No matter what size the firm, lawyers face an increasing demand on their time from billable hours, client satisfaction, and maintaining compliance — combined with everyday administrative tasks, it can seem like there’s never enough time in the day. Using strategic productivity multipliers can be the key to getting the most out of your resources, getting back time to devote to billable hours, and maximizing your law firm’s profits.
Efficiency Problems in Law Firms
If you feel like leveraging technology and implementing changes to improve efficiency has been difficult in your firm you’re not alone. Operational efficiency is one of the top challenges faced by law firms today. Improving efficiency and profit is critical in a business where thriving depends on the number of hours billed, but the path to implementation isn’t always clear.
To stay relevant and competitive, firms must continuously address the many areas where inefficiencies tend to arise:
- Staffing and assignment issues where firm partners are handling administrative functions rather than fee-producing tasks, bring down profits.
- Manual billing can lead to cash flow problems, invoice errors and uncollected invoices.
- Being tied to the office in order to work, managing a paper workflow and using outdated technology make it difficult to get the most out of your firm.
It’s common for many law firms to focus on isolated issues when it comes to fixing these efficiencies. Successful law firms know the better approach, though: Take a step back to see the big picture and assess why issues are impacting one another. Then, formulate a strategy where all processes work together to manage your office. Seeing how all of the pieces fit together can make it easier to determine how combining multiple fixes can exponentially improve the firm as a whole.
The type of workflow improvements that positively affect multiple processes in your firm are known as productivity multipliers. For example, instead of addressing the amount of time it takes to do billing by introducing a new billing system and a new accounting system, you can implement a firm-wide practice management tool that is fully-integrated with accounting and billing. This combination saves time on double data entry, increases accuracy and makes it easier to tie matters to invoices.
Think of the amount of time you spend working versus the amount of time you bill. There’s probably a lot of little day to day tasks that are eating up your time. For every item on your to-do list there most likely exists a way to make it more efficient, whether that’s automation, delegation, or approaching your task from a new angle.
There are a number of tactics you can apply to improve your firm’s productivity, but before moving to the solution stage take some time to think about a running list of all the firm’s inefficiencies or problems you have recently encountered. Then you can see where any single improvement may resolve multiple issues. Committing to this approach will get you the most out of your resources.
To see how you can maximize your firm’s productivity and profitability with specific efficiency multipliers, take a look at our guide, Top 9 Productivity Multipliers for Law Firms