Devising effective practice management strategies for your legal firm is vital, as they will keep your practice growing and on the path to success. We know that excellent practice management will help make your firm more profitable and successful. By contrast, bad practice management and bad habits could increase your costs and have a negative impact on your profits.
Fortunately, many of the challenges faced by legal practitioners can be solved, at least to some degree, by employing some practice management strategies. Indeed, many legal firms are now using software solutions to improve their practice management, including around 35% of small firms and 62% of larger practices.
Without further ado, here are some great tips for effective legal practice management to help you get the best out of your business.
1. Focus on a legal speciality
Prosperous law firms concentrate on becoming experts in a specific legal field, rather than trying to specialise in many different legal areas at once. While bigger law firms may have the capacity to provide expert services in more than one field, it is a good idea for smaller legal practices to concentrate on building expertise in one area of the law.
In this way, your company can be easily differentiated from your competitors. You can then promote and advertise it as a specialised practice in your chosen field. People may prefer to work with a firm with expertise in the area of the law they are interested in, as opposed to seeking out a more general practitioner. If you are able to dominate your chosen field, you may then want to think about diversifying and working your way towards building expertise in another area of the law as well.
2. Have access to the right legal practice management software
Having the right tools you need to successfully run your practice is essential. Legal practice management software works to streamline your legal practice processes, increase efficiency, productivity and help you work more effectively. All legal operations will run more efficiently if you choose the right software. There are many options available and you can explore the market to figure out which is the best one for your firm.
Case management software for small firms which includes modules to help with time-tracking, meeting reminders, document organisation, billing and more, can help you work more effectively and from anywhere. You can use cloud-based services, such as the one offered by SpineLegal, to store, organise and get access to case-related documents wherever you are.
3. Cultivate a strong relationship with your customers
Getting and retaining new business is the best way to help your legal practice to thrive. You can implement the best ways to communicate with clients, according to your chosen speciality, as a way to encourage people to come to you for their legal needs. You can use customer relationship management (CRM) to automate and optimise many elements of client relationships. Employing stellar CRM can make business development and manging clients more efficient. You need to figure out what you need in order to find the perfect CRM solution for your practice.
4. Tackle unnecessary costs
Dealing with lots of unnecessary costs when running your firm could ultimately reduce the amount of profit you are able to make. Keep an eye on the costs your practice incurs over a given period of time, for example, every quarter. Examine each department of your law firm step-by-step, to figure out your expenses. This will help you find areas in which costs can be reduced or even eliminated in some cases. This is where having excellent practice and case management software could help.
5. Use existing data to work out the best fee estimates
This is an alternative to basing fees on how similar customers where dealt with in the past. Use data you already have to help you to understand what matters need to be attended to, how much time this will take and the degree of involvement needed in a given case. Using insights based on existing data will enable you to optimise fee estimates. This will be beneficial to both you and your customers.
6. Outsource or delegate any tasks which are not critical or non-legal
Outsourcing non-legal and non-critical tasks will undoubtedly increase the effectiveness of your practice. If you don’t do this, it’s likely that senior solicitors in your firm, in particular, will end up with an unmanageable about of work on their hands.
Delegating non-legal tasks will free up time that you can use to take your business to the next level. It will also help you to complete operational tasks to a higher standard. This will have the effect of improving customer satisfaction, as you will be working more efficiently.
7. Manage deadlines, appointments and meeting efficiently
Managing your schedule well is crucial to the success of your practice. Failing to meet your set schedule may lead to mismanagement of cases, increasing the likelihood that errors will be made. A failure to keep up with your schedule is often due to the fact people don’t keep a diary and have not set up reminders for anything.
Legal practise management software will help you keep a diary, using a scheduling module. In this way, you will be able to create a proper system of workflows for you and your colleagues. The software will set automatic reminders and alerts so that you won’t be in any danger of missing deadlines ever again.
8. Manage your client funds effectively
Making sure that you have an effective billing and accounting system is vital to your success. This will help you comply with legal requirements and provide your customers with the complete transparency that they expect. Legal accounting software is often included in legal practice management software. This will enable you ensure that all records that are kept are accurate and reconciled, with very little effort on your part. Often, data is automatically updated when needed and can be synchronised across devices.
9. Ensure you comply with industry standards
You need to make sure you comply with the standards of the legal profession which are set by various organisations. You should implement rules within your firm to make sure there is no compromise in your practice when it comes to complying with regulations.
In finance, for instance, keep your customers’ deposits separate from the cash-flow of your business so that you don’t end up mixing operating fees up with client accounts. If this were to happen, it could prove disastrous.
Today then, we have discussed some tips on how you could set out to improve the effectiveness of your legal practice management. If you make use of the tips mentioned above, you will soon be able to overcome many of the challenges posed by running a legal firm and improve the efficiency of your legal practice. We hope that you have found this article helpful and that you now have the confidence to go ahead and implement some of these strategies in your own law firm. We hope that you will soon see a marked improvement in how well your practice runs. Visit SpineLegal now to learn more about the brilliant legal software they can offer and how it can boost efficient operations in your firm.