Legal Management System Blog

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How Law Firms Should Measure Profitability

Using key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of your law firm can help identify what is working well, and help guide strategic decisions for the future. However, a shocking number of law firms don’t use any performance metrics beyond measuring and tracking the hours billed at the attorney and firm levels.

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One Thing Firm Admins Must Know about Financial Management Systems

Law firm financial management systems offer a number of benefits to the firms and people who use them on a day-to-day basis. In addition to improving security and privacy, being environmentally-friendly by going paperless, and increasing efficiency, financial management systems offer benefits that are harder to quantify but just as valuable.

By providing users the ability to gain powerful insights from real-time data, your financial management system can help your firm reach both its short-term and longer-term goals by being adaptable, flexible, and accessible.

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Why You Need to Stop Generation Reports with Excel and Start Using LMS

Whether your law firm is a one-person operation or employs hundreds of partners, associate attorneys, paralegals and assistants, generating reports on spreadsheets is not only time-consuming it’s inefficient and can lead to redundancies and loss of profits. While some attorneys cling to spreadsheets claiming they’re saving the firm money, using Excel and other desktop-based tools may end up costing a lot more in the long run.

We’ve highlight four of the biggest reasons law firms should implement and use a legal management system with built in business intelligence tools to streamline your financial reporting process and help you gain a more accurate picture of your firm’s growth.

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How Your Legal Management System Can Make Business Intelligence Reporting Easy

Implementing a legal management system for your law firm can provide a wealth of benefits to partners, administrative professionals, and everyone within the firm. Unfortunately, there isn’t a conventional standard for what functionality is included in a legal management system; some systems simply offer financial management tools, others include modules for client record-keeping, billing and more.

One of the benefits some top law firm enterprise software solutions provide is the ability to generate real-time, dynamic reports. By reporting and analyzing the business intelligence metrics your firm is already capturing, you’ll be squarely in the driver’s seat to make meaningful course corrections that can help your firm reach its goals.

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Defining Your Firm's KPIs to Gain Business Intelligence

“I don’t care how our firm is doing,” said no law firm partner, ever. Law firms are in business to help clients with their legal needs, but you’re also in business to make money and be successful. But if you are not looking at the right metrics to measure your success, you may find it difficult to reach your goals.

When you have a comprehensive view of your firm and its key performance indicators (KPIs) at your fingertips, you can help steer your firm in the right direction.

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BI Fundamentals - Metrics from Financial Data to Improve Firm Efficiency

 

The responsibility of for dealing with and tracking your firm’s financial numbers every day doesn’t fall only to the financial department. As a firm administrator, you also need to see and track billable hours, accounts receivable, accounts payable and more. All of the numbers your firm is already capturing can be a gold mine of information to help your firm grow strategically

When you are capturing the right information, and understand how key financial data metrics paint a picture of your firm’s profitability, you’ll be able to make sense of – and use- your business intelligence.

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What Tools Should Your New Financial Management System Come With?

When you are looking for a new legal and financial management system for your law firm, it’s important to be deliberate and thoughtful about what that system can actually do for you, the firm’s partners, associates, and staff. Choosing a system because it has one exciting feature may leave you with buyer’s remorse if you find out later the system doesn’t meet your needs.

Start the process by creating a list of “must-have” features to help improve your firm’s efficiency and cut down on time-consuming tasks. Here are six features our clients tell us are tools they don’t want to live without:

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5 Must-Have Reporting Functions for Firm Financial Management Systems

Efficiency and productivity often go hand-in-hand to help produce growth in firms. But many tasks you do on a day-to-day basis are time-consuming and unnecessary if you have the right tools and processes in place. John Boitnott writes in his article 7 Tasks You Do Every Day That Waste Time and Cost Your Business Money that one of the biggest culprits in draining productivity and efficiency is the time spent generating, tweaking and distributing unnecessary reports.

In the legal industry, part of the problem is that you’re not only generating unnecessary reports, but that you’re manually creating reports because your legal management system doesn’t have the necessary feature functionality needed to do the work.

