NCBA Law Practice Management Blog

Cold Open: Legal Consumers Still Think You’re Closed

NCBA Law Practice Management Blog

If your revenues remain down, there’s a probably a simple reason for at least some of that dip. According to the recently-released 2020 Clio Legal Trends Report , 23% of legal consumers think law firms are closed.

Play in the Sandbox: Test Your Software Before You Use It

NCBA Law Practice Management Blog

Adding new software to a law firm is often a challenge. But, the reward is great. The issue is that most law firms stumble out of the starting blocks, and then squander any gains that they may have had.

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One Entry to Rule Them All: It’s Time to Ditch Your Old School Time and Billing System

NCBA Law Practice Management Blog

Many law firms still operate with pen - and - paper time and billing system s ; but, that’s like a recipe for losing money. Of course , there’s no time like the present to change your ways, and recapture more of the money you make.

System Update: Law Firms Must Move from Analog to Digital Processes

NCBA Law Practice Management Blog

As the pandemic grinds on, law firms continue to see fewer opportunities to meet clients and referral sources in person. With no clear end in sight, law firms should be prepared to hunker down for the long-term.

Line ‘Em Up: The Secret to Hiring Is Gaining Massive Business Efficiency First

NCBA Law Practice Management Blog

Imagine if Henry Ford had tried to create massive efficiency within the automotive industry, and just hired people, before he started building assembly lines. It would have been a disaster. At that point, one of the greatest innovations of the 20th Century becomes just another Hindenb u rg disaster.

No Direction Home: What To Do With Clients Who Don’t Want a Lawyer

NCBA Law Practice Management Blog

There are legal consumers out there who don’t want you, you know.

The Matrix: Does Your Law Have a Way to Move Cases Forward?

NCBA Law Practice Management Blog

Sure, you might say: because we eventually close every case we work on. Of course, that’s not exactly the question. What I’m really asking is: D o you have efficient processes in place for moving cases forward? The simple fact is that you probably aren’t as efficient as you need to be.

You’ve Got Mail, Everywhere: So, Just Use One Email Account

NCBA Law Practice Management Blog

One consistent bit of trouble lawyers have encountered during this pandemic is adjusting to working from home. Taking an entire work process, and moving it to an out of office location for an undetermined amount of time was never going to be easy.

Perfect Timing: New Calendaring Tools Make It Easy to Connect with Leads and Clients

NCBA Law Practice Management Blog

Lawyers tend to be inefficient, and have difficulty engaging both leads and clients. These hurdles are apparent when it comes to the scheduling process.

Channel Partner: Where Do Your Leads Disappear To?

NCBA Law Practice Management Blog

In a perfect world, law firms would generate, consolidate and convert leads with crushing effectiveness. In the real world, law firm leads often disappear.

Solitary Confinement: Don’t Forget to Manage Your Mental Health During the Pandemic

NCBA Law Practice Management Blog

The ongoing pandemic has been rough on everyone, in multiple aspects of life, from the personal to the professional. Lawyers are particularly hard-hit by isolation in even the best of times, and suffer higher incidences of depression tha n the general population.

Google Your Business: How to Use and Improve Your Google Business Profile

NCBA Law Practice Management Blog

If you don’t use, or haven’t optimized for , web directories, you’re missing out on a fantastic way to build your online brand. Online directories are great for building linkbacks to your website, a s well as for creating domain authority.

Mac Daddy: Devices Don’t Matter Anymore

NCBA Law Practice Management Blog

With more and more attorneys working from home, more and more attorneys are using multiple devices than ever before. A common arrangement is to have a desktop at the office, and a laptop at home -- even as lawyers are working from home more and more often.

Trust Fall: If You Haven’t Already, Now Would Be a Good Time to Automate Your Trust Account Management

NCBA Law Practice Management Blog

Law firms put themselves through some interesting gymnastics in order to reconcile trust accounting, well or poorly – mostly poorly. There’s a couple of reasons for that: (1) Lawyers are pretty bad at math, finance. That’ s definitely a thing. (2)

Charging Order: Nowadays, You’ve Got to Communicate Total Cost of Representation to Potential Clients

NCBA Law Practice Management Blog

Law firms have traditionally hewn to an hourly billing model; and, in doing so, have been reticent to quote legal consumer s anything outside of an hourly rate.

Beat the Spread: 3 Tips for Managing a Distributed Workforce

NCBA Law Practice Management Blog

With work from home/remote work in full swing, employees may be pleasantly surprised by how productive they can be outside of the office. Meanwhile, law firm managers, who are used to hav ing butts in seats in leased office spaces, wonder what to do next.

