The Importance of Law Firm Efficiency
The legal industry has experienced significant changes due to the growing value of technology. Modern technology has made businesses faster and more efficient. However, many law firms have not adapted and evolved with the times.
Lawyers at all law firms know that there is usually more work than time, most of the time. That tends to be an issue in legal services, rather than marketing or office administration and any other responsibilities that a larger firm can delegate to dedicated personnel. It is a potential flaw, as administrative duties pull legal employees away from profitable work, which in turn puts its overall viability at risk.
Definition of efficiency
Efficiency within the context of business is described in the Cambridge dictionary as “a situation in which a person, company, factory, etc. uses resources such as time, materials, or labour well, without wasting any.”
Efficiency is often defined as the time it takes to complete a given task. In a law firm context, it pertains to the time and effort needed to carry a matter from intake to paid invoice. The more efficient the process, the better the firm. However, evidence suggests that a significant number of law firms are still playing catch up when it comes to streamlining this area of their operations.
In a report from the Thomson Reuters Institute, 74% of the 400 law firm respondents said spending too much time on administrative tasks was at least a ‘moderate’ challenge – a 2% increase from the previous year. This proves that if firms continue to fail making headway on this issue, it will become even more of a problem to the success of the business.
What can poor efficiency result in?
Poorer quality of work
Solicitors who have the time to focus solely on their clients tend to produce work of higher quality compared to those who have to deal with other administrative tasks on the side. Low quality work leads to dissatisfied customers which is bad for the firm’s overall reputation and results in fewer future business prospects.
Lawyer burnout is a genuine and serious issue within the legal profession. Not only is the job itself highly stressful, demanding great focus, time and attention, but for lawyers working in small firms, they often have to deal with administrative issues alone. Larger companies have the luxury of hiring more staff; however, solicitors at small firms often have to add tiring and time-consuming non-billable work into their daily workloads.
The lack of efficiency can ultimately lead to client dissatisfaction and complaints. Lawyers in an inefficient law film are more likely to struggle to meet client demands due to higher workloads and less time. If a lawyer can spend less time on non-client work, the more time they can spend on delivering billable tasks, at a much higher quality.
Ditch the Paper
Law firms have been among the slowest to embrace the paperless style of doing business, largely due to the fear of database crashes and the potential of losing everything. But, with modern, multi-location backups, this is a virtual impossibility. Paper requires time and effort to sift through, as well as significant space to store it. There are solutions which can securely store all your files and allow you to access them at any time.
Improve Time Management
Improving time management is beneficial for every business, especially law firms. Implement time tracking to see which tasks take the longest and how they can be improved.
Blue Car Technologies’ DMS integration solutions provide frictionless integration between iManage Work, OpenText eDOCS, NetDocuments, Worldox and your other line of business applications to save you time and help firms become more efficient.
Many law firms have fallen behind because, simply put, they haven’t adapted to the changes going on around them. What once worked for a traditional law firm ten years ago, no longer works now, so it is imperative that leaders look towards current trends within the industry to keep up, keep relevant and, therefore, maintain efficiency.
Does your law firm use up to date marketing techniques to promote itself effectively, or do you still rely on traditional and out-dated methods?
Technology exists to help us overcome barriers and resolve various problems and is a tool that all law firms should fully utilise. Every successful company uses high tech equipment, whether that is via advanced laptops and computers in the office, a stable internet connection, or software tools with the sole purpose to revolutionise the way that a department operates. And yet, while legal firms look for new ways to increase efficiency, less than 30% have a department or even a single designated employee, that is tasked to drive innovative technology throughout the firm.
The few that do, however, tend to see an increase in both profits and efficiency. Mundane processes that take up a lawyer’s time can be automated through various artificial intelligence software currently on the market. This will lead to an improvement in overall productivity and allow them to spend time elsewhere, such as improving work quality, chasing leads for new business, and earning new clients.
How we can help
With more than 20 years of experience providing customised software solutions and expert IT advice to professionals operating in the professional services sector, Blue Car Technologies’ products and services can be your firm’s competitive advantage.
Contact our team to learn more.