Before you can grow your monthly income to the amount you want, you have to better understand how you do business right now
If it’s been a while since you updated your process (or you don’t have one), now is
When your workflow is automated and working well your law practice will run smoothly. Documents will be organized. You’ll have gain more billable hours and collect receivables without a hassle.
What is Workflow?
A workflow is a series of steps moving from the beginning to the end of a business process. A workflow can be sequential or rule-based. It’s up to you.
There should be an order to how clients enter and move through your law practice.
Solo Practice Workflow
This is the workflow that I suggest for solo and small firm lawyers who want more control over their time and money.
- Client Selection
- Law Practice Intake
- Document automation
Finding clients is job number one for most lawyers. The Clio Legal Trends report says that 48% of a lawyers time is devoted to attracting new clients. That’s a lot of time.
Be thoughtful and selective about the clients you accept into your practice just like you would when inviting someone into your home.
Look for your ideal, best client. That’s the client who fits your business goals and who inspires you to do your best work.
Law Firm Intake
Your intake process is the beginning of your ongoing relationship with your new clients.
You are the screener and intake person if you run a solo practice. Some folks feel that is the best way to do it. A lawyer friends says her practice isn’t big enough yet to get help. She says many of her potential clients are friends of her friends so she wants to be accessible and friendly.
Your time is better spent working with current clients than talking with calls who may be looking for free information or who man try to ensnare you in their story for discounts.
Papers are a lawyer’s life. I need information from our clients so there are intake forms and case notes to deal with on a regular basis.
There’s no good reason to do all the data entry by hand. Use automation software or law practice management software. You’ll add hours back into your week.
The number one reason clients complain about lawyers is lack of responsiveness. Yes, clients want to communicate with you but you can give them information and assurances without spending all your billable time doing it.
You can use an automation tool to interact with client questions and to ask for the documentation that you need (as well as send reminders).
Sadly, most lawyers don’t have a system for routinely being paid on time. Most lawyers don’t even ask to be paid; they assume that if the client signs the engagement letter that they will receive payment.
You have to ask to be paid. The client needs to purposefully agree. You need to remind them of their promise. Why? Because being involved with a legal problem and dealing with a lawyer is stressful to clients. They will forget.
It’s not the end. When the legal matter is resolved it is not the end of your client relationship. It is the beginning of a new phase called Nurture. This is the time to gather data from the clients as well as establish your ongoing relationship.
You need to have a plan and a system for staying in touch with non-active clients so they can refer to you and, potentially, hire you again.
No worries if you don’t have all these elements in place now. I can help you with it. You create your systems as part of Streamline. But hurry. Registration ends 2/7!!