Workflows keep your office organized, clients happy and everyone at your firm on the same page about what’s expected. Over time, workflows often wind up with small adjustments that people make to make them their own – which can wind up creating a ripple effect of issues. A little “spring cleaning” of your workflows and processes can reduce issues and make your firm even better – which is always the goal!
List existing problems and client complaints
It’s likely that you already know areas where your firm could use some improvement. Perhaps clients provide feedback that says they didn’t know if and when the lawyer was even working on their case. Maybe invoices are always being sent out late.
Whatever the existing issues are that you know of, lay them out. Then look at the workflow related to them to find out how adjustments can be made to improve them.
Let’s say the issue is client communication. The problem could be tied to setting client expectations from the start. Take a look at your current intake workflow and if it doesn’t include explaining to the client how often they can expect to hear about their case (only when there’s an update, every week, etc.). If that’s already included, you may want to include a bi-weekly status update regardless of if there has been case progress as you may be waiting on opposing counsel, the courts or expert witnesses.
Don’t hesitate to call in your staff to help, both for suggestions on which workflows need fixing and how to correct them. They’ll have good insight into what’s working and what isn’t, and may be familiar with bottlenecks you didn’t know about. Rather than just working around them, together you’ll be able to come up with solutions.
Audit your workflows for time leaks
Workflows require regular maintenance. Technology changes and personnel or talent switches could mean you’re missing an opportunity to save you or your team time. Even if you only save twenty minutes a day, that adds up quickly.
Review each of your workflows to look for items that could be updated to take less time. Keep an eye out for administrative tasks that can be automated, such as sending out invoices all at once rather than one at a time.
Alternatively, you can also check-in with your practice management software provider to see what automations are available to you. You can then see which ones you’re not utilizing and what you can incorporate into your workflows. Even if it means some significant changes, you’ll benefit from the additional time.
Check for improvement opportunities and value-adds
Just because your workflows aren’t causing any problems doesn’t mean they can’t be improved. There may be some extras you can start including, especially if you’re saving time using the above automations.
Just like we recommend checking out your practice management tool for automation, you should evaluate all the tools and technologies you use to see if you’re getting the most you can out of them. You may even find that there are some you no longer need. If you’re on the fence about any, either commit to using them or discontinuing within a certain time frame.
Keep it organized
This is an excellent time to make sure your workflows are updated and readily available to everyone. While not all levels of staffing will need access to every workflow, it’s important to be able to access what you need. To continue with your workflow maintenance, schedule a check-in to see how the process changes have impacted productivity.
Workflows in any capacity are a time commitment, but keeping them updated and optimized will keep your productivity on the rise.