Guide to Enhancing Law Firm Productivity

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.

After all, a lawyer will fail in his basic duty if he is not up-to-date on relevant legal sections and will be unable to guide his client or organization on their legal rights and liabilities or represent them adequately in civil, criminal, business transactions, intellectual properties, real estate, taxation, and all other matters, as the case may be.

What can keep you ahead of the curve?

High performance across generally accepted parameters.

For legal practitioners, there are a number of metrices that are indicative of the firm’s or the department’s performance. These not only measure productivity, but also help to reduce wastage and ensure most effective and efficient use of resources. Here’s a quick overview of the metrices:

  • Billing: Total billings of a financial year, year-on-year billing comparison, billing growth per year/quarter
  • Cases per lawyer: The ratio of the number of cases per lawyer. It is an absolute measure of a lawyer’s performance and productivity
  • Case cost per lawyer: Average allocated costs of cases is another great metric to gauge a firm’s efficiency. Lower the costs, higher the productivity
  • Incidence of open cases: A firm’s open cases over a defined period are indicative of its performance and productivity. Tracking open matters over time can help identify what trigger delays, and where efficiencies need to be improved

Ways to enhance the firm’s productivity

High performance on a consistent basis is a tall task. But not impossible. Some of the best ways to boost a law firm’s productivity are as follows:

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, eDiscovery, 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 have a proven track record of resulting in cost reduction. 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 bring significant cost arbitrage, in addition to making processes smart and responsive to demand fluctuations and growth requirements

Outsource paralegal activities: In recent decades, legal process outsourcing has caught on in a big way with the outsourcing of legal processes such as:

  • Contract life cycle management
  • Lease deeds and extraction of important data
  • Litigation support services
  • Paralegal services like summary of deposition transcripts, summary of medical records and bills
  • Discovery support like request for Interrogatories, Request for admissions and production of documents
  • Response to the Form Interrogatories
  • Response to special Interrogatories
  • Response to Bill of Particulars
  • Drafting of deposition questions and
  • Support for legal writing like drafting of complaints (Personal Injury) (Employment Law) (Lemon Law), Demand letters, Discovery documents

Most business process outsourcing organizations operate as an extension of the client team, and follow delivery schedules as per agreed SLAs. Highly skilled and semi-qualified law professionals offer legal outsourcing services at a fraction of the cost a firm would otherwise incur in its premises. Costs so saved over a period of time result in outstanding productivity for the firm in the long run.

Build a successful legal practice with these smart, easy-to-achieve productivity levers, and watch your law firm grow its client base and reputation with better, re-imagined legal services.

About The Author

Kelli Hall is a skilled legal professional at Cogneesol and a prolific writer specializing in creating informative and engaging content. With a strong background in law and a passion for effective communication, she excels in creating articles that simplify complex legal concepts. Her attention to detail and meticulous research ensure the accuracy and reliability of her work. Through her articles, she aims to share her knowledge and insights with a wide audience, contributing to the legal community and promoting a greater understanding of legal matters.

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