Original Post By Tim Baran
By now it’s pretty obvious how legal practice management (LPM) software helps lawyers manage their practice more efficiently and effectively. The benefits include:
- Capturing more billable time
- Timely billing and invoicing with just a couple of clicks
- Integrated tasks and calendar management
- Document storage and assembly
- Access to analytics to gain a deeper understanding of your firm’s practices
I can keep going, but you get the idea. We can agree that it’s good for the firm. But what about how it improves service to clients?
Earlier today, Susan Cartier Liebel, of Solo Practice University, shared her story – as a law firm client – of how much better her experience would be if the firm she engaged had a practice management system: Why Your Clients Will Thank You For Investing In Law Practice Management Software.
In a nutshell, Susan received a bill with an erroneous charge, unapplied credits, and a missing page. And it contained codes unique to the firm making it difficult to read. A big old mess.
She questioned it and thought the firm could quickly access the invoice in their billing software, correct it, and resend. It was not to be:
“What should have been a quick explanation morphed into a ‘I’ll have to research this and get back to you.’ Several days later I received a lengthy email explaining the mistake they had made, the incomplete invoice, and also advising me that in order to correct the invoice the erroneous charges had to be removed by the main partner. Only she could modify the bill. Ok. I never heard from them about the modification for the $325 overcharge but when our next month’s invoice arrived it included a charge for the paralegal’s time to respond to my billing questions. We were being charged $145 for one and one half hours of the paralegal’s time at a rate of $90 per hour to research the billing mistakes caused by them!”
Not a good start to the relationship. Don’t be that firm. Use a practice management system.
In Using Technology to Deliver a WOW Experience For Law Firm Clients, we discussed a few ways LPMs improve client service:
- Access case information from anywhere
- Client communication via portal
- Easy payment options
- Security and client confidentiality
What about corporate clients who are demanding more transparency and accountability from outside firms? They want analytics and reporting on how the firm is handling their matters. LPMs let you provide the information quickly and easily. Check out: Law Firm Analytics: A Guide to Running a Better Business. The host of reports that can be quickly churned out include:
- Matter Budgets – Get the necessary data to help you understand how well your firm is adhering to established budgets set forth by clients.
- Productivity per User – See which of the firm’s timekeepers are tracking the most time and how much billable vs. non-billable time attorneys, paralegals, and staff are recording.
- Productivity per Matter – Understand how much time and effort are going into each matter.
There are some good LPM options out there including cloud-based Rocket Matter, the sponsor of the Legal Productivity blog. Take a look around and sign up for a demo or free trial.
About the Author: Tim Baran comes to Rocket Matter from BaranCLE, his continuing legal education service venture founded in 2008. He also served as director of library services and CLE at the law firm of Anderson Kill & Olick for ten years, and prior to that, Cardozo Law School and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals library. Tim brings his social media excellence as Rocket Matter’s ambassador to the online community via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs, and other channels.