A recent legal trends report suggests the average lawyer earns only 1.6 hours in billable work each day—meaning they are only able to put a tiny fraction of their business day towards billable tasks.
This report should be a wake-up call for law firms when it comes to the importance of efficiency.
After all, efficiency leads to profitability!
Read on and we will tell you how you can improve law firm efficiency (and how hiring a legal answering service) can help.
Where is Your Precious Time Going?
First, here’s a long list of non-billable tasks taking up your workday, inspired by the report, but we also added some of our own.
While you should be focusing on clients and billable tasks, you are probably busy:
- Processing client payments
- Preparing and sending invoices
- Taking care of day-to-day expenses
- Networking to meet new clients and build referrals
- Completing tasks related to advertising
- Managing online social and review channels
- Updating your law firm’s website
- Replying to a client’s frequently asked questions
- Organizing firm information
- Transferring information between software
- Troubleshooting technology
- Keying in client data into your CRM/CMS systems
- Answering phone, chat, web form, email or text inquiries
- Qualifying potential clients or referring them out
- Juggling retainer contract agreements
Sound familiar? You’re not alone.
All of these duties are completely unrelated to practicing law. Optimally, they should be handed off to administrative, financial and marketing teams (non-lawyer staff).
We understand not all law firms have this kind of bandwidth, but hear us out as we illuminate the power of delegating.
Make Strides in the Direction of Efficiency: Delegate Tasks
The legal trends report says that lawyers miss out on nearly 5.6 hours of billable work each day.
So, how can your firm become more organized in order to delegate non-billable tasks?
If you want to improve efficiency and increase profitability at your law firm, a good place to start is identifying and zapping efficiency-killers.
- Which tasks from the list seem to be taking most of your time?
- Which tasks can you easily delegate to non-lawyer staff?
- Which tasks will require training to hand off to someone else?
- Do you need to hire additional non-lawyer staff to take on these non-billable responsibilities?
Hiring more employees can seem daunting, as it’s expensive and it takes time, something you already don’t have enough of.
However, if you are missing out on revenues, hiring and training staff to increase efficiency could potentially boost your firm’s profits in the long run. You’ll gain your time and money back, and then some.
Consider Delegating to a Legal Answer Service
Speaking of delegating, a legal answering service can help your law firm increase efficiency in a number of ways.
An answering service for lawyers can:
- Act as your law firm’s receptionist—a legal answering service is a virtual, and seamless, extension of your firm. It responds to any potential clients who reach out via phone, chat, web form, email or text. This includes answering frequently asked questions to free up your valuable time so you can focus on billable tasks.
- Take the intake load off you and your firm—an answering service for lawyers can handle your firm’s entire intake operation, or just your overflow, after-hours, weekends or holidays—whatever works best for your firm. This way, you can focus on current clients’ needs while someone else responds to inquiries and qualifies new clients.
- Capture leads and sign retainer contracts on your behalf—a quality legal answering service can do so much more than answer calls and perform intake. With experienced specialists, the service can even send out contracts on initial contact, capturing leads for you and sending newly-signed clients your way.
- Sync with your CRM/CMS systems—the service can push potential new clients’ information directly into your database, so you don’t have to worry about data entry. The service should be able to integrate with whatever database system you already use at your firm—another time-saver!
- Optimize any marketing efforts (including mass tort)—if you decide to spend your precious time and (lots of) money on a marketing campaign, no matter the scale, you want to ensure all leads are captured so your efforts aren’t wasted. An answering service for lawyers can help you with all of your intake and contract service
All of these services help improve efficiency at your law firm, without the hassle of hiring and training additional employees.