With all of the daily demands at law firms, it’s easy for planning to go on the back burner. However, as the adage goes, a firm that fails to plan is planning to fail. The last thing you want is to have your firm flying by the seat of its pants and giving in to the demands and whims of employees. You also don’t want inconsistent practices, unclear goals, and no way of measuring accomplishments or fostering accountability to stand in the way of success.
Before you push off planning yet again, keep in mind that you could damage employee morale. It’s well known that people like to work for an organization that makes them feel valued and part of feeling valued is having guidelines in place and a standardized way to measure success.
Successful firms are:
- Have a sense of where they are and where they are heading
- Have a vision and a strategy
- Have business and financial plans
- Have goals and measured attainment
- Foster accountability from self and others
- Establish best practices for document production, file management, email archiving and document retention.
What Exactly Are Best Practices?
Best practices are procedures that are widely accepted as being the most effective method or efficient way of accomplishing particular tasks. The adoption of best practices can lead to sustainable outcomes in productivity, quality and customer satisfaction, and will improve an organization’s performance and efficiency in specific areas. There isn’t a law firm out there that wouldn’t like to achieve those goals.
Why Follow Best Practices?
By following best practices there are efficiencies to be gained. Successfully identifying and applying best practices can reduce business expenses, in terms of time and resources, and improve productivity. Your law firm’s education strategy should include training that is focused on standards and best practices to ensure everyone on the team understands them. After all, best practices are only beneficial if they’re actually put into use by your employees.
As you can imagine, it is easier to accomplish the task of setting up best practices guidelines for your firm if it is a smaller organization. However, not having them in place puts you at risk no matter what the size of your office.
Law firms should have guidelines in place for:
- Retainer agreements
- New client/matter intakes
- Conflict checks
- Engagement letters
- Accounting and billing
- Calendaring and docketing
- Document creation and management
- Client file management and retention
Be sure to solicit input from key people on your team when you create your own best practices. Involving various members of your firm in the creation of these best practices will allow them to feel invested and an important part of the team. Terrapin Technology Group is happy to work with you in drafting document creation and management best practices, and can assist you with writing policy to help your firm serve its clients better.