The most productive law firm is one in which lawyers are spending the maximum amount of time practicing law, and minimizing the amount of time performing ancillary tasks that, while important, do not result in billable time. Regardless of a lawyer’s expertise or successes in the courtroom, the main financial commitment of a lawyer depends on spending time with casework.
This is, of course, easier said than done. A lawyer may want and intend to practice as much law as possible during any given day, yet certain tasks are essential to their business. Ongoing training, client acquisition, marketing efforts, and other activities fuel your activities.
In this blog, we analyze the best methods for remaining as productive and efficient as possible without neglecting other duties crucial to your practice.
Four Routes to Law Firm Efficiency
Track All of Your Time, Not Just Billable Hours
As a lawyer, it can be tempting to only track the amount of time you spend working for clients. After all, this is where revenue comes from, and is arguably the most important part of the profession from a financial perspective.
While billable hours account for your profit, other time spent throughout the day can help illustrate where the rest of your efforts are spent. This can help lawyers gain a better understanding of your most productive periods of the workday, as well as where time could be better spent.
By understanding workflow on a granular level, lawyers can fine-tune their process to maximize revenue and learn their weaknesses.
Although it is sometimes impossible to avoid, multitasking is a less efficient way of getting results that you need. Blocking off time to perform a single task, as opposed to trying to accomplish multiple things at once, can help ensure that the most immediate and demanding jobs get done first. It also makes it easier to track your time performing certain tasks.
Alternative Legal Service Providers
Lawyers, particularly solo or private legal practices, must wear many hats throughout their career. Sales, marketing, management, secretarial work, and other fields all fall under the umbrella of the lawyer at some point or another.
With only so many hours in a day, how can a lawyer expect to fulfill all of these tasks? Hiring alternative legal service providers, or ALSPS, can often serve to rectify lost time. While these services incur expense, the amount of money saved by utilizing these services by netting higher volumes of billable hours eclipses the payment required.
A primary advantage to utilizing ALSPs is that they require no training and can scale with your business as needed. Smaller legal practices are often strapped for cash and time, and don’t have the resources required for recruiting and training employees. ALSPs offer a plug-and-play approach – their models adapt to your business.
For instance, consider virtual receptionists. Traditional avenues of hiring a receptionist require you to conduct interviews, find a candidate with proper experience, and train them into your business. This also requires paying them a salary and benefits, as well as carving out a work space for them to operate. This takes a great deal of time and money. Hiring virtual receptionist services from an ALSP, by contrast, makes this process considerably easier. Their messaging can be customized for your business, they can handle your onboarding pipeline even after regular business hours, and can even be temporarily turned off.
Contract paralegals serve a similar as-needed ancillary function. Smaller law firms often have to manage the ebb and flow of unpredictable workloads, and may not require a paralegal on staff full time. ALSP paralegal services allow for assistance as the need arises.
Solo and private legal practices often cannot manage their workload alone. Alternative legal service providers offer a range of services that can help lawyers focus on accruing billable hours first.
Sharing Information with Other Lawyers
While many lawyers operate small practices, they are never alone. Networking with lawyers can give you a sense of how they run their operations. This is made easier than ever when you’re working in the same office environment as them.
Amata Law Office Suites offers more than just office space for lawyers. We provide a community where lawyers can work side by side and access the expertise across a wide variety of specializations. More, we offer alternative legal services in-house. Virtual receptionists and contract paralegals are all a part of our services, making us the premiere legal office experience.
Are you looking to make your practice more efficient? Contact us today and learn more about our services.