The third installment in my blog series on law firm efficiency will include a discussion of Staff Audit Reports. My blog series discusses reports law firms should run every month to keep their law firms running effectively and efficiently. The first two posts discussed Marketing Metrics and Reports to Keep Your Database Healthy.
Staff Audit Reports are management-level reports that a law firm runs to measure the speed, effectiveness, and quality of support staff work. While this can sound a little “Big Brother,” these reports will help the firm monitor how often staff members need training, and how to adjust the firm’s workload to keep things balanced should one docket become overloaded. Discuss with staff the need for these audit reports, and explain why the law firm is utilizing them. Keep your staff informed and happy, not unknowledgeable and scared.
Staff Audit Reports
Most case and document management software include audit reports. While different software track different things, most programs include the ability to monitor data concerning :
- The creation of provider or contact entry cards including which staff member entered the data and when
- The adjustment or updating of case dates and other important fields in your database
- Who has opened and closed cases
- The metrics associated with the intake process, including intakes opened, closed, or made into an active case
- The tasks assigned to each employee, lawyers included, date assigned, date completed, and who completed the task if not the original staff member assigned
If your case management system does not include these reports, consider having custom reports written to automatically generate this data for your firm.
How to Use Your Law Firm’s Staff Audit Reports
Staff audit reports give a law firm a clearer picture of office workflow and productivity. After running staff audit reports, use the data to determine:
- The specific duties your staff members are performing. Take notice of who performs which functions in your firm with the most regularity. For example, if you find that your receptionist is consistently entering data normally assigned to a paralegal, then you need to address that workflow problem. Discuss with your paralegal why they are reassigning work to the receptionist.
- Reasons for inconsistent data entry. One example would involve a particular staff member inputting case dates inconsistently, which is a sign of a need for retraining of that particular staff on case data entry. To keep your database clean and healthy, and used the most efficiently, data must be entered as consistently as possible, including case names, case party information, and financial data. Consistent data equals consistent reporting on that data.
- Task Completion. Review who completed tasks and when those tasks were completed. Monitoring when tasks were assigned and when they were completed gives the law firm a clear idea of how long it takes staff to complete necessary tasks; and, task monitoring reveals the workload being placed on each firm employee and how that load is being handled. If one staff member moves the cases on their docket into litigation more quickly, you can consider promoting that person and/or having her explain why so that you can promote those best practices across similarly tasked individuals in your practice.
Supporting Your Staff, Streamlining Your Firm
Staff Audit Reports give your law firm hard data that keeps the business running smoothly and efficiently. Running audits every month can keep your firm on track and reduce workload clutter and confusion, and reveals data to partners that their support staff members may be uncomfortable to reveal on their own.
If you are a busy lawyer or law firm administrator, you likely do not have time to run these reports or build them yourself. We can help you. Email me, and I can help you build a monthly reporting schedule.