What is a Process-Oriented Law Firm? We Break it down.
A common problem presented to us by attorneys is that they have so many ideas for firm management, case management, improving the delivery of their services, increasing profits, and obtaining more qualified leads; however, the execution of those ideas falls short. An attorney running a law firm or legal department is responsible for managing multiple projects from marketing, administrative and compliance tasks, managing a team, to delivering quality legal services to their clients. This process leaves you realizing the potential of your ideas but being unable to reach your goals. When you become process-oriented, you focus on processes, systems, and procedures instead of the underlying causes or results. Spending the time to develop these will provide peace of mind while allowing you to focus on why you became an attorney in the first place.
What is a Process-Oriented Law Firm?
A process-oriented law firm or legal department is one that emphasizes or focuses on processes, systems, or procedures rather than results or underlying causes. A process-oriented law firm has predetermined policies and procedures for each task that are repeated, such as processing incoming/outgoing mail, sending email correspondence, filing court documents, calendaring, filing structures, how files are prepared for court or other appearances, how a prospective client is handled or how a client's file is closed.
Why is Establishing Processes Important?
Whether you are running a law firm or legal department; regulations, laws, and rules are constantly changing. Everything has deadlines that need to be managed while having the organization to take in new clients and reorder tasks and priorities as they continue to develop and change. When your entire team has processes for repeated tasks, it allows them to fully do their job without having to think about the next steps each time a prospective client calls or they receive documents that require processing. Your clients will feel the confidence in your team from the first time they contact your firm, and that confidence will continue to build while you handle their matter, and they continue to receive status updates and copies of important documents timely.
Tips for Establishing Processes in Your Law Firm.
1. Determine each step of your client’s journey with your firm, from the time they make the initial contact through the time their matter is concluded. Think of tasks that need to be completed along the way.
2. Once you have your milestones and tasks detailed, develop processes to cover the tasks required across all matter types, such as client intake, processing incoming/outgoing documents, and electronic and paper file storage.
3. Get feedback from your team on how the cases move through the workflow and what ideas they can add to your outline, with a primary focus on tasks that result in waiting on information from others or in the workflow coming to a halt.
4. Implement your processes and evaluate them in three months to make sure no modifications are required, and it is providing beneficial results to your team and clients.
If you have lots of ideas to improve your law firm, and have been unable to implement them, becoming a process-oriented law firm will give you back the time you need to reach your goals. Not only will your team always know the next steps to take, but accuracy will also be improved, workflows streamlined, and less time will be spent on administrative or organizational tasks. This will increase the quality of the services you provide and create momentum for your marketing when your satisfied clients bring you returning business and new leads. It also lays the groundwork for effective marketing strategies, successfully implanting new technology solutions and overall growth.