Here’s a post I wrote for Filevine Case Management.
Managing a high-volume law practice has become easier and easier as technology has improved. However, our research is showing that, for most firms, there’s always an upper limit to how much work any team can accomplish without relying on the most innovative of digital tools.
There are 6 essential digital tools that you need to ensure you are operating at your best. We’ll cover each in detail. Having all these features combined in a single digital space makes things run even more smoothly.
Automatic task creation.
Simply put, your software needs to create the tasks for you, based on what type of case you’re dealing with, or what team is working on it. For example, if your firm always sends out an attorney representation letter to insurance companies the same day you sign up new clients, that sort of task should be created automatically by the software as soon as a new case is created in the system. Don’t risk even minor things getting missed, or you’ll soon be playing catch-up.
Ideally, you should be able to customize those tasks any time you need to, allowing you to tweak and gradually improve the performance of your firm.
This should go without saying, but many case management solutions out there still don’t bother to manage your documents. You need to be able to add documents to relevant portions of the case file – even if it’s only the digital file – on the fly. Using a fully separate system like dropbox isn’t going to work because it’s separate from the system where the work is done. You can’t afford to go digging when you need a document.
Along with document upload, you should be able to have the option to share documents in a safe way.
Communication kept in the case file.
One of the largest hurdles between being “small time” and being high volume is finding an efficient way to keep all the team’s communication in one place – preferably the case file itself. Ask yourself if this sounds familiar: Client sends you a text message. Third party vendor sends you an email. Team member sends you a chat message. New-guy leaves a sticky note in the case folder. Team member pops in to your office. Client calls the office to ask why you haven’t responded to the text message.
Interruptions pile up FAST. In a high volume office, you MUST bring all communication into one space, and keep it permanently linked to the relevant case files. Chat messages, text messages, emails, and so on, should all be moved into your system.
That brings us to the next item:
Secure client portal.
Client interruptions are always going to be an issue. However, having a client portal can significantly reduce the most intrusive interruptions your firm experiences. Imagine this: a client wants to know how his case is going, so he emails. He doesn’t hear back, so he sends a text message. Then he calls on the phone. Then he comes in person to see what the problem is. This escalating “crisis” mode can be curtailed by clever technology. By giving the client access to the system through a client portal, you can give them a much more convenient way to communicate with your team.
Having the option to use clever case management technology is great, but you need to know HOW to use it. Having comprehensive, in-depth reporting is key to finding the weak spots in your system and fixing them up. Not only can a good reporting system help you find internal strengths and weaknesses, but it can tell you about external threats and opportunities. For example, a truly comprehensive reporting system could start to tell you information like “what is the average settlement amount this particular adjuster has given us over the past 2 years?”
Knowledge is power, and smart reporting is key to getting the most knowledge.
A detailed daily task list.
Every law firm making the difficult journey into managing a high volume of cases will face the reality of employee burn-out. Feeling overwhelmed can destroy motivation and create serious expenses and problems for the firm. One way to cope with the mountain of work is by breaking everything down into individual tasks that can be confronted one step at a time. Your case management system should help you do this by creating a daily task list for everyone on your team – something that each person can work through step by step instead of feeling overwhelmed.
Don’t assume your team walks into the office and just magically knows what needs to happen that day. Have a system for assigning tasks.
You can do it.
You can achieve your goals. We at Filevine have seen firms get more and more productive as discipline, organization, and smart technology come together. As we’ve mentioned in the past, some firms have seen productivity increase by as much as 67% using some of these tools and methods.
Of course, we conclude with a shameless plug by mentioning that Filevine offers all these features and more. Filevine is trusted by high volume firms across the world. If you’re not using it yet, request a demo today.