless – and fruitful – endeavor. But if your firm is relying on clunky, antiquated software and paper systems to send out invoices and collect overdue legal bills, it can be a time consuming waste of precious resources.
MyCase customer Jason Kohlmeyer shares how the billing and invoicing features in MyCase have been a big time-saver for his firm,”
“In the old days, it would take two staff members two days to prepare all of our invoices, print them out, and mail them to clients. Looking back, that was a huge time waster for us. Compiling and sending automated invoices has given us so much time back.”
One of the best ways that your firm can ensure that it gets paid quickly is to allow clients to pay their bills online and set up payment plans for their legal bills. Using law practice management software with built-in payment processing tools, you can create a payment plan, establish the amounts due and due dates, and share that information with your client, who can then instantly pay via e-check (ACH) or credit card using your firm’s legal billing software with built-in online payment tools
You can even set up invoice reminders for the amounts due, so that your client has all the information needed to make regular payments under the payment plan, and will receive convenient reminders when the payments are due.
Paul Grass explains how online payment processing helps his firm, Sullivan Law Group, get paid quickly, and saves four hours each week on administrative invoicing tasks:
“Integrating our case management and payment processor without paying more, it’s a no-brainer…It also saves time because everything is automatically paid and reconciled. We used to spend four to five hours reconciling billing and client payments each week. Nowadays, we don’t spend more than 20 minutes a week on it.”
Document automation and templates
When document templates are created using a document automation features, the time needed to create frequently-used documents is significantly reduced, since you no longer need to re-type the entire document. Instead, you simply fill in the appropriate fields.
This process is simplified even further when document automation is built into law practice management software. Using this software, document creation is simple and streamlined, and relevant data, such as case numbers, client information, party names, and necessary dates are automatically populated right in the document. No need to shuffle through a paper file to locate the data. It appears instantaneously when you use document automation with templates, saving you time and increasing productivity.
Attorney Matt Jett relies on MyCase’s document automation features, and shares that his law firm, Jett Law, is significantly more efficient as a result:
“It’s difficult to imagine how much time we would lose if we weren’t using MyCase. Before we had MyCase we had to use a document bank and then manually change all the names and case numbers and things like that – that alone probably saves hours every day.”
Online communication portals provide law firms a secure and effective way to communicate with clients. These portals can be built into law practice management platforms and offer a host of benefits, not the least of which is security and ethical compliance.
With online portals you can communicate and share case-related information with your clients in a centralized, convenient, and most importantly, secure location. Gone are the days of engaging in the cumbersome back and forth process of unsecure, threaded emails, which is instead replaced by an efficient way to communicate with clients in encrypted, controlled online environment.
Related: [Blog Post] The Case for Law Practice Management Software
According to MyCase customer Chris Huether, MyCase’s secure client portals are a big time-saver for his firm Huether & Luethner, Ltd., while also offering him peace of mind when it comes to complying with the ethical obligation to ensure client confidentiality:
“The client portal alone saves incredible amounts of time versus emailing. It’s one of the reasons we actually went with MyCase, since the portal is so much easier to use than some other software. The clients like it better, which makes huge difference when we’re collecting documents from people. I don’t like emailing and I often get tax documents and things like that all the time from people. So not having to worry about that from a security standpoint is huge.”
Is your firm as efficient as it could be? Are you interested in learning more about how to increase your firm’s productivity and streamline its back-office processes? If so, make sure to download this FREE guide today: “An Attorney’s Guide: How to Stay Productive Through COVID-19 (And Beyond).”