Paperless in a Pinch: How to Get There from Here

NCBA Law Practice Management Blog

By now, the vast majority of law firms want to run paperless offices; the problem is often figuring out the logistics -- especially for law firms with decades of history (and files) behind them. T he most daunting question is often how to get started.

This Time With Feeling: Empathetic Leadership is Essential for Law Firms Now

NCBA Law Practice Management Blog

We are l i ving through unprecedented times, for sure. There are multi-fronted crises overtaking the American landscape, including those related to reopening of cultural institutions and business, like law firms. Of course, the issue of reopening, and the speed with which it occurs, have become deeply personal questions. Just because your law firm office can be open, you need to decide whether it should be, to what extent it will be, and what you will require of your employees in that context.

Production Number: Is There an Alternative to Legal Services?

NCBA Law Practice Management Blog

Legal consumer habits are shifting under the feet of attorneys ; and , law firms, rooted in tradition, are feeling the pressure to reduce prices and overhead, while increasing service. Part of this legal consumer revolution involves the rise of DIY clients, who want to do more, without the involvement of lawyers, because they’re cost-sensitive. Law firms responding to these pressure points are doing so in a number of ways.

Train in Vain: Managing Virtual Employees Require Workflows

NCBA Law Practice Management Blog

Lawyers have always been better at managing their employees in-person. Law firms prefer butts in seats. of course, now those butts are in seats at their own homes. There’s no more managing by walking around. There’s no more looking over shoulders. Even as offices begin to reopen, they will do so in a way that contemplates social distancing, at least in the near-term. The good news is that there is a better way to manage case progress; and, it’s suitable for pandemic and post-pandemic life.

Work Out: Does Your Law Firm Have a Remote Work Policy?

NCBA Law Practice Management Blog

Most law firms are distributed businesses, at this point. And, even as states begin to slowly reopen during the continuing coronavirus pandemic, they are likely to remain that way, at least in part, moving forward. But, even as the economy leaves the pandemic in its wake, at some future point, the way that people work is likely to be changed forever. That, in part, means that working from home will become more accepted in the law firm environment, and a larger part of every lawyer’s workday.

Survival of the Leanest: Law Firms Are Going to Be Stripping Overhead in the New Normal

NCBA Law Practice Management Blog

For years, law firms have been able to access reduced overhead expenses, across a number of categories, including office space, about which we wrote last week. But, that cost reduction can extend to technology and staffing, as well -- especially since technology upgrades often lead to workflow automation, which often reduces the size of staff, or focuses existing staff on more important, less rote tasks.

Office Space: Is It Time to Reduce Your Footprint?

NCBA Law Practice Management Blog

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has changed many of lawyers’ closely-held beliefs about how to run a law practice. Not a single aspect of law firm business management is being left unexamined. And, as law firm concerns over revenue grow, cost - cutting measure s begin to intercede. At this point, a number of law firms have furloughed staff; but, many have held onto the second largest office expense: the office itself. That may change, however, as social distancing requirements linger.

Down Market: How to Advertise During a Pandemic

NCBA Law Practice Management Blog

Lots of lawyers remain unsure about what do during mass quarantining. They’re uncertain about how to move their businesses forward, so they do. nothing. That’s the wrong play. A number of law firms are shutting down intake, reducing advertising spend and limiting marketing efforts. Now, however, is exactly the time to be ramping up your efforts in marketing online.

Walking Man: How Do You Oversee a Distributed Workforce?

NCBA Law Practice Management Blog

Lawyers tend to manage in place. They oversee staff by walking around the office, to randomly check in on people, like Lumberg from ‘Office Space’. They can also be vicious micromanagers. It’s understandable to an extent, of course; if someone in the office screws up in a major way, it’s the attorney’s license that’s on the line. I get it. But, there is a better way; and, a way that is becoming increasingly necessary for law firms.

Silent E: The New Law Firm Default Is Virtual

NCBA Law Practice Management Blog

The coronavirus pandemic has shaken the global health and economic infrastructure. The legal field is still reeling; and, law firms are adjusting to a new world. For modern law firms to succeed, it’s clear that providing virtual services is now a requirement; it’s no longer optional. But, taking the ‘e’ out of things like epayments and esignature , and normalizing those items as ‘ just ’ payments or signatures is going to take a significant mindset change for the vast majority of lawyers.

Boilerplate Special: Modern Fee Agreements Should Contain Technology Provisions

NCBA Law Practice Management Blog

When it comes to engagement agreements, law firms often practice a ‘less is more’ philosophy. Doing what is ethically required in terms of identifying rates and scope of representation covers what you need to tell your clients; but, it may not be all that you want to tell your clients. M odern law firms, as well as modern legal consumers, can also focus on important additional clauses.

