Back to Basics: (Part 1) Fine-Tuning Your Legal Practice Management

This post is part one of a two-part series that focuses on getting Back to Basics in your law practice. Please read part 2 here, Improving Your Law Firm’s Financials.

We all want to implement quality practice management, and most lawyers know what that should look like for their firm on a strategic level. But if we dial it back to the basics, what does strong practice management look like in your day-to-day?

Below, we’ve put together the to-dos for every law firm seeking a more robust approach to practice management in their daily operations. While big picture strategy may differ across practice areas, geography, and firm size, these everyday essentials stay the same across the board.

Stay organized with calendars

You and your team can’t keep the ball rolling if you don’t know what’s happening next. Calendars seem as obvious to us now as they did to the ancient Sumerians, but accuracy has improved significantly over the last several thousand years, and today’s law firms should seek a more streamlined experience.

Start by leveraging your practice management system’s calendaring technology for greater teamwide collaboration. Shared calendars allow everyone to access needed information without email back-and-forths. Likewise, syncs and integrations can eliminate double data entry and help ensure that everyone has the same time down for a meeting.

Keep up with the modern world by using your practice management system’s app for on-the-go mobile access—and don’t forget to enable public calendar links. This way, you don’t need to enter another round of phone tag every time one of your clients wants to have a meeting.

Streamline workflows with task management

Workflow checklists are vital to collaborative team success. They ensure that deadlines are met, matters keep moving forward, and help enhance consistency from one similar task to another. They also reduce some of the managerial work of running a law firm.

If you use multi-way commenting, your team can hash out an issue with needing to schedule a meeting. Likewise, real-time progress tracking lets you see where the team is and enables greater accountability, especially if staff members are working remotely.

Seek secure and efficient document management

Few lawyers get through the workday without drafting or reviewing some kind of document. Make sure yours are accessible at any time, from any location by using a cloud-based system. 

But use a system that provides real security measures, including encryption in transit and at rest. Likewise, look for features that let you share documents securely with clients through a client portal. And always, always have an off-site backup! If something happens, you don’t want to lose all your work.

Once your team can draft, edit and review documents no matter where everyone is, matter-centric organization can help you track and find what you need. 

And don’t lose time from your day by copying and pasting new client data into your old documents. That time could go to billable work instead. For more efficient document creation, build a template and take advantage of your system’s automated document generation.

Aim for robust and clear communication

Finally, clear communication keeps the professional world turning. Modernize how your staff collaborates on projects by using chat and comment features for everything from events and notes to documents. 

Make sure you’re communicating securely with your clients, too. For example, enable email encryption or use a secure client portal. 

Finally, however you approach your firm’s communications, make sure you maintain matter-centric archives so that you can quickly look up notes and emails when you need to.

Leverage available technology

Technology continues to advance in leaps and bounds. Cloud-based systems regularly update, ensuring you have continuous access to the latest legal tech features.

Set yourself up for greater long-term success by upping your daily efficiency. Leverage today’s cloud-based calendar features, use task management for streamlined workflows, dial in your document management, and keep everyone on the same page with clear communication. Fine-tune today for hours saved tomorrow!

To learn even more about getting back to basics in your law firm and getting ahead by focusing on your daily practice management tasks, watch our on-demand webinar, Back to Basics: Daily Law Practice Management.

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