How to Enhance Your Law Office Systems for Greater Efficiency

As I’ve said elsewhere on this site: It is critical that all law firms have a system in place for everything it does; basically, it needs a user’s manual. This manual can build equity in your business and allow you to go on vacation. It can also ensure that the practice consistently does quality work.

But it is not enough just to create systems. To take it to the next level, you need a system for creating systems! They need to evolve, change, and improve to keep you moving forward. This means creating a process or network of self-improving systems (for yourself and/or others) and then consistently following them.

But before you can even do that, you need to get some clarity about your strengths and weaknesses (or your firm’s). From there you should hire, train, and onboard others that will enhance those strengths and eliminate those weaknesses by working within your systems (and improving them). This can transform your practice!

But how do you do this? Here are some helpful steps.

Map Out the System

Start out by documenting all current processes in a visual format (similar to a mindmap) to identify inefficiencies and opportunities for automation, standardization, and easy implementation. In effect, this is your initial pass/draft of the system based on your knowledge and experience over the years of doing these things.

Be as detailed as possible, laying out every little step in the process. Some of them may be very obvious to you (and thus you may think it not worthy of inclusion), but it may not be to a new hire. By doing this, you are also helping with onboarding and training.

Involve Your Staff

Once you have done this, have members of your staff review it, even if they aren’t directly involved in that particular process. The jobs of your staff members are interconnected in many ways, and how a particular system dictates how one person does things could impact others.

You should empower employees to suggest and implement improvements to the systems they work with. They may have a different perspective that could suggest great improvements that may not have occurred to you. This can also foster a sense of ownership and commitment to the processes.

This should also include reward and recognition programs to incentivize and reward employees for adhering to processes and for making suggestions that lead to improvements.

Utilize Technology

Don’t underestimate the power of technology in the implementation of your systems. It can be used to automate repetitive tasks within your processes and bring greater efficiencies, allowing you to do more work in less time. In addition, it also reduces the potential for human error.

Don’t Set and Forget Systems

Once your system is in place, you job isn’t finished. You should have regular process reviews (e.g. every 6 months) to ensure that they remain efficient and effective. If something in the system (or the entire system itself) isn’t working the way it should (or at all), you want to know as soon as possible, so that you can make adjustments.

You should encourage feedback from staff members who use the processes regularly. You might not notice a problem or opportunity for improvement, but they might. This allows for continual optimization. In addition, new technologies or methods may evolve that could make your system even better!

Use Systems to Evaluate Performance

With systems come standards, which can be used as a measuring stick for employee performance. Implement systems that track performance metrics aligned with your systems, then use this data to reinforce discipline and continuous improvement.

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Need Help?

Need help designing and implementing systems in your law practice? Then click on this link to schedule a call with me. We can discuss your needs and then set up an initial meeting to outline how I can help.

Author

Steve Richardson

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