Law firms need to look to see where there’s room for improvement in all systems. Changes in even the simplest system—such as the convention for naming and organizing client files—can make a big difference at the end of a day, week, or year.
Because law firms use so many specific workflow processes regularly, optimizing the systems that make up each process leads to increased productivity throughout the firm. Improving procedures and leveraging the right tools can allow you to optimize your own personal efficiency as well as the effectiveness of the team as a whole.
Consider Your Workflows
A workflow is an organized pattern of activity capable of repetition. Your law firm’s workflows are enabled by the orchestration of resources into processes that provide services to clients. Another way to look at it is the sequence of work, from the start of a job to the finish.
So the first step in systems optimization in your workflows is to look at each individually. Start by making a list. Some common workflows include:
- Client screening
- Intake procedures
- Opening a case file
- Document management
- Trial management
- Financial management
- Closing cases
Ideally, the time and effort you put into each task should produce results. A goal to shoot for is 20% effort equal to 80% results.
If your staff instead spends 25% of their time looking for information that you already had and 35% of their time recreating content they couldn’t find, that will not produce those kinds of results.
Tools To Optimize Productivity
Think shortcuts. How can we accomplish a task in the shortest number of steps? Can we use browser shortcuts? Keyboard shortcuts? A password manager can speed up the time it takes to access essential information. If team members had two monitors instead of one, they could complete tasks without switching back and forth between views.
However, all the tech in the world won’t speed up processes unless team members know how to use it effectively. Tech training is the most under-valued, short-changed component of organization-wide productivity.
Avoid Death By Meeting and Phone Call Lethargy
Meetings are necessary evils for law firms. You can increase the necessary and downplay the evil by following certain tactics.
- Have a specific purpose for calling a meeting
- Start on time
- Focus on action commitments
- Communicate about specifics
- Follow up to ensure that team members understand their roles and that tasks move forward as they should
Communications with clients and associates are also essential, but they can quickly become time-wasters if not managed effectively. To help your attorneys manage phone time productively, consider outlining the subjects of a call in advance and keeping a running list of call notes for each client or colleague communicated with on a regular basis.
Optimize Systems One Step at a Time
You can’t change every procedure overnight and expect everyone to keep up. Start with one new tech tool or app and work together to build proficiency. Or have different team members try out new tools and report their findings before choosing the best option.
Remember that workflow visualization techniques can help identify process bottlenecks so that you can develop solutions to increase productivity.
Contact Our Lawyer Coaches for System Optimization Today
Get the additional assistance you need to increase law firm efficiency by optimizing systems. Contact us by phone or online for a free consultation.