Efficiency is always a delicate subject for lawyers. In larger firms, smaller cases can get lost in the shuffle and take way longer with more manpower put forward than necessary. In smaller firms, attorneys can find themselves doing what paralegals or junior attorneys should be doing, thus decreasing the value of their time. With that in mind, it is of the utmost importance to figure out how to maximize efficiency in every type of law firm. If efficiency goes up, client happiness will certainly follow. Here are some ways law firms can maximize efficiency and accomplish one of the biggest goals of every firm: making clients happy, thus making them more likely to refer you and pay you in a timely manner.
Streamline How You Take In Leads
In many firms, lawyers will take leads however they can get them. While this is great for getting as many potential cases as possible, it can lead to reduced efficiency with each case that is taken in. When several members of your firm are taking in leads and distributing them throughout the firm, this can lead to several lawyers handling several cases of different importance without any real plan as to which ones to finish first. Establishing a definite lead intake system will allow for a streamlined method of finishing your work as efficiently as possible. This is where having a good paralegal or legal assistant can come in handy: if they can properly screen phone calls and sort leads into different levels of importance, and give the preliminary facts about the case to your junior attorneys, you will have a more straightforward system than everyone in the firm working on a bunch of different things.
Set Rigid Guidelines For Cases You Accept
One problem many smaller law firms have is that they will accept any case that is thrown their way. Accepting lower-level cases not only devalues your time, it can make future referrals less valuable as well. As you probably already know, precedent is a very important aspect of American law, and that extends to the cases your law firm accepts. By having rigid guidelines for the cases you accept, you establish a base value for your and your employees’ time. You can then have your paralegals refer lower-level or cases that require more resources than you have available to some of your colleagues, which will strengthen your network and earn you more business in the long run.
Work Smarter, Not Harder
While we all know the trope of the overworked lawyer coming home at nine at night and leaving at six in the morning, no one wants to be that lawyer. If you let administrative things fall through the cracks, you see your legal degree transform into a mere piece of paper in many cases. While it is nice to romanticize owning and operating a law firm all by yourself, you are reducing your efficiency and value by doing so. Even hiring one more paralegal can completely change the way your firm operates. Whether you are a solo lawyer in a personal firm or the owner of a bigger firm, there has definitely been a time where you found yourself doing petty administrative work that an experienced lawyer simply does not have the time for. By adding more staff, you can seriously increase efficiency and your quality of life. Even some part-time help can be the difference between getting home at five and getting home at nine.