Your law firm has multiple business processes, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Read this guide and know how to streamline processes for better efficiency.
Is your law firm poised on the edge of explosive growth? Are you struggling to keep up with appointments and to provide excellent customer service? There are more than 1 million lawyers in the United States, with more than 75% employed in private practices.
No matter the size of your law firm, you’re probably looking for ways to streamline processes. The days of endless phone tag with clients is over, but what’s the best way to connect? Should you focus on email campaigns or social media?
We’ll address some of the best ways to streamline the process of appointment scheduling. We’ll also cover how to “go digital” and what it could mean for the future of your law firm.
Generate a Training Manual
One of the easiest ways to start streamlining procedures is to generate a training manual. You’ll also want to create a policy manual, but training material should take precedence. It’s simple to get started: ask all your employees to write down what they do every day.
Make sure to set a deadline for your employees to turn in their lists: two weeks at most. If you’re in the process of filling a position, see if it’s possible to have the outgoing employee train their successor. If that’s not possible, ask a supervisor to orient and train new employees.
Where a training manual can help you onboard new employees, a policy manual can help you run an orderly office. You should cover policies on dress code, sick time, vacation days, and customer care. If need be, have a meeting once you have the manual compiled.
If writing training and policy manuals isn’t your cup of tea, you can always find free templates online. Another option is to ask a colleague to share the material they use in their office. Your goal is streamlining procedures, so everyone has to be on the same page.
Outsource Your IT
If you’re still taking care of your own IT, it might be the perfect time to outsource. Outsourcing means that instead of doing your own IT, you hire an outside team of professionals who’s available 24/7. They take care of software updates and install security patches before problems can occur. It’s a simple way to get started with streamlining business procedures.
Law offices especially need to be aware of security risks to sensitive client data. You’ve got your clients’ lives in your hand and your approach to security needs to be comprehensive. You might think paper records are easier to keep safe, but employee theft is rampant. Disgruntled former employees admit they steal email lists, client contact information, and paper records.
Outsourcing your IT also means you don’t have to employ a full-time IT professional. Their downtime is costing you thousands of dollars every month. Offsite IT companies will help you draft a service level agreement promising swift responses — no matter when the problem occurs.
Ask your managed service provider to do a routine security audit. It might surprise you at the amount of malware you’ve got in your computer system. If you think you might be vulnerable to hacking, you’re probably right.
Schedule Appointments Online
What many law firms don’t realize is their clients are used to making health care appointments online. You don’t want to have to chase people down just to schedule an appointment. Having clients schedule online is a straightforward way to keep the ball rolling.
When clients schedule online, they should also receive a list of the documents they’ll need for your consultation. You can also combine the consultation with an initial appointment: take a few hours and get the documents going instead of waiting for a second appointment.
If you’ve got existing clients you want to reach, consider creating an email marketing campaign. Clients will receive emails once or twice per week and there will be a link leading to your website. You can also do client outreach via social media.
Overall, the legal field is shifting toward digital convenience. You can do virtual client meetings online so you can reach more rural clients. Videoconferencing is also a great way to reach clients who have a hard time getting to appointments because of their health.
Follow Up on Social Media
Social media has proven to be effective in reaching new clients. You should aim for a few hundred followers at first, then focus on reaching one thousand. You don’t have to post every day, but a few times per week is a good start.
What should you be posting? If your audience wants news about the legal profession, you could start there. You can share any information you want your clients to know, but feel free to include fun articles and jokes. You want to be memorable and approachable to all your clients.
Imagine you’re in the market for a lawyer — what kind of social media feed would you like to read? What do you need from a law firm to be satisfied as a client? Learn more about one of the top-rated law firms in the country. They’re doing things right, and right on time.
How to Start Streamline Processes for New Law Firms
If you’re just getting started as a new law firm, you have the chance to streamline processes from day one. Focus on your policy and procedure manuals and build your social media following. Go ahead and digitize all your client records and use free templates for quick document creation.
No two law offices will run exactly the same, but you can always save money by outsourcing certain positions. Accounting, IT, and even HR can all be handled by part-time, on-call professional teams. Again, if you have a colleague who seems to have it all together, ask them how they did it!
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