Start-ups and established law firms alike need to ensure that they minimize waste if they are to grow and remain profitable. Maximizing billing efficiency in your law firm can also help your company ensure maximum profit, and ensure that clients are happy with the services being provided. Finding that balance between over-billing and under-billing keeps your company afloat, your clients happy, your cases successful and your operations efficient.
Maximize Your Billing Efficiency
This is key to your success. The first step to achieving greater efficiency is to ensure that you’re keeping track of how your time is spent. Organization is your foundation, and there are lots of ways you can do this. As well as using software like PracticePanther to log how much time you spend on each project, you should ensure that your staff have the support they need. Make it easy for them to log their work, and you’ll have a great foundation to work from.
You should also allow yourself to focus on your billable work by making non-timekeepers keep track of their time too. Seeing how your support staff contributes to nonbillable work allows you to focus more on billable projects. Your focus always needs to be on billable hours, which is why you should be looking for new ways to give nonbillable work to other members of staff.
For small companies, there are many websites that offer online professionals who can help. Larger companies should hire part-time and full-time staff who can take on this work and give attorneys and paralegals the time they need to work on billable projects.
On top of maximizing your billing efficiency, it’s essential that you look at the common areas of waste in legal firms. One first step is something simple, and it’s about stopping over-production. This can be as simple as not printing off more hard copies of files than you need. Stop using the ‘cover all based’ approach, and instead be more targeted – meaning you only print what you need, only buy what you need, and only send files to the people that need them.
You’ll also need to take an honest look at your staff, and decide if your team is living up to your expectations. In many cases, you may have members of staff whose talents aren’t being used. It is then up to you to decide if you need that member of staff, or if there are ways in which their talents can be utilized better. You could, for instance, use your in-house staff to help you with projects that you may currently be outsourcing.
Finally, remember that disorganized files can waste hours of your time every week. Over the course of a year, you could spend literally days looking for files and documents that were not filed in a more accessible way. Make sure all documents are placed in the right folders on your computer, or printed and in the right filing cabinets. You can also use PracticePanther to keep those files safe, and make it easy for different members of staff to gain access.
Stick to these simple rules and you’ll be on your way to running a more streamlined, efficient legal practice.
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