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Auditing Your Law Firm’s Technology

Technology can be a double-edged sword if you aren’t careful.  You have to temper Shiny Object Syndrome with functionality.  While it can be easy for law firms to get caught up in the “pretty” aspects of new technology – hardware and software, the actual purchases of technology should be done with an eye toward rejuvenating your firm and rethinking productivity and work flow.   I recommend that law firms do an annual technology audit to ascertain whether 1) technological needs are... [MORE]

September 2013: Law Firm Marketing and Technology Recap

During the month of September, we had the opportunity to post a few blogs we hope you enjoyed. Using our own editorial calendar, we began systematically tackling law firm technology and legal marketing topics that our friends and clients have brought to our attention. Here is a look back at our month in blogs: Law Firm Video Marketing: Google is the second most used search engine online, so if your firm doesn’t have video content up, you are missing out on a lot of potential... [MORE]

Quick Technology Upgrades for Small Law Firms

Small law firms can often be caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to technology.  Technology issues common to small firms can include both software and hardware. For example, the firm may not be large enough to warrant a brand new, expensive document management or case management software solution, but the old filing system on a shared drive just isn’t cutting it anymore.  Or, while the firm is challenged keeping track of busy lawyers, it may not want to invest in a... [MORE]

Simple Law Firm Procedures to Increase Workflow: Naming Conventions

Lawyers and staff are often frustrated by workflow bottlenecks inside their law firms, and they often reach for an expensive solution such as an entirely new calendaring system, document management system, or equipment upgrade.  Nine times out of ten, implementing a simple office-wide procedure can eliminate bottlenecks and help workflow recuperate.  Today, we’ll discuss the value of implementing naming conventions.  Implement Naming Conventions The inability of an attorney or... [MORE]

Three Technology Practices To Use In 2014

No doubt you have already read dozens of blog posts discussing new habits to adopt in the New Year.  This post will focus on four activities that will bolster the productivity of your attorneys and staff and create a better technological experience for your firm in 2014. Clean Up Your Database Your law firm’s database is only as helpful as the information it contains.  In the first quarter of 2014, undertake the following tasks to ensure your law firm information is being... [MORE]

Choosing a Database for your Law Firm

The largest technological investment many law firms will make is in a database.  Not only are databases expensive, but they also require untold man-hours to set up, implement, and maintain.  A law firm’s existing corporate culture will change surrounding the initial implementation of a database or the transition to a new database. Take time to consider the following before making this important purchase. Cloud or Server Based How many days in a week, month, or year do your... [MORE]

Establishing Proper Database Protocols in Your Law Firm

Databases are only as good as the information inside of them, and databases are only as useful as the reports you can run on the information they contain.  Establishing proper usage database protocols can be an arduous task, but must be done to effectively utilize your law firm’s greatest technological investment.  Run Every Report Available Running every report available in your database gives you a view of which information is not being correctly entered into your database. ... [MORE]

Law Firm Document Management Software

Law firms invest time and money in case management software, often considering document management after the fact.  Case management keeps a busy law firm on track by organizing data and moving cases along.  Document management is one very significant component of case management. Creating, saving, and accessing the appropriate case-related items (such as pleadings, medical records, and contacts) will make or break your ability to get the best result for your client in the most... [MORE]

Calendaring Systems for Law Firms

A couple of months ago, I wrote a post describing how best to take advantage of Outlook and similar calendaring systems in order to create a more efficient workflow for attorneys and law firms.  This blog post will discuss various calendaring options for law firms wanting to create a firm calendar. Most law firms use Microsoft Outlook, and to a lesser extent Apple’s iCal, to manage their calendars. Outlook and iCal are set up with an enterprise system that connects all accounts... [MORE]

Your Monthly Law Firm Efficiency Metrics Guide: Post 1

Law firms are busy places with many moving parts, and it can be hard to get a comprehensive view of everything taking place in the office.  This blog post will be first in a series of three discussing three different monthly reports firms should use to get a good overview of company activity.  The three posts will cover three sets of reports – Marketing Metrics, Database Activity, and Staff Auditing. Marketing Metrics Create a report that tracks your firm’s marketing goals.  This... [MORE]

Your Monthly Law Firm Efficiency Metrics Guide: Post 2

This is the second post in a series discussing reports and metrics that law firms should look at every month in order to increase and/or maintain the efficiency of their offices.  In last week’s post, I discussed Marketing Metrics that firms should review every month.  This week I’ll be discussing Database Activity.  Database Activity Databases are only as useful as the information in them.  Every month, law firms should run the following audit reports in order to confirm the... [MORE]

Your Monthly Law Firm Efficiency Metrics: Post 3

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... [MORE]

Capture Your Time, Increase Productivity

The first step to increasing personal productivity is to understand how you spend your time.  Tracking and reviewing your time on a regular basis will provide insight as to what you spend too much time on, where you should be focusing more effort, and how you can adjust your schedule to be more productive.  Time Tracking Software Whether you bill clients by the hour or through another fee arrangement, track your time at work - all of your time, not just casework.  There are... [MORE]

The Gamification of Law?

