Implementing change in law practices can be difficult, but highly rewarding.
How many times over the course of a year have thought to yourself “things around this law office need to change”. The life of a lawyer is a busy one, and taking the time to implement change doesn’t always feel like an option. However, when you take into consideration the numerous benefits change can have, it’s something lawyers should make more time for.
The truth is, law firm leaders know that they can benefit from change, however, they aren’t as confident in their ability to implement it. According to a 2016 study, 93% of law firm leaders know there is a strong focus on improved law practice efficiency, however, only 44% have actually taken any significant action.
Related article: Is your law practice technologically efficient? New competency standards are beginning to roll out worldwide. See how your law firm stands up to the changes in this article.
The holiday season is the perhaps the perfect time to make some changes and improve the functionality and processes in your work environment. People may continue doing things the same way because “that’s the way it’s always been done”. If that is the case for your law firm, you may find that you are slowly falling behind the times. In the process, you’re losing out on some of the benefits of change that can improve your law firm. Keep in mind that even small changes can result in significant benefits.
Change allows your firm the opportunity to follow new and improved management techniques. Managers need to foster change by considering new and better methods of completing tasks. If your firm is entrenched in outdated ways of doing things a good manager will see this and focus on how to make necessary changes.
Better Client Relationships
Law firms that are able to break away from old patterns can reap the benefits of change. One of the most important ways that change benefits a law firm is with improved client relationships. Clients expect a certain level of proficiency and competency that comes from utilizing current technology.
Law firms that use the latest technology and software are better able to service their customers and provide a higher level of satisfaction. Old ways of doing things can be cumbersome and don’t reflect the true capabilities of the law firm. Clients can see when firms are staying current with the times and usually prefer companies that are ahead of the curve rather than behind it.
Time Management Skills
Lawyers and others can benefit from time management training. There are a number of improvements that can be made to add more efficiency through your law practice to the normal workday. Law firms may want to introduce employees to new methods of time management or provide time management training. These skills allow lawyers to more effectively plan their days so they are more productive.
Learning or reviewing basic time management skills makes lawyers more successful. It can also help them find better balance between their work and personal lives. They may not need to spend as much time in the office if they can learn to spend their time more wisely. The New Year is the perfect time to provide new calendars and planners so that employees can utilize them to improve their work days.
There are many time management tools that can be of help to lawyers and other employees. For instance, simply providing everyone with high quality planners might assist with planning and prioritizing tasks. Letting employees know that it is okay to put their phone on “do not disturb” while they complete important tasks can help them better manage their time. One of the benefits of change is that employees will become better able to handle their workloads in a more efficient manner.
Task Review and Revision
Some tasks are a necessary part of a lawyer’s job. Others may not be needed. In fact, there may be some things that your employees do that are completely unnecessary. Simply reviewing the way things are being done can sometimes show ways for improvement. Taking a step or two out of a process can actually save a lot of time. That is especially true when the task is being done several or more times a day by everyone in the firm.
Look at the tasks that are currently being done to evaluate where changes can be made. If a step is outdated or isn’t needed, it can be removed from the process. This alone can provide law firms with benefits of change. You don’t have to hire an outside consultant to find out where there are inefficiencies. Managers and employees themselves often have the answers you’re looking for and can be tapped to find out where changes can be made.
Focus on Goals
The objective of any law firm is profitability. The New Year often corresponds to the start of a new fiscal year as well. The management team needs to develop company goals that they share with employees. Something as simple as a mission statement can give employees a sense of direction. It can help move everyone forward in the direction that company wants to go.
Companies not only need to focus on their goals, but they must communicate them. The better they are able to do that the more they will reap the benefits of change. When you develop a culture within the organization it is something that can align everyone. All employees are on board with the goals of the company. This can make a powerful improvement to the bottom line.
Now is the best time to implement change in your firm. To be successful, law firms can reap the benefits of change by introducing change when needed. The reluctance to make even the smallest of changes can cause employees to oppose change. Most people don’t like change and are comfortable doing things the same way they have always been done. Unfortunately, this isn’t always beneficial to law firms.
Managers and others need to stay open to change in the workplace. Lawyers have to understand that change is necessary, even if they don’t always welcome it. Many people are reluctant to make changes because they don’t see them as beneficial. However, once changes are implemented they may find that the new way of doing things is actually better and more efficient.
Changes can be difficult to introduce, so managers need to communicate the reasons for the changes and demonstrate how the law firm will reap the benefits of change. The start of a new year is the best time to start fresh with the implementation of new ideas and ways of doing things. Once people understand the reasons for making changes they are usually much more open to them. Stay true to the needs of the company and move forward when changes are necessary.
Related article: Training your law practice to become more efficient is difficult when met with resistance. It’s always important that you see the changes through. Read “Why Training Your Law Practice Is A Lot Like Brussel Sprouts”
There are so many ways the modern lawyer can be improved, and it has to start from the top.. Read more tips and techniques to improve the efficiency of your law practice in the Infoware blog and read about how our suite of legal software is changing the way lawyers create their legal documents.