We’re all looking forward to making 2020 our best year yet. For lawyers, a big part of a successful year means bringing in more billable hours and growing their practice. But being busier won’t necessarily translate to a more profitable year. Instead, focus on improving productivity in every area of your practice to get the uptick you’re looking for.
Here are some tips and tricks you can use to turn you, your staff, and your firm into productivity powerhouses:
Create more time: outsource tasks and responsibilities
No one is an expert in everything, and to be your firm’s accountant, receptionist, IT support, and office manager can quickly eat up time that could be spent on legal work or big-picture growth tactics. The learning curve on job roles and tasks outside of being a lawyer and an entrepreneur often means that it’s more cost-effective to outsource these roles. You may not have enough work to keep a new hire busy or don’t want to take on the associated costs of employees, such as taxes and insurance, which is why outsourcing can be an excellent alternative.
While it can be difficult to part ways with funds that you would rather keep as profit, looking to outsource tasks can be the key to growth. Taking a small cut now is often the exact catalyst you need to have the time to address more strategic issues, such as how to improve workflows or make clients even happier with their experience. In the new year, consider what tasks eat up your time and evaluate how you can outsource these to be more productive.
Some options to consider:
- Call answering or receptionist services
- External IT support
- Marketing and lead follow-up
- Legal research
Get more work done: implement technology
There are certain tasks you have no choice but to handle manually, but there’s no doubt technology can be a significant resource in cutting down on the amount of time spent on the large majority of tasks. Administrative tasks, case management, accounting, and billing can all be made easier with the use of technology, especially when you choose the right tools.
For example, if you’re spending hours and hours on billing and accounting, that’s not the most effective use of your time when there are programs designed specifically to increase your productivity. Technology can provide you with the ability to use automations, meant to save you from the tedious, time-consuming tasks that often leave you wondering when you can get back to actually practicing law. From batch billing to document creation, automation can give you back hours each month.
Productivity also extends to when and where you can work. If you’re restricted to only accessing case files while you’re in the office, that’s going to impact your productivity. Cloud-based programs can give you the flexibility you need to keep your cases moving forward from anywhere.
The right practice management program can help with nearly all of these pieces. The start of the year is the perfect time to migrate to a new program if your current one is lacking the features you need to be more productive or if you’re still using a legacy program that requires you to be at the office to work. By making the switch in January, you’ll be ready to make the most out of the program all year long, which means your improved productivity is going to translate to higher revenue month over month.
Bring in more leads: improve marketing and business development
Getting new clients in the door takes time, especially when you’re solely focused on traditional methods like networking events. Don’t neglect digital marketing, which can work for you even when the office is closed. Create a strong online presence and a sales-focused website that’s meant to build trust and encourage someone to contact you, even if you’ve never met before.
Don’t completely ignore in-person or the benefits of personal outreach for business development, but to be more productive use all avenues to reach potential clients available – especially ones that don’t take up your time beyond the initial setup.
Maximizing law firm productivity
Working hard is always a factor in building a strong law firm, but it’s also important to work smart. You can only take on so many responsibilities before others start to suffer as a result, so play to your strengths and commit to a more efficient law firm in 2020. With a focus on increased productivity, everyone at your firm – and your bottom line – will feel the benefits.