Five ways for your law firm to increase its profitability
Throughout my legal career, I’ve noticed that law firms have varying outlooks on how systems and processes can improve their workflow and generate revenue: Some are progressive and proactive at developing and implementing new initiatives whilst others stand firm in tradition.
It is clear (at least to me!) that by improving your firm’s systems, you can save significant amounts of time (and more importantly, money). The result? A far more cost effective law firm.
I believe that any law firm looking towards expansion should be aiming to implement the following five processes:
1. Invest in IT processes
Streamlining your IT processes sounds simple, but the process often requires far more than just spending money on new technology. You will no doubt encounter fee-earners that still want to dictate everything from client cares to telephone notes, and trainees who want to write everything down like they did at university. As a result it can be very difficult to convince staff to try a new system. Streamlining processes is a vital way to improve costs and save time. I have found that the best way to start is by making a few simple process updates that make a large impact on the users (so that they realise the benefit). This way you can really start to get staff on board with improving systems and making the most of the technologies available.
2. Social media
There has been lots of buzz about social media in recent years, with firms constantly encouraged to use platforms like Twitter and Facebook to build brand awareness and attract new clients. Despite often being touted as the new marketing miracle, there’s no need for you to jump on a networking site and share what you had for breakfast. In fact, that is the last thing you should do! Having said that, using social networking sites to spread the word about your company is a great way to build brand awareness and position yourselves at the forefront of consumers’ minds. Link back to your website, share interesting local news, share charitable giving that your firm is involved in, become a hub for your community – there are many ways to drum up interest on social media and investing in the right tools in this area can only improve your client relationships, in turn bringing in more repeat business.
3. Staff training
I’ve lost count of the amount of times I have trained staff who say “but I do it this way and it’s always worked”. This may be the case, but if you can find a more cost effective, efficient way of running a process, don’t keep it to yourself. Encourage an open environment of information sharing in your organisation and when those “lightbulb” moments strike, make sure everyone in the organisation knows about it. Taking the time to train your staff means that you ALL save time in the long-run.
4. Go paper free!
Aiming to go paperless (or at least paper-a-lot-less) is a huge task; a task so big that a lot of law firm’s think it’s too big to take on right now. Paper is a huge cost to law firms (not to mention the environment). Offering an electronic-only communication option to clients can bring huge potential cost savings, is environmentally friendly, and is often more convenient for your customers. It really is a “win” for all involved so what are you waiting for?
5. Email, email, email
This tip follows on from going paperless. What are large expenses for any law firm? Paper and postage! Using email to send as many of your letters as you can (especially bulky client cares or draft documentation) really can cut down on expenses. Also, you tend to get replies quicker than by post so your file turnaround can be vastly improved upon, bringing in those costs quicker.
In my experience, implementing the five tips above should help your firm in its efforts to drive costs up and expenses down. But these are only just a starting point. What is your view? Can the list be added to? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Abby Jackson is a CMS Developer at Bott & Co.