Law office management refers to the office management of a law firm, a single attorney, or a group of attorneys, with or without the inclusion of secretaries, paralegals, and other personnel. The main tasks to perform include managing the staff and workload, office and financial management, legal advertising, marketing, and more.
Lawyers are not perfectionists when it comes to managing their law firms and offices. Poor law office management not only affects the efficiency of an organization but also negatively affects the relations, environment, and the overall quality of the work. Let’s get started to seek ways to manage a law office proficiently in the true sense.
How to Manage a Law Firm:
1. Time Management-
The very first thing you should be doing to make the best use of your time is to have a task list that guides you to perform the activities throughout the day. You should have time frames set to respond to the emails without thinking of multitasking, as it is not considered a good approach, especially when you have a lot on the plate to manage.
Also, make your desk as clean as possible for you to think as clearly as possible. It is imperative to assess the time spent on the various tasks throughout the day and allocate the unproductive tasks to someone else so that you can better manage your time and use it right.
2. Client Management & Addressing Non-Paying Clients-
(a) Client Management:
- Carefully Onboard Client: Onboard only those clients who have realistic expectations from you.
- Set Client Data Management Policies: Set policies in order to make the clients adhere to your standards for security.
- Plan Meetings Scheduling: Planning in advance about the meetings helps save both time and effort.
(b) Addressing Non-Paying Clients:
- Have a retainer in place to get you paid in case the clients avoid timely payments.
- Have a late payment policy set to make the clients pay on time.
3. Organize Every Item-
It is essential to organize all the items that you need for your work. This can include anything from file cabinets to file folders, scanners, notepads, and so on. It is also recommended to set up an incoming center for mail and follow the directions carefully after taking the notes that are essential to be implemented in any system.
4. Leverage the Technology Use-
Almost every law firm in the present times incorporates the use of technology in one way or the other. This includes replacing the paper billing methods with the billing software to using software for managing the documents and case files, scheduling appointments, sharing files, and more.
For example, iOS today enables you to generate a PDF on the iPad and iPhone from a webpage, email, etc. With Apple Maps, you can inform about arriving late at a meeting by simply typing, “I’ll be late.” If we talk about the apps, GoodReader and PDF Expert are some of the best apps to annotate PDFs and manage the files.
Apart from this, Notability and GoodNotes top the list of the best apps for making digital notes.
5. Create Office Management Policies-
This is one of the best ways to manage your office, employees, and work processes. Set policies that define how you want your work to be managed, what ethics you want to be followed in your office, and the efforts and results you expect from marketing, billing, social media, and other teams.
Apart from this, set policies for dealing with the clients, with appropriate actions in place in case someone breaks any of the policies, explains a provider of law office management services.
6. Keep the Legal Research Simple-
It is imperative to conduct legal research to lay the foundation of a strong appeal preparation against the opposing party in a court of law. However, the research should not waste most of your time, which you need for dealing with the sensitive issues of the case.
You can opt for paralegal support services to do the research work for you and simply guide him/her to look for the type of evidence and examples that you need to prepare for the case.
7. Security Management-
The cloud storage options are probably the best ones when it comes to security management. However, it is imperative that you make sure that the cloud platform you chose is safe under all circumstances and that the information you share is not accessible to anyone without your consent.
Apart from this, it is recommended to check the cloud platform’s disaster recovery options, along with the measures for physical security like keycard access.
Here are some law firm obligations provided by TruShield-
Legal Obligations: Protecting private and personal data with quick client intimation of security breaches.
Ethical Obligations: Reasonable measures to deny access and disclosure of sensitive information.
Regulatory Obligations: Mostly for the clients to follow as given below:
- FISMA – Federal Information Security Modernization Act
- FFIEC – Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council
- GLBA – Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act
- SOX – Sarbanes-Oxley Act
- HIPAA – Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
- ISO-27001 – International Organization for Standardization Standard 27001
- NIST – National Institutes of Technology
- PCI-DSS – Payment Card Industry – Data Security Standard
- FINRA – Financial Industry Regulatory Authority
8. Organize Productive Team Meetings-
It is important to have regular team meetings in order to boost work productivity amongst the team members by addressing the concerns that they might have inefficiently dealing with the various work processes.
The frequency of meetings will depend on your team size, the work complexity, and how many difficulties your team faces on a regular basis. If you want your team to perform well, you need to address their concerns as soon as possible, and having regular meetings is the only solution to it.
9. Avoid Unproductive Activities-
There are a lot of unproductive activities that slow down the growth of a law firm, and the attorneys need to avoid them in the first place.
This includes not responding to the client requests on time, saying ‘yes’ to the clients before estimating the amount of time to be spent on their case, handling the most important tasks at the day’s end, not planning in advance, reacting without assessing, and more.
10. Opt for Regular Billing-
The approach of sending occasional invoices to the clients makes them very confused. It is imperative to have regular invoices generated and let the clients know in advance of the same.
One of the best ways to implement this into your system is by explaining to the clients in detail why they will be receiving regular invoices and the consequences of not paying on time.
With the help of technology, this task can be automated with ease, and for framing such policies to perfection, it is recommended to get help from the top providers of contract management services.
Getting down to the crux of the matter, it is imperative in the present challenging scenario that, as a lawyer, you incorporate the use of technology in order to streamline your work processes.
Staying ahead in the legal world requires laying down policies that not only improve the work productivity of your employees but also actively aid in overall office and client management.