7 essential law firm processes and law firm process improvement

You’ve got to admit it’s a little worrying if you run a law firm and you’re reading this wondering about the 7 essential law firm processes. After all, any firm hoping to remain competitive in this always-accelerating world ought to at a minimum have a grasp on the essentials, right? Don’t worry, though, you’re not alone. The number of firms stumbling forward unaware of how best to streamline their processes is, frankly, stunning.

In our 66-Day Law Firm Turnaround Program (which we’ll say more on later) we’ve honestly seen it all. There are firms out there that, well… let’s just say that if they were ships, we’d choose to swim. And then there are others that are cruising along just fine and need only a little trimming of their sails. Hopefully, you’re in the latter category because, where this is true, attending to the seven items below means that it won’t take much to get you speeding ahead of the floundering competition.

1. Strategy

This means targeted market research that identifies client needs and level of demand. It also means scoping out how the competition is meeting those needs as well as collecting date on legal sector trends concerning pricing and technology. Lastly, it means putting this knowledge to work and building a strategy based on information, not intuition.

2. Finances

No one doubts the need to budget and keep track of accounts payable, accounts receivable, expense management, and financial controls and yet a troubling number of firms struggle with this. Don’t be one of them and you won’t be among those that goes broke when a serious market shakeup hits… like, say, a global pandemic.

3. Matter Management

Here we’re talking about managing client matters, including time entry, work-in-progress, and billing and invoicing. Being a good steward of your client’s budget and practicing clear, timely communication is not a tangential part of the job, but a cornerstone of being a good lawyer.

4. Client Relationship Management (CRM)

A subset of the above, CRM deserves its own spot of the list because it’s that important. Lawyers need soft skills as much as family physicians; after all, you’re often dealing with subject matter at least as intimate. Successful firms recognize this and place client intake, communication, and account planning under active management.

5. Business & Brand Development

You don’t need us to tell you that the legal world is a competitive one (you wouldn’t be here if you did). The only way to rise up is to make your firm visible and this means branding. Not only does developing your brand allow you to gain new clients, it also attracts top talent. Fail on either of these fronts and you might as well turn to drafting your résumé.

6. People

Connected to the above is the need for personnel development plan. Attracting top talent is great but only if you can retain it. Career planning, training, and internal communications are essential. So too are perks such as remote work opportunities and flexible scheduling—things that the youngest generation of professionals finds increasingly valuable.

7. Technology & Execution

New technology means legal tasks are no longer executed the way you were taught a decade of two ago. Planning processes and transactions is greatly simplified by new and ever-evolving technologies and if you’re not up to speed then you’re one of the floundering firms mentioned above.

We have yet to see the firm that nails every one of these seven essentials. The fact is that doing so is no easy task and isn’t a one-time investment. Not only do you need to attend to all of the above but you also need to implement practices that ensure continued maintenance of each aspect as your firm grows. This doesn’t have to mean a major overhaul, but it likely does imply targeted tweaks to certain fundamentals.

Our 66-Day Law Firm Turnaround Program mentioned earlier is designed to identify the minor adjustments needed for major gains. If you’re ready to take the plunge and push your company to the next level, hit us up. Most firms out there are lagging in at least one of the seven essentials. Ensuring you’re not one of them is a sure way to cut from the pack and become a leader in your field.

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