Practice management is one part of being a lawyer they don’t often teach you about in law school. Thankfully over the years, technology has transformed to offer lawyers robust and continually improving solutions to help them manage their office. As you begin to grow your law firm, take advantage of these tools to implement key strategies that will contribute to efficiency, productivity and success.
WIthin your firm, there are specific features and mechanisms that will provide the most significant impact on your productivity and bottom line. When you’re looking for a practice management program, keep an eye out for these capabilities:
- Centralize Your Systems
Stop duplicating efforts, save time and avoid errors by using a single program for your document management, billing, accounting, timekeeping, and email rather than a combination of tools.
- Comprehensive, Useful Reports & Customizable Dashboards
To make informed business decisions you need data, so use a practice management tool to keep all of your key information right in front of you and easily run comprehensive reports.
- Make Sure The Proper Security Measures Are In Place
With the amount of personal information law firms handle and the increasing number of data breaches, strong security is no longer an option. Use two-factor authentication and encryption to prevent breaches, while regularly backing up your data and applying IT updates.
- Anywhere, Anytime Access
Keep cases moving and your clients satisfied with the ability to work and access files no matter where you are. Just as importantly, never miss a billing or expense entry with real-time inputting.
- Automate Retainer Management
Healthy cash flow is critical to keeping the doors open and one of the best ways to make sure you get paid is by never letting a retainer go empty. Set up automatic reminders to your clients once their accounts hit a particular balance to keep your retainers full.
- Automate Invoicing
Sending out invoices shouldn’t take up a lot of your time. Use a tool that will allow you to generate all your invoices with a single click and send them with another to save hours each month.
- Automate Collections
Automate reminders to clients for overdue invoices, keeping the payments coming in without taking up more than a few minutes of your time.
- Automate Document Assembly
Use auto-fill technology and templates to automatically place case information into your most used documents and forms rather than doing it by hand every time.
- Set Up Workflows
Never miss a deadline or to-do item again by setting up the automatic creation of tasks, deadlines or events when a trigger occurs, such as the creation of a new case.
- Trust Accounting Safeguards
Avoid compliance violations with a tool that utilizes safeguards to protect you from the most common trust accounting errors.
- Don’t Settle For General Business Accounting Solutions
Get the benefits of a legal-specific accounting program and avoid the pitfalls of using a generic tool that lacks the ability to address the unique accounting needs of law firms, such as trust accounting, individual client ledger clients and overdraft protection.
- Credit Card Payments
Accepting credit card payments will help your cash flow, but make sure you choose a merchant who can handle processing fees and the depositing funds in a trust accounting compliant manner. Learn more about best practices when accepting credit cards: Avoiding Compliance Issues When Getting Paid
- Secure Client Communication
The American Bar Association has noted lawyers are flocking to client portals for their value in providing a way to securely send sensitive or client-privileged. This easy to use system notifies clients they have a message or document awaiting them in your system, where they can securely log on to view it.
Grow Your Law Firm
There are only so many hours in the day and to grow your firm you need to take advantage of the tools available to make the most of them. Automating as many tasks as possible, while increasing error prevention and client satisfaction will give you the boost you need to stay competitive while being able to focus on work product and billable hours. The power of today’s practice management tools, especially cloud-based programs, offer an easy, effective way to implement many of the most impactful changes you can make to your firm.
For an in-depth look at how to apply these to your practice, download our full article: 13 Ways To Raise the Bar in Practice Management