Guide to enhancing law firm productivity

High performance on a consistent basis is a tall task. But not impossible

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In an evolving legal environment with market competition at an all-time high, the technical competence of law firms and legal departments of large organizations have to be top-notch. It is imperative for legal practitioners to stay updated on regulatory changes as they happen in order to be best suited to service their clients or manage their departments.

High performance on a consistent basis is a tall task. But not impossible. Therefore to build a successful legal practice here are easy-to-achieve productivity levers, to boost a law firm’s productivity:

Streamline processes by egging out non-value-add activities: The first way to enhance productivity is by making every process lean. This entails identifying activities that are non-value add, not required, or even those necessary activities that cost too much time and resources. In your law firm, such activities could be cumbersome email management processes, haphazard document management, infrequent bookkeeping and accounting operations, and unplanned administration tasks.

All of these activities can be streamlined with a good round of planning, and then self-managed with the help of a guide or a calendar as the case may be, or assigned to staff with proper directions on timelines and deliverables.

Optimize resource allocation: Refer to your metrices – cases per lawyer, case cost per lawyer, incidence of open cases, billings per lawyer – and rejig case allocation amongst your in-house lawyers to achieve the best outcomes for cases. Allocate and assign cases to derive optimized handling and case closure. Higher the win rate, higher will be your billing, thereby increasing your productivity ratios.

Invest in technology: Digital applications and automation robots, like in every other field, can streamline routine and repetitive activities within the legal sphere. Processes such as contract lifecycle management, legal research, document review, data collection, reporting, and communication can benefit with the deployment of new age technologies including cloud-based document management system, eSignature capabilities, legal calendaring software, client portal communication software etc.

These tools bring in process and times efficiencies, and result in both short-term and long-term productivity enhancements. Additionally, with increased digital adoption, processes turn agile and scalable as per future market needs.

Outsource non-core processes: Outsourcing of non-core processes by law firms has a proven track record of reducing costs. They also help partners/lawyers spend quality time in managing their cases and in driving results for their clients.

Non-core processes for a law firm include daily bookkeeping, billing, payroll, record management, email correspondence etc. These can be easily outsourced to business process outsourcing organizations who will redefine the operating models, making them lean and efficient. Outsourcing of services brings significant cost arbitrage, in addition to making processes smart and responsive to demand fluctuations and growth requirements.