Practice management is an important concept for lawyers. This isn’t just about keeping all your proverbial ducks in a row for your clients and for yourself (although that’s also extremely important). It’s also about protecting your practice from facing a devastating legal ethics investigation. Last week, we discussed what happens when an ethics investigation closes. This week, we’re discussing how you can use practice management to protect yourself from an ethics complaint (be it your first or second complaint). We’re going to discuss 5 practice management moves every lawyer should make. First, though, we need to answer an important question.
How Does Legal Technology Help with Practice Management?
Is it really necessary for a lawyer to embrace legal technology in their practice management plan? While it’s not a total necessity, it’s a simple way to protect yourself from bar complaints. Various tools associated with practice management solutions keep lawyers (and their practice) more organized.
We know there’s a bit of fear out there about digital practice management solutions. There’s the cost, the time it takes to implement, learning how to use it, and actually using it. Remember that you made it through law school and you passed the bar. You can certainly handle switching to something that will ultimately make practice management easier for you.
Scheduling Tools: A Necessity for Practice Management
How often do you forget about deadlines, appointments with clients or potential clients, or even court appearances? If you have a cell phone, you have a scheduling tool at your disposal. Make use of your Google or Yahoo calendar. You don’t have to put sensitive information within it, but you can put in reminders for phone calls, appearances, and deadlines. If you’d like something more secure, there are a number of practice management tools out there designed specifically for lawyers. They encrypt your data and keep you on track. Remember, though, regardless of whether you choose a digital calendar on your phone or if you use something more sophisticated, it doesn’t do you any good if you’d make use of it.
Project Management: Stay on Top of Client Matters
If you struggle to meet deadlines related to drafting documents, sending out updates, or other issues related to client matters, you need to choose a practice management solution that also gives you a way to track your projects. This is commonly known as project management or task management. You can do something similar such as utilizing Google Keep. You can also use actual project management software. And, yes, there are task management solutions that are designed specifically for the legal industry. The key is to choose the product that best meets your needs as a lawyer. If you have support staff, you’ll probably want to make sure that they can at least see, if not add to or edit, the list of projects.
Online Solutions for Client Scheduling
If you’ve ever missed (or almost missed) an appointment you set with a potential client, you need to consider an online solution for client scheduling. You can still set the meetings yourself (from anywhere) or you can have your support staff or answering service do it for you. Online booking systems are ideal practice management tools because it directs the client or your support staff directly to the open times on your calendar. You can even find a solution that allows you to take payment for the consultation.
Stay on Top of Billing
Practice management solutions can also help you stay on top of billing. IN addition to reducing the effort it takes for you to create and send out invoices, you can also review the bills within digital practice management software to ensure that it’s accurate. You can schedule your invoices to go out once a month to meet your ethical requirements of keeping clients updated and not falling behind on your billing.
Easier Communication with Clients
Practice management solutions for lawyers can help you by making communication with clients easier. You can send secure updates and files through most practice management software options. Clients get a secured login and they can check on their case at any time.
Take Practice Management Into Your Hands
Practice management is totally within your hands. You have tools available to help you make managing your law practice easier than ever before. Make sure that you use them!