The success of any legal firm depends on various principles, including consistency, determination, client acquisition, case management, and, more importantly, billable hours. The need to maximize performance and revenue cannot be overstated. Unfortunately, most law firms use too much of their time on activities that do not bring in revenue.
According to a research analysis of more than 40,000 lawyers and their work habits, only 2.2 hours per workday goes to billable work. That means 72% of a typical 8-hour workday and even more if they extend their work hours goes to admin tasks and other activities.
In the legal industry, every second counts, and losing more than three-quarters of billable time every day is not going to create law firm success. Many law firms are missing out on the opportunity to grow and maximize profits since they spend more time on non-billable tasks.
This article outlines five important time management tips to help reduce law firm admin time and generate more revenue.
- Start from the Basics
Maximizing time efficiency in a law firm starts from the basics. Since environments, preferences, work habits, and personalities vary, coming up with a one-size-fits-all approach to productivity is almost impossible. Therefore, it all boils down to searching for the right techniques and tools that complement your law firms approach to work.
Here are some approaches that may be helpful:
- Take stock of how time is spent and mark any developing patterns, and then use that as a point of reference during change strategies.
- Get organized by making to-do lists and getting the firms calendar in order.
- Block distractions during admin time so it doesn’t take up as much time. Recommend staff only check email on a set schedule, not as it comes in. It takes more time for a task to be done with constant interruptions.
- Try to schedule busy periods, or important tasks during a time that the firm is most productive (e.g., beginning of the day).
The Pareto Principle applies in almost all areas of our lives and is especially true in the workplace. It states that only about 20% of your actions lead to 80% of the value created. Going by the Legal Trends Report stats, the 80/20 rule holds true since, as mentioned earlier, only 2.2 hours go to billable work in an eight hour-day.
But how does respecting the principle apply in time management? When prioritizing tasks, ensure you put billable work first and delegate administrative tasks if possible. Start by choosing the right person within the team for a task and give them all the necessary information to perform it properly. After that, monitor progress, provide suggestions, and request feedback from your delegate to ensure things run smoothly every time you re-assign a similar task.
Another way to reduce legal firm admin time is through outsourcing. If you don’t have a big team to delegate all your admin tasks, then outsourcing may be a cost-effective and convenient option. Outsource the non-billable tasks that eat into a large part of your work week to optimize your workload. If you already have a time log of your days, identify the tasks you can outsource.
You don’t have to accept anything that comes your way. For many lawyers, saying no when you need to can be a great way of understanding your bandwidth. You can outsource your non-legal tasks, including IT, accounting, and customer service, to freelancer’s platforms.
- Optimize your Client’s Intake Process
An efficient intake process can be among the biggest time-savers for legal practices. It ensures that any time you pick a prospective client’s calls, you already have their information. That means you should come up with a mechanism for vetting the clients while offering a free consultation. If you realize that most of your consultations do not lead to new cases, it is time you rethink and optimize your intake process.
For calls made outside business hours, you can opt to set voicemails and sift through them in the morning or, more conveniently, consider a virtual receptionist. Additionally, ensure you place a comprehensive intake form for website requests and use only one firm email address different from your personal email. Ensure you actively monitor the email address and set up auto-replies, so clients know when to expect to hear back. Live chat is also a great feature to add to your legal firm’s website.
- Use LawBillity Time & Billing Software
No business can underestimate the value of technology in improving its services and helping remain at par with competitors. The same applies in the legal industry, and law firms must take advantage of various technological tools to streamline, grow, and manage their business.
Software tools save time on manual tasks and organize the work to use the time to your benefit. The tools include legal time tracking and billing software such as LawBillity that accurately tracks billable hours and expenses for legal issues. This software solution can reduce your admin time by up to 30+ hours in a month, thus increasing your firm’s revenue.
The time tracking capability allows you to capture every billable second regardless of the location or device you are using. You can also analyze the billable vs. non-billable hours report to find ways of increasing your billable work. Therefore, the legal time tracking and billing tool will enable you to focus on tasks that increase revenue.
Reduce your Legal Firm Admin Time Today!
You are right to consider time as the most valuable resource for your legal practice. But you cannot create more from thin air or get it back once it is gone. LawBillity understands that and aims to help reduce your law firm’s admin time to maximize your revenue. Try LawBillity for 14 days for free and improve your billable hours.