Adjustment Bureau: It’s Time to Look at Your Expenses

NCBA Law Practice Management Blog

As the coronavirus pande mic continues to force business shutdowns and social distancing , some law firms will be forced to make hard choices about staffing and continued business operations. But, all law firms should now start looking at expenses, to see whether they can reduce their overhead – at least over the next quarter. An easy place to start is with subscription services. Lots of law firms maintain subscription services they don’t use, especially with respect to technology.

Sign of the Times: eSignatures Offer Law Firms Flexibility

NCBA Law Practice Management Blog

Law firms that require paper-based signatures are committed to in-person meetings ; b ut, th ose may not always be feasible. In some cases, the decision is out of the lawyers’ hands, for example: during a personal, national or global disaster. Of course, there are ot her reasons why your law firm may want to utilize esignatures. Not requiring a physical signature likely means that you can add new clients faster , because you won’t have to set up an on-person meeting to do it.

What Meeting Means Now: Video Conferencing Is An Essential Law Firm Technology

NCBA Law Practice Management Blog

As ‘social distancing’ has now become part of the American lexicon, it will never be ‘business as usual’ again for law firms. Everything you did in-perso n before, you now need to be able to do virtually, as well. Since law firms have thrived on traditional business models, built on handshakes and in-person meetings, that can be a difficult conversion; but, it’s not impossible.

Real Estate Development: How the Landscape of SEO Has Changed

NCBA Law Practice Management Blog

Law firms, especially big law firms, tend to rely on SEO to market their practices online.? The age-old question is: how do I get to Page One on Google?? The new problem is that Page One of Google is changing. Leveraging search results has always been more of an art than a science; and, the picture is shifting again.? Google's algorithms and search results pages get tweaked from time to time, and it pays to monitor trends, which develop over time.?

Product Placement: How to Use Document Automation to Develop an Additional Revenue Stream

NCBA Law Practice Management Blog

Most lawyers view document automation as a time-saving device.? And, that's true: the efficiency wrought by document automation allows law firms to take on more work, and to make more money.? But, in the modern context, it may be that law firms are still underutilizing document automation. As law firms seek to revise their payment structures in order to appeal to modern clients, some are opting to sell products, rather than (or more likely, in addition to), services.?

Researching Legal Research: There’s a Handy Dandy Tool You Might Not Know About

NCBA Law Practice Management Blog

Legal research options abound, more so than ever before. This is in line with the general proliferation of law firm technology, buoyed by the rapid advancement of cloud technology for use in business. But, with legal research, the challenge of finding the right products at the right rate structure is particularly important, because legal research is still a high - number budget line item for law firms.

Pretty Paper: Modern Lawyers Can Still Use Pen and Paper

NCBA Law Practice Management Blog

Just because you want to be a modern lawyer, that doesn’t mean that you have to give up all of your paper. For lawyers, the love of paper persists; it often hearkens back to a prior age of law practice. In practice, it’s a tactile sensation. Many lawyers just like to write on paper, to hold it. A lot of attorneys still print files to review. So, if going full electric make you uncomfortable, there is a middle ground.

Teleprompter: Choosing a Law Firm Phone System

NCBA Law Practice Management Blog

Phone systems, and managing phone systems, are essential for law firms -- even if managing lawyers can tend to overlook the importance of such things. But, in a very real sense, law firm phone systems are really money machine s. Getting a lead to the right person, transferring calls appropriately, accessing a message in a timely fashion, utilizing a system in which leads most often reach humans, even if those humans are part of a contracted virtual receptionist service.

Open for Business: Why You Should Never Close On the Internet

NCBA Law Practice Management Blog

Everytime you complete a business-facing page -- your website, a social media profile, a review platform page -- you're always asked to provide an opening and closing time for your office. Don't. I mean, think about it: Does that jibe with the way modern consumers access businesses, or the way that modern business owners work ? ? Do you work 9-5?? Of course not.? You do things after hours, and you're frustrated when consumer service options don't exist after hours, too.? So are your clients.?

Respect the Process: Clients Desire to Know How It All Works

NCBA Law Practice Management Blog

Law firms have a particularly hard time with lead intake. It costs time and money to acquire leads in the first place, to the point where it’s devastating to whiff on those leads, once you have a chance to convert them. Even when law firms effectively engage leads and are responsive in contacting them back, oftentimes they don’t say the right thing, and therefore fail in transitioning the lead to a client.