By Debs Renz
Small and mid-size law firms certainly have their hands full. Between large caseloads, personalized client relationships and significantly smaller staffs, every employee on the team, regardless of their position, is expected to be a jack of all trades.
Without dedicated departments and staff members for accounting, marketing and new business acquisition, many of these tasks can fall to lawyers and paralegals. And that eats up time that could be used as billable hours.
The good news is that, when utilized to its full potential, business management software can help with many of these tasks. They are essential to keeping your business running, therefore allowing your firm to focus on what you do best. Here are five ways that law firm task automation can save you time:
Managing Online Presence
When looking for an attorney, your potential clients overwhelmingly rely on online search sites.
We count up to as many as 70 listings sites, including Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Yelp and beyond. That’s a lot to keep track of. But it’s vital that your information is consistent across all of those sites and social media platforms.
By automating your online presence, you can ensure that any information listed across these sites is up-to-date and accurate. This includes your business address, phone numbers, employee or lawyer lists, operating hours and more.
Many business management platforms, such as Thryv, allow you to easily enter your information into one place. Then, Thryv seamlessly shares that info across all online platforms. The result? By automating this legal workflow component, you save time and minimize any margin for error.
The same goes for updates. Should your business move or need to change operating hours, you can easily update your information in one secure place, and trust that all business listings will reflect the same, relevant information.
New Client Intake
Client intake can be a lengthy process in any industry – and law firms are no exception. In addition to gathering all necessary information take on a new case, lawyers have the added burden of ensuring there are no conflicts of interest with existing clients or cases.
By utilizing client intake forms, you can gather all relevant information before the client even sets up an initial call. Using your business management software, you can set up customizable forms and send them directly to the selected mailbox upon completion.
After reviewing this form, lawyers will be able to quickly determine if the case is a good fit, both for the firm’s specialties and based on previous clientele.
By automating this process with client intake software, law firms will save an extraordinary amount of time on intake phone calls.
Document Creation & Cataloguing Work
As most lawyers (and law firms) have specialties, it only stands to reason that multiple cases would utilize similar contracts or individual provisions. While many firms create each individual contract from scratch, you don’t need to.
Document automation saves your law firm’s time (and your client’s money!) by storing frequently referenced documents in a shared location on your business management software. The Thryv platform adds these documents to the client’s case file, making them easy to find, either from a common database, or by searching an individual case.
Existing contracts and provisions can be easily copied and customized to fit the individual client’s needs.
Billing & Invoicing
We rarely find that firms are billing through snail mail anymore. However, many groups still generate and send all invoices manually. This often puts them behind schedule.
Here’s another way that law firm automating can save time: Generate and save line items, such as hourly rates, filing fees, retention fees and more, within the platform. This will make invoicing more efficient and more accurate.
You can also set up automatic payment reminders and include past due balances on future invoices. This way, your clients are aware of any outstanding payments anytime they receive a new bill.
While many law firms purposefully limit their marketing efforts, relationship-building and client outreach is an essential part of turning new leads into clients. Plus, you can ensure that your existing clients feel supported, even after their case ends.
Nurture new leads by sending automated responses to inquiries or follow up reminders. Or, you can schedule automated follow ups for one year after a case has ended. Take the time to check in on your clients and remind them of your capabilities and specialties should they need any additional legal help.
Like any business, law firms often rely on reviews and referrals. Schedule an automated email to be sent to clients several months after a case has ended, asking them to write a review or reminding them of your services should a friend (or they) need them.
Automating law firm marketing functions places your focus exactly where it should be: on helping your clients.
Law firm automation may seem like a daunting and complex process, but it doesn’t have to be. Allow your business management software to simplify your processes and automate the legal workflow so that you can continue serving your clients.