Successfully managing a law firm requires a great deal of experience and knowledge, but one of the most important lessons is learning how to increase productivity in order to take on more cases.
Increasing a legal practice’s productivity isn’t always simple. It sometimes includes out-of-the-box tactics to encourage your attorneys to work smarter and better. The trick is to encourage these behaviors in an entirely organic manner that drives your firm to success.
Running a successful legal practice requires a great deal of upkeep. If a single ball is dropped in your daily juggle of tasks, your entire firm can come tumbling down overnight.
One of the most integral upkeep tasks is that of keeping track of all the federal and local law changes that may impact current or prospective cases that your firm may be accepting. If you have a lawyer who accepts a case and fails to realize that an important law has been changed regarding how that case proceeds, you may find yourself having to refile the case or lose out on it entirely. Every one of your employees must stay on top of any legal changes which may affect your cases.
If your law firm is like most legal practices, you don’t spend a lot of time in your office. As a busy lawyer, there are always depositions, meetings, conventions you need to be at. When you’re not at your office, who makes sure potential leads and clients are able to get in touch? If you don’t immediately know the answer to that question, you’re in trouble.
Telephone intake services make it easy for leads to get in touch with a human that represents you no matter what time it is. Intake services provide a more personable experience than leaving a message with an answering system since the caller speaks to an actual person. If you’ve ever seen those “Call us 24 hours a day!” ads on law firm websites, intake services are the reason those ads exist. Potential leads may hang up on an automated voice mail system, but they’ll generally take the time to speak to a call representative.
If you’ve ever done a search for web-based case management software, you’ve likely realized that there are a lot of different types out there. Some are made for large practices in mind while others are more ideal for small or solo practices. Some are ideal for corporate-based defensive cases while others are more ideal for personal injury practices and plaintiff practices.
One question we often receive here at Case Pacer is regarding the nature of our plaintiff-based approach to case management. How is plaintiff-based case management software different from legal management tools that are more generalized?
As an owner of a small-to-medium legal practice, you probably don’t have a great deal of free time. Managing cases, traveling for trial, and managing a busy firm are all time-extensive tasks. Adding employee management tasks on top of that heavy workload can seem daunting. If you’re lucky, your lawyers, paralegals, and other employees work well together and require little micromanagement. If you’re not, there are likely a few ways you can encourage a better working environment.
Here are 3 tips for creating a friction-free work environment at a legal practice:
Split Tasks Evenly
Be fair and consistent when splitting up tasks between paralegals, lawyers, and other office employees. If you hold your paralegals accountable for tracking how many hours they spend on cases, for instance, ensure the rest of your employees are doing the same. When you treat your employees fairly, there is almost zero reason for any to feel or cause friction. Also, be sure to divvy up the more mundane tasks such as document creation.
Every law firm looking to grow wants one thing more than anything else—potential client leads. Leads translate to clients which translate into cases and firm-wide successes. Client leads can also turn into referrals which in turn translate into more potential clients.
If your practice is like most law firms, you get most of your client leads through referrals as well as through your website/and or telephone intake. Some of these leads will be quality leads and translate into new clients while others will be not-so-quality and fizzle out. To gain more actual clients and cases, you want quality leads.
If your personal injury (PI) practice has been in business for a while, you may already be familiar with technology tools like case management software for law firms that can make managing cases and clients far easier than doing so without the help of technology. What you may not realize is that there are some types of case management platforms that are created specifically for PI cases.
Most case management platforms are made for any type of legal claim. Software like this is ideal for firms that practice personal injury law in addition to criminal defense or family law, for example. What many PI lawyers find, however, is that these generalized types of software do not always have specific tools that are ideal for managing complex personal injury cases.
If your law firm is currently looking for mass tort cases to add to your practice areas list, you should examine which cases are increasing in popularity and have plenty of time left to file. Mass torts often have an ideal period in which claims should be filed during. If you attempt to take on new cases after this period, you may find it impossible to become involved during the litigation phase.
As a mass tort attorney, your obvious goal should be to take on new plaintiffs before they can seek aid from another law firm. Since mass torts are civil claims involving numerous plaintiffs going up against one or more major corporate defendants, the plaintiff’s location is less significant than in other types of personal injury cases. Having local clients will make correspondences and travel plans much easier, however, so this is something to keep in mind as well.
The five-year fight between the National Football League (NFL) and former players is finally coming to an end. The United States Supreme Court denied a request to review the NFL’s settlement with retired players who had accused the league of hiding the facts about the dangers of head trauma. This decision allows for some of these former players with severe debilitating brain conditions to begin receiving payments of as much as $5 million.
Judge Anita B. Brody of United States District Court approved the settlement in 2015. The Supreme Court was asked to review the settlement by a subset group of retired football players who believed that it excluded players who received a diagnosis of severe brain disease linked to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). They argued that the settlement did not account for scientific innovations that allow for CTE to be diagnosed in people while they are alive. Currently, the disease can only be confirmed by an autopsy.
One of the most common questions your law firm may receive from clients is regarding “Good Samaritan” laws in your state and how they apply to a claim they are considering filing. Good Samaritan laws offer legal protection to individuals who voluntarily help those who are in injured, in danger, or otherwise incapacitated. These laws are intended to encourage people to help others in peril without worrying about the possible legal ramifications.
When someone volunteers to help a stranger who seems like they are in distress, we say that they are acting as a good Samaritan. Sometimes, unfortunately, that stranger may not need help at all or may be acting dishonestly to get attention or “trick” someone into taking actions which may result in a lawsuit. Good Samaritan laws exist to counteract attempts like this and to protect citizens who proactively try and help others.