Innovation is what drives any business forward, and law firms are no exception. In today’s world, technology has helped humanity to overcome many obstacles by making countless processes a lot easier. The legal field is extremely competitive, and to stay ahead of other firms, you must be innovative to improve your services and make them more efficient. Let’s take a look at some innovative ideas that will help you achieve the efficiency you seek for your service.
Automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Many tasks a lawyer has to do are time-consuming and tedious. Fortunately, these tasks can be automated with the help of technology. Automating these tasks allows the lawyer to spend this time generating new business, working on their legal cases, and other important tasks. The client intake process needs a lot of time and energy as you interview potential clients, conduct conflict checks and other procedures, and sometimes you conclude that the client is not a good fit. A client intake software will automate the whole process, saving time and effort and cutting losses if the client is a bad investment. Using AI to analyze your data for better insights into past successes and failures will help the firm to understand what’s working and what’s not, and why. Empirical data proved to be more reliable than gut feeling and hunches, leading to a defective decision-making process. There are several other tasks where you can utilize automation and AI:
- Document review
- Invoice submissions
- Time and expense entry
- Legal analytics
There are many functions in the business that you can’t do all by yourself, and even if you can, you won’t produce the same quality as a professional. Additionally, you don’t have to hire specialists for every one of your tasks, especially if it is not a regular one. By outsourcing some tasks in your law firm, you reduce the costs and receive high-quality work. The functions that can be outsourced include HR, branding, legal transcriptionist services, IT, and much more. However, make sure to outsource these functions to professionals that will align with your firm’s brand, vision, mission, and values. If automation and AI are out of your budget, you can outsource these tasks as well.
Cloud-based Legal Practice Management System
Lawyers frequently tend to be out of the office, whether to meet clients or for many other reasons. Sometimes they need documents that aren’t in the office; this is wasted time retrieving them. The ability to immediately access any information related to the case they’re working on will improve productivity and increase billable hours. There are several cloud-based legal practice management software that will allow lawyers to work anywhere and from any device. They can quickly respond to clients and share important details with them over the software, saving time and effort. Additionally, cloud-based systems have strict security measures that will keep your confidential data secure and give access to authorized personnel only. The cost for these systems can be expensive initially, but as your firm grows bigger, it will prove to be an affordable option.
Alternative Fee Arrangements (AFA)
Billable hours may confuse clients and demotivate them from dealing with your firm, especially if they have no experience working with law firms. AFAs give the clients a better idea of how much their legal case will cost them while making the prediction of payments easier. Some examples of AFA’s include:
- Fee Caps: agreeing upon the maximum amount the client is going to pay based on the billable hour. This arrangement shows the client the maximum they’re going to pay.
- Fixed-Fee Menu: set prices for selected services.
- Portfolio Fixed-Fees: a fixed price for a large number of services.
- Full Contingencies: fees are paid only if your firm wins the case.
- Holdbacks: the fee is divided into two parts, the first fee is issued to the firm before starting the case, and the second fee is issued when the firm wins the case.
- Risk Collars: if the case is won under budget, the lawyer will receive a bonus. If it were completed over budget, the client would have a discount.
Applying these ideas in your law firm will significantly enhance the efficiency and productivity of your employees. In return, you’ll gain your employees’ appreciation as you would have made their daily work easier and allowed them to focus more on what matters. Using technology and AFAs will show professionalism to your clients and help you earn their trust. Finally, by using such innovative ideas, you’ll stay ahead of your competitors and set the trend instead of following it.