One of the most common complaints coming from trial lawyers is that they are constantly trying to “put out fires” instead of focusing on moving their cases forward in a logical, systematic fashion. Transforming your law firm from one that is reactive to one that is proactive (meaning, that it is functioning as a highly-efficient, well-oiled machine,) requires process and commitment. Much of this chaos is due, in significant part, to the litigation process itself. While a lawsuit ideally travels down a steady path from complaint to discovery to trial, there are many twists and turns that often pull it off course. Once the discovery process begins, the typical course can become complicated and convoluted. As documents begin flying back and forth between opposing counsel and the court, attorneys and their staff often spending hours upon hours tracking who owes who what, and when they owe it. While sophisticated case management systems offer the tools to process and follow up on important deadlines, the key to a complete practice transformation is actually adopting the technology implemented. When you transform your law office, you improve the quality of legal services delivered to your clients.
Whether you want to move your law office towards a paperless environment, redesign it to offer more mobility for the attorneys and staff, or, globally transform it to take it to the next level, the following three steps should be used as a guide:
STEP 1: Analyze the existing conditions. It is important to take a hard look inward to consider what’s working and what’s not. Strip apart each system individually and evaluate whether it is meeting your firm’s business objectives. Evaluate infrastructure and measure personnel performance to enable decision-making and change.
STEP 2: Implement remediations. When the analysis reveals weaknesses in firm processes, seek out and implement change. If your case management system houses your data in silos that don’t integrate well with other program applications, find a solution that has more flexibility. If your staff isn’t performing at maximum effort, use technology to develop optimized workflow procedures to support their everyday tasks.
STEP 3: Focus on change management. Re-train your colleagues and staff to embrace your transformation efforts through education, and by showing them the value of the changes you’ve implemented.