We’re more than halfway through December and the year is quickly drawing to a close. 2018 is right around the corner and it’s time to prepare your law firm for the new year.
To get you started, here’s a round up of some of best law practice management tips for solo and small law firms that we’ve blogged about over the past year. Whether it’s legal technology trends or practice management advice from the experts, you’ll be sure to find a few nuggets of wisdom that you can use to position your law firm for success in the coming year!
Automate your law firm
One of the keys to being a productive lawyer is to streamline your law firm’s processes. Although artificial intelligence (AI) has been all the rage this year and offers lots of potential for lawyers seeking to automate certain aspects of their law practices, you don’t need AI to automate your law firm. There are already lots of automation features built into readily available legal software programs. Using this software you can quickly and easily automate: 1) billing, invoicing, and collections, 2) tasks and deadlines, and 3) document assembly. You can learn even more information about how one type of legal software – law practice management software – can help you automate your law firm, including tips on batch billing and creating repeatable workflows here.
Ditch unsecure email
We’ve been saying it for years: email is inherently unsecure. It’s like sending a postcard written in pencil through the post office. So, it wasn’t surprising when earlier this year the American Bar Association weighed in on email’s lack of security when it issued Opinion 477. The Committee explained that due to “cyber-threats and (the fact that) the proliferation of electronic communications devices have changed the landscape…it is not always reasonable to rely on the use of unencrypted email.” The Committee also suggested a number of more secure communication options, including client portals: “A lawyer has a variety of options to safeguard communications including, for example, using secure internet access methods to communicate, access and store client information (such as through secure Wi-Fi, the use of a Virtual Private Network, or another secure internet portal.”
Not only are client portals a more secure way to communicate, they also offer a host of benefits. That’s why, according to a recent survey, more lawyers than ever are using client portals to interact and collaborate with clients, experts, co-counsel and more. The good news is that it’s not just lawyers who appreciate the convenience and security offered by client portals – clients do, too. After all, having all case-related information easily accessible 24/7 benefits your clients just as much as it benefits you!
In 2017, lawyers were more mobile than ever. Because mobile tools offer lawyers convenience and flexibility it was no surprise to learn that survey results showed that more than 94% of lawyers regularly used mobile devices for law-related purposes when away from their offices. And, when paired with cloud computing, practicing law from anywhere is a now reality. Lawyers are using mobile devices to communicate with clients, enter billable time, and access case-related information, including documents, contact information, and time and billing data. To learn more about using your mobile devices and apps as part of your day-to-day law practice, make sure to watch the recording of this webinar.
Offer flexible payment options
In 2017, legal clients expect multiple payment options. Gone are the days of accepting cash or checks only. Today’s legal consumers are used to paying bills online using a variety of payment methods. At the very least, law firms should be set up to accept credit and debit card payments, along with cash and checks. Doing so is convenient for your clients, encourages timely payment of law firm invoices, and makes it easier for you to invoice clients and get paid. But don’t stop there! Learn about up and coming payment methods like Bitcoin and Blockchain. Not many clients are paying this way yet, but learning about new technologies is the first step toward making educated decisions about which tools to use in your law firm.
So those are some of the legal technology and practice management trends we wrote about in 2017. Which ones are you already using in your practice? How many will you incorporate into your law firm as you get ready for 2018?