“For the times they are a-changin’”
Law firms are not exempt from the idea that a business needs to remain fresh in order to survive. Remaining fixed with old habits, archaic practices and a lack of innovation will leave you will less clients and unhappy employees.
How does one remain innovative without starting from scratch? Here are some ideas to get you started.
Innovate or Fall Behind
It’s incredibly easy these days to fall behind with new tools to improve your business, whether it’s technology or best practices. This is especially true when the competition for clients is tougher, as well as for the best employees. Nowadays people can search more thoroughly for their best legal options – the best price for services, the most experienced attorneys, or even free legal advice online. Keeping employees happy is becoming more important as well, and the millennial workforce comes with a skill set that’s quite different from the baby boomer generation.
Instead of feeling overwhelmed by change, or worse, staying completely stagnant, the best approach is a step-by-step one. Start by assessing your firm’s problems or areas that could use improvement, and then take the time to find the best solutions. For example, if your clients complain about invoice errors, research new accounting software to help correct these issues.
Involve the Whole Firm
When assessing your firm’s weak spots, it’s a good idea to ask all employees for suggestions or ideas. Even set up an innovation committee with employees from all areas to handle the changes. After all, a receptionist and a managing partner see things very differently when it comes to the everyday goings-on at the firm.
This is also a great way to show your employees that you’re open to their creativity and advice. Maybe one of your IT professionals has heard about some new technology that will make case management a lot easier, but he/she didn’t feel like they could suggest it. Opening the floor to all employees for suggestions is innovative and a potentially faster way of solving problems.
At the end of the day, saving time is something all law firms could benefit from. A great way for your innovation committee to begin their work is by finding the best ways to save everyone at your firm some time. If tedious tasks go down even by 30 minutes, that’s an extra half an hour those employees can dedicate to something else.
An easy way to save time is through template management and document automation. Not having to spend time manipulating documents or searching databases for templates is a massive time saver. And it can all be done with the right tools in Microsoft Word.
Don’t Fear Change
Rather try new ways of innovating your firm than stay in the same place as everyone around you moves forward. Change can be scary, but it can also boost efficiency for the entire firm’s workflow.