As your firm moves from paper-based manual processes to a paperless financial management system, it’s a good time to re-evaluate the types of reports being generated and to question whether they are actually still necessary. When reports are needed, firms can use the following five reporting functions to help cut the time spent generating reports in half, giving you back valuable time for other tasks. Here are 5 must-have reporting functions in your firm’s financial management system:

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We're All in This Together: Vendor Partnerships

When choosing a legal management system to help you manage your law firm’s operations more efficiently, you need to use all the tools available to you to ensure your comfort with the system’s features and functionality — its bells and whistles so to speak. More importantly you must understand how it will help your firm’s partners, associates and staff do their job and tasks better.

When making such a change in your firm, it is also important to make sure you are comfortable with the system’s vendor. After all, you will be working with that firm to select, customize and implement your new legal management system, and you will be relying on that organization’s ongoing service and support for many years to come. Think of selecting a legal management system as a long-term partnership instead of a single transaction. From shared goals to clear communication, we’re sharing some tips to help you make informed decisions as you evaluate systems that fill your firm’s needs and the vendors who will help you reach your goals.

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Gaining Business Intelligence from Your Firm's Financial Data

As a busy law firm administrator, you already know staying on top of hours billed, managing expenses and monitoring profitability are all important tasks for your firm. However, if that is the extent of how your firm is currently using its financial data, your firm may be missing out on key business intelligence insights that can help position it for future growth. But how does business intelligence help improve your firm’s overall efficiency and performance?

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What's Killing Your Law Firm's Efficiency?

Running an efficient law firm matters; it can mean the difference between a successful firm and one that struggles to be profitable.

There are a lot of things that can hamper a law firm’s best efforts to be efficient, not the least of which involves having the right personnel in place and delegating responsibilities so non-revenue generating activities are handled by non-billable staff members. However, even if responsibilities are appropriately delegated and things on the personnel front are running like a finely-tuned machine, you may still have efficiency-killers lurking in the way your firm leverages and uses technology.

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All-in-One Solution or Best of Breed: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

For law firms that want to be competitive, having technology solutions in place is no longer optional. However, firms do have a variety of options when it comes to choosing which type of system they implement.

Weighing those options though can involve a lot of time and more than a few phone calls. To help, we’re going to explore the pros and cons of “all-in-one” legal management products or “single software” (also known as “best-of-breed”) legal management solutions.

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Is There Room for Innovation in Legal Management Systems?

Henry Ford is often (mis)credited with saying “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Even if he never uttered those words, the reason this resonates with people today is because it gets to the heart of what innovation is. Innovation requires you to think outside the traditional products, methods and processes. You’re not simply improving what you currently have, you’re rethinking the core problem and seeing solutions from outside the proven model.

Most law firm administrators, partners and other law firm personnel understand that they need to find ways to grow through innovation, in addition to what they’re already doing. The challenge most firms face, however, is how to identify and implement innovation.

Innovation in law firms can be categorized in a number of different ways. For purposes of this article, we’ll limit the discussion new ways of delivering client services and streamlining internal processes. But if you’re interested in innovations in new areas of the law, you can check out this 2016 ABA Law Practice Today article, which  suggests some areas of the law that are predicted to see increased growth over the coming years.

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Get Your Head In the Cloud: The Future of Legal Management Solutions

The debate about the wisdom of using the cloud or online servers for business needs is finally passing. The ability for a law firm’s partners, associates, paralegals and administrative personnel to be able to access applications, reporting, data and files securely from virtually any device, anywhere in the world, at any time has changed the way many law firms operate. Cloud solutions lower IT costs, are more secure than other solutions and provide scalability for firm growth.

If your firm hasn’t embraced cloud-based solutions yet, the number of choices available to the legal industry are growing but keep in mind that not all clouds are created equal, so consider the following:

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How to Future-Proof Your Legal Management Systems

No matter how well thought out and planned the conversion/move is, migrating your existing information and your firm’s processes and personnel to a new legal management system is a large undertaking – one you don’t want to repeat.

Here are six factors to consider when implementing a new financial management system, so that the system will not only meet your law firm’s current needs but grow right along with the firm over the coming years.

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