During a solo and small practice conference held on September 29th, Indiana attorneys were told that the legal industry—small and solo practices in particular—might face existential challenges in the near future due to the fact that fewer U.S. citizens than ever are actively seeking legal advice and representation.
According to John Suh, LegalZoom Chief Executive Officer, these challenges are mainly related to an outreach gap that makes it difficult for legal professionals to get in touch with potential clients. This gap is very much related to technology outreach. Given how often we all utilize technology to get a hold of and reach local businesses, this shouldn’t come as a huge surprise.
Also somewhat unsurprisingly, this gap additionally makes it difficult for potential clients to find local lawyers who may be able to help them. As a direct result, practices are losing out on business and clients are giving up on the idea of getting legal assistance. Both situations are frustrating and are only likely to get more frustrating as we continue to advance technologically.
One question we often get about Case Pacer is “You mean I can migrate data from another legal software right into Case Pacer?” Our answer is always, “Yep—you bet!” We understand how difficult some case management programs make data migration, and we know how valuable your case and matter data is to keeping your law firm running smoothly. Ease of access is integral—but so is a painless introduction. Our goal is to make your introduction to Case Pacer as simple and natural as possible.
Everyone who works on Case Pacer believes in the importance of giving back to our local Indiana community as well as to those in need. We feel there’s no better way to connect these two forms of giving back than by participating in local charity events that let us have a little fun for a great cause.
This month’s been a big month for local events. After having spent some time giving back in multiple charity events earlier in September, including one for the Real Men Wear Pink breast cancer campaign, we decided it was the perfect time to land a critical strike—at a local bowling charity event.
On September 20th we headed over to Pinheads, a bowling alley in Fishers, IN, where we knocked a few pins over (well, okay, more than a few pins) for Gary Brackett’s Impact Foundation. The event was called “Bowl Me Over”. The Impact Foundation was founded in 2007 by Gary Brackett, former NFL linebacker, and aims to help disadvantaged youths and their families get the education, healthcare, and financial assistance they need to achieve their dreams.
If your law firm is like most practices, you’ll find that client referrals are a primary source of new clientele. When clients make a decision to seek legal aid, they do so with a fair amount of deliberation. This process naturally includes others—friends, relatives, and people they know and trust that may have sought legal help in the past. Client referrals, essentially, are based off trust. If a potential client doesn’t trust the advice of someone they’re speaking with, they won’t follow that advice.
Client referrals are also built off trust. In order for a client to recommend a legal practice to their friends and family members, they must have had a decent experience at that firm, but more importantly, they must have placed trust in that firm. Lawyer-client relationships require trust, and unless a client trusts your firm completely and fully, they’re unlikely to recommend your firm to anyone else.
So, what’s the secret method to obtaining the type of client trust that guarantees better client referrals? Unfortunately, there is no hidden secret, but with a bit of time and effort, a focus on obtaining client trust, and these three tips, you firm can be well on its way to gain quality client referrals over time:
One of the best ways to receive referrals in general is by providing referrals throughout your local community. Come across a case you’re not equipped to handle? Don’t hesitate to refer that client to a lawyer in your community who can. That lawyer will appreciate the kind gesture and is likely to reciprocate the favor. The client who gets referred is also likely to look extremely highly on this act and remember your practice for future potential cases or referrals.
If your law firm is still manually storing and sharing documents across computers and mobile devices, it might be time for a change. Cloud-based storage options are incredibly useful for legal practices, but are even more invaluable when utilizing legal case management software that’s built to specifically take advantage of cloud technology.
“Why would I need cloud storage when I run a smaller practice?” you might say. “What can a cloud-based management program offer me that my own network or server can’t?” you may ask. Cloud-based functionality offers more advantages than you may think. Here are 3 reasons your law firm needs cloud storage:
Cloud Functionality Embraces Mobility
These days, lawyers are more mobile than ever. Cases and conventions encourage us to travel across the country, but with the power of smartphones and tablet computers, we can manage cases from anywhere. Cloud functionality lets lawyers on the go store, access, share, and edit documents on any device—at any time.
The Case Pacer team strongly believes in giving back to both the legal and local communities of Indianapolis, Indiana and the surrounding cities. Professional communities that work together to help those less fortunate not only help us build strong professional relationships and bridge crucial connections between businesses and clients, but they also help us build lifelong friendships while giving us a chance to pay it forward.
Regardless of whether your law practice is new to legal case management software for law firms or a seasoned veteran, there’s a good chance you’re always looking for ways to improve your time spent within your software’s interface. Every efficiency improvement you make—large or small—can lead to a greater number of completed cases, after all.
You’ve likely read a lifetime’s worth of tips regarding maximizing efficiency as a lawyer or legal professional, but how many tips have you read regarding maximizing the efficiency of your case management software? What small steps can you take that will help you save time later on? We’ve got you covered. Here are 4 quick tips for making the most of your legal case management software:
Note: Not all case management platforms have the same features, of course. We’ll be using Case Pacer in most of our examples, but many other types of similar software should feature the same tools. If your current software doesn’t have the features mentioned, it may be time to consider switching.
Most types of case management software for law firms provide reporting and metrics tools. These tools give legal practices an opportunity to view case and firm data in an easy-to-view format that compiles info strategically, similar to viewing a spreadsheet but without the need to pop open Excel. Need to view a complete list of all upcoming statutes of limitations or appointments? Interested in seeing how many hours your paralegals have worked over the last week or viewing a list of firm-wide deposition schedules or plaintiff discovery reports? Reporting and metrics features do all of this and more.
Essentially, metrics and reporting tools help your practice work more efficiently. They let you see raw data at a glance and use that data to get an overall view of how efficiently cases are being completed and how you can make improvements. They’re also great for invoicing, bookkeeping, and employee tracking purposes. Any law firm looking to spend less time on paperwork and more time with their clients, in the courtroom, or simply enjoying time with their families can appreciate the necessity of an easy to use yet comprehensive reporting feature.
As legal professionals in a world that moves exceptionally quick at times, our time is invaluable. When legal clients and task lists stack up, that’s great for business, but knowing how to make time for everything can feel overwhelming. When we feel overwhelmed, it’s harder to focus on what needs to be done and when. This can lead to one, big productivity mess. That’s no good.
How do you avoid that mess? You employ smart productivity habits that also happen to be time saving habits. “Easier said than done,” you may think. Want to know how? Here are 4 great time saving tips for lawyers:
- Make Priorities
To-do lists are great, but to-do lists that are ordered by priority are even better. Figure out what needs to be done now and what can wait a bit. Take turnaround time into consideration, too. If you need to wait for a return phone call or email, don’t fret about the downtime. Don’t sit idle by the computer. Work on something else instead. When we multitask with a loose priority to-do list in the back of our heads, it becomes easier to know when to multitask and when to focus on just one project at a time.
Also, don’t neglect the pleasurable things in life like meeting friends or spending time with your family. Those are definitely priorities, too, and deserve a spot on your list. We all need to take breaks from work now and then.
As our world gets increasingly fast paced and more dependent on technology, it’s imperative that as legal professionals, we take advantage of the tremendous benefits mobile legal technology has to offer. Mobile tech gives us the opportunity to get more work done at a quicker rate, allowing us more time with our clients and families. With mobile case management software for law firms, law firm management tools, financial tools, and dozens of other types of legal applications out there, there’s simply no reason not to embrace mobile technology.
So, what’s the holdup? Why are there lawyers out there who still prefer “the old way” and continue to hassle with filing cabinets, binders upon binders of client information, rooms full of printers and copiers, and bookshelves packed with paperwork?