A law office can be stressful, with many moving parts and clients to serve. As a business owner, it is your job to ensure that everything runs smoothly to keep your firm running efficiently. If you want to improve workflow at your law office, here are some tips and strategies to help:
1. Communicate With Co-Workers and Clients
This is the most important thing you can do to improve your workflow. If you don’t communicate well, you’ll have trouble getting anything done. That’s why it’s so important to have an open line of communication between you and other employees in your company. You should also maintain open lines of communication with clients and other outside parties so that they know what’s going on, too.
2. Use Technology Wisely
Technology is a great way to improve workflow at your law firm’s office because it allows you to get things done faster than ever. You can use software programs like Microsoft Outlook or Google Docs (or whatever system works best for you) to help organize your tasks and ensure nothing slips through the cracks. You can also use web-based apps such as Dropbox or Evernote to store files online instead of on your computer so that employees can access them no matter where they’re located.
3. Use Software to Manage Tasks and Projects
Everyone is familiar with the feeling of getting a new job and feeling like it’s going to be easy—you’ll do amazing work, people will love you, and you’ll advance quickly through the ranks. Then, reality sets in. Your new position is more demanding than you thought it would be. You have difficulty following up with clients about their pending cases and sending them reminders about upcoming court dates. You have trouble keeping track of everything that your firm needs from you. You feel stressed out because you’re unsure if you’re doing a good enough job for your employer. But here’s the thing: if you’re having problems with your workflow, don’t try to come up with new ways to manage tasks and projects on your own—let the software help! Legal billing software can help make managing your workload easier by using a tool built specifically for lawyers.
4. Create a Better Filing System
A good filing system is one of the most critical aspects of your law office. It helps you keep track of current and past cases, finds paperwork when you need it, and improves the workflow in your office. A good filing system begins with a consistent and logical way to file paperwork from all areas of your law firm. First, establish a filing cabinet for each area of your law firm. For example, one for personal injury cases and another for criminal defense cases. Label each cabinet clearly. Next, buy a set of file folders for each case you have or will have during the year. If you’re starting a new case and already have one open, buy two sets: one for the new case and one for the old case. Label these file folders by month, starting with January (in this example) and continuing through December. Inside each file folder, place an overview sheet with the name of the client, date opened/closed, amount of time spent on the case, type of case (if known), etc. Keep this overview sheet in alphabetical order, so it’s easier to find information quickly without having to look through all the paperwork.
5. Plan Out Your Day and Week
When you’re a busy lawyer, there’s always a demand for your time. From the moment you wake up until the hour you go to sleep, you’re constantly being asked to do something or another on behalf of your clients, yourself, or your firm. A lot is going on, and it can be hard to organize it all in a manageable way. The best way to stay on top of your workload is to plan out your schedule as far in advance as possible. This can be especially helpful if you work in an office where things can get hectic, and deadlines are looming every which way. There’s no greater stress than the one caused by not being prepared for what’s coming. In an ideal scenario, you’ll have time before everyone else arrives to map out precisely what needs to be done that day and what resources will need to be prioritized to make that happen. Then, when you’re surrounded by colleagues who are all trying to accomplish their own goals, you can continue working at a steady pace without getting distracted by other people’s priorities—and without feeling guilty about leaving someone hanging while you complete yours. Once you’ve planned your day (or week) ahead of time, stick with it!
There are many ways to improve workflow at your law firm office, and these tips can help accomplish this easily. So what are you waiting for? Implementing these ideas will make it easier for you and your staff to stay on task.