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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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What KPIs Matter for Your Firm's Success?

Law firms, like any other business, need to be aware of, monitor and act on key performance indicators (KPIs). While firms are typically on top of measuring billable hours, there are many other KPIs that can help you better manage revenues and expenses. Knowing how — and when — to measure and benchmark a firm's KPI's against industry trends and best practices will help modify and improve firm performance. KPIs can deliver a treasure trove of information to law firm administrators and partners — the key is knowing what to look for and how to report your findings in a format management can understand.

So, where should your firm start?  

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Streamlining Your Law Firm's Project Management Systems

Using a manual approach to managing legal projects is fraught with potential issues, as stated in a 2014 ABA article: “… such a seat-of-the-pants approach can place a lawyer at a significant disadvantage, make the work unprofitable and even risk the loss of the client relationship.”

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5 Ways Legal Admins Can Support Firm Growth in 2017

With some analysts’ reports predicting sluggish demand for legal services in 2017, helping your firm grow is going to take more than raising the hourly fee. As a law firm administrator, you have an opportunity to improve and refine your firm’s processes and efficiencies to build a solid, and profitable, operational infrastructure that adds to the overall firm growth goals you set at the beginning of the year.

Here are 5 ways you can support firm growth in 2017:

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Less Paper vs. Paperless Offices: Improving Your Law Firm's Efficiency

Any attorney or law firm administrator who has been in the business for any period of time will probably tell you that law firms used to run on paper — an astonishing amount of paper, in the form of memos, case filings, motions, pleadings, timesheets, invoices, new client intake forms, expense reports, check requests, financial reporting, notes and so much more.

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