Earlier this month, Dennis Kennedy wrote an article for the American Bar Association, “What can gamification do for lawyers?,”  discussing making a game out of the daily routines within a law firm, from timekeeping to marketing.  While I was initially intrigued, the article disappointed me. I felt like the article missed the point. I do not think that attorneys or staff want to get little badges or prizes for doing their jobs.  I do not think that makes work more fun, per se.  Do I... [MORE]

Law Firm Software Assessments and Best Practices

No singular piece of software is the silver bullet that solves all of your law firm technology problems.  Assessing and managing employee wants, needs, and expectations can make all the difference in whether or not new technology is well-received by your firm.  Often the success of a product in an office is largely dependent upon the attitude of its employees.  Know what you need. When looking for software for your law firm, create an internal wish list based on a survey of... [MORE]

Needles Case Management

Last week I attended a two-day, advanced Needles training in New Orleans.  Needles is a law firm case management software that has been on the market for 30 years, and is used by thousands of firms around the country.  If you’ve never heard of Needles, here are four important things Needles can (or cannot) do for your law firm. Customization Needles is one of the most customizable case management solutions available in today’s legal software marketplace. Almost every screen can be... [MORE]

March 2014: Our Four Most Popular Blog Posts

The first quarter of 2014 has kept us all on our toes. We hope that all of our readers have ben busy too. While I have given you advice on marketing tactics your law firm can undertake in the second quarter of this year, in this post, I wanted to share which of our blog posts were getting the most traction this past month. #1 Most Read Blog Post - Law Firm Document Management Software Haley’s post from January has topped our Analytics reports for weeks. Personally, I think it is... [MORE]

What Will a Document Management System Do for My Law Firm?

In January of this year, I wrote a blog post describing what law firm document management software is, how it differs from case management software, and examples of document management software in the legal market today.  Building upon that previous post, it is important to also discuss the advantages of having a document management system and what it can do for your law firm.  Manage Your Documents This may seem intuitive, considering it’s called “document management software,”... [MORE]

Websites & Online Tools to Keep Lawyers In The Know

Every week, I commit two to three total hours to reading, learning, and cataloguing new websites, apps, and other legal technology.  The exercise of learning new skills, retaining new information, and stretching your mental capabilities keeps your brain sharp, and can decrease your risk of mental fatigue and “aging brain.” Today, I’ll share with you some of my favorite online legal resources and tools that can keep you focused and learning. Legal Technology LTN: Law Technology... [MORE]

Continuing Legal Education and Technology

In August 2013, the American Bar Association added a new resolution to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct meant to keep lawyers out of the technological brambles.  Luddites no more!  The ABA addressed a problem arising in the legal field: when lawyers don’t understand technology, they risk inadvertently failing to adequately represent their clients.  You’ve heard the horror stories of documents being erroneously produced because an attorney didn’t understand how to lock down... [MORE]

Hiring The Right Law Firm Employees

Many may think that hiring quality law firm employees during the holiday season is impossible. Job seekers often give up looking toward the end of the year, assuming that no new postings or quality positions will become available. I used to believe the same; but, now I am finding that since the end of the year is a time business owners reflect upon the year’s progresses and failures, that many employers do decide to list new positions in November and December. The most commonly... [MORE]

How Do I Take It To The Next Level?

I am fortunate to speak to at least 20 or 30 lawyers each week, if not more, and many of them ask how they can take their practice “to the next level.” Often, this means that the voice on the other end of the telephone is a solo practitioner or a small firm partner looking to grow their practice in a financially healthy way. Other times, the caller may work at a firm with a good book of institutional business, but has never undertaken digital marketing. Many lawyers want to know if... [MORE]

Top Ten Reasons We Hate Case Management Software

Legal industry software has come a long way over the past few years. Case management software used to require a local server and make remote or mobile access virtually impossible. Despite improvements in user interface, accessibility, and customization, case management software is still considered largely a necessary evil by most law firms.  Successful client matter management depends on formalized workflows, good quality people, agreed-upon documents, secure and consistent data,... [MORE]

2016 Legal Technology & Practice Management Predictions

I was honored to be included in MyCase's infographic of expert commentary on what law firms can do to keep their firms profitable in 2016. MyCase "reached out to a panel of experts–including practicing attorneys, bar association practice management advisors, legal technology and marketing experts, and more–and asked them to predict what solo and small firm lawyers can expect in 2016." [MORE]

The Dos and Don’ts for Lawyers on Reddit

You’re an expert when it comes to social media and you know all there is to know about posting and audience building on your firm’s Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn channels. Now what? Believe it or not, the fun doesn’t stop at those major social media platforms. The next destination in your online social adventure is one you might not expect- we’re talking about Reddit. Why Reddit? Reddit is a great place to share curated content and is ideal for connecting with other users that... [MORE]

Why Email Marketing and Social Media Go Hand In Hand

Email and social media marketing are two of the most established and effective digital marketing tactics used today. With such a strong inflation in social media use these days, people often question whether email marketing is still even relevant. While it’s true that 83% of marketers agree that social media is important for businesses, email marketing is still a very active player in the marketing game. Though the two marketing strategies seem different on the surface, they... [MORE]

5 Signs It’s Time You Hire Social Media Help

While utilizing social media platforms can make a great impact on the exposure and reputation of your law firm, managing these accounts is no small feat. Handling social media is so much more than posting the occasional update on your channels. No matter the job title at any law firm - Partner, Associate Attorney, or Firm Administrator - it’s difficult for anyone to find the time needed to run a law firm’s social networks. Review the warning signs listed below to determine whether... [MORE]