Lawyers, like everyone else are facing weeks or even months of isolation, uncertainty and business disruption. Working from home presents several new challenges to keep your law firm running. From learning how to hold meetings remotely to ensuring that client’s invoices still go out, lawyers must rely upon technology to keep the revenue coming in and need to continue to serve their clients on a timely basis. Now is a great time to assess your law firm’s technology stack and determine what is really working and perhaps what areas your firm can improve upon.
Here are 5 ideas or considerations to help you run your law firm during difficult times:
There is no question that face to face meetings with your staff and clients is the best way to do business. If you cannot meet in person, the next best thing is video conferencing, which has revolutionized my own business. Let me give you two examples of how this technology has changed my business:
I use Zoom Videoconferencing. It is inexpensive, incredibly smooth and allows me to share my screen with my clients in real time. I can show clients their financial plans and test our recommendations on the fly. Clients can still visually see how recommendations are can positively impact their finances. Attorneys can use this technology to continue face to face meetings, show and review documents, and most importantly, continue to advise your clients in an intimate way. Oh, I almost forgot, video conferencing with your clients is certainly billable time!
I can service clients no matter where they are located, and this has helped me to grow my practice organically by widening my geographic footprint to include the entire US. Like many of you, I have specialized my practice to help a specific type of client. Before video conferencing, it was more difficult to acquire clients outside my geographic area. Think about all the potential clients you can serve in your specialty using videoconferencing to widen your territory.
Online Scheduling Software
Almost all lawyers agree that time is their most asset. I don’t think there is a better way to protect your valuable time then to start using an online calendar system. I use a company call Time Trade, but there are many out there. This system syncs with my outlook calendar, sends me notices when somebody schedules some time with me, and automatically posts the phone call or video conference time slot on my calendar so I don’t double-book.
Instead of clients calling in at random times when you are not available or are focusing on other projects and interrupting you and your staff, their concerns can be properly addressed at a set time by them. You set the rules on your calendar when you are available, and let your clients pick a time to catch up with you. This leads to less interruptions and better time management. Oh, and don’t be afraid to have your staff utilize this as well to schedule time with you.
Client Management System
Are you storing information in the cloud so you can access it anywhere or do you still rely upon your server locked up in your office? From Clio to PCLaw, Practice Panther or MyCase, there are certainly many good solutions available to you. Just be sure that your solution allows you to continue to serve clients remotely with ease. If you are having trouble accessing the information that you need, then this may be a sign to start looking for a better solution. Most of these firms provide a free trial period, so take advantage of this and play around a bit to see if it appears to be a good fit. Don’t forget to have you staff look as well because they are typically heavier users than you might be, and their input is essential.
If you are having trouble accessing all the programs and services that you need, perhaps you should consider upping your internet bandwidth. At my house I am currently competing with my son’s Xbox and my daughter’s Tick-Tock videos. Gigabyte after gigabyte of videos, chats, and complete non-sense are flowing through the wires leading to my house. This is the life we currently live in. If you think you are light on bandwidth, consider running a test. One great service is speedtest.net. There are many others available. Call you Internet service provider to see if you can increase your speed if needed. And for a bonus now your internet home service is deductible since you are using it for business! Check with your tax advisor on this one.
Training and Development
I don’t know about you but thinking about all the idle time that my staff has is frustrating. One way to fill up holes in their day is to increase their training and/or catch up on continuing education credits by utilizing online continuing education services. (if you state allows for non-live course). Don’t forget that your client management system should have a ton of resources, including videos, to help them become more efficient running your practice. There really is no excuse for all of us to better ourselves and keep up to date on the latest and greatest. None of us like unbillable time, but we all know it exists. So, let’s make the best of it.
These are just a few ideas to help you run your law firm practice remotely. And one last tidbit- Turn off the news and stop watching the stock market go up and down. You will feel much better and be more focused to serve your clients without interruption or delay.
If you would like to schedule a 15 minute phone call with me to talk about your practice and how we can help, please use this link.
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