Two of the most widespread beliefs about lawyers are that they work insane hours but have insane salaries as a pay-off. And while the first is true for a handful of top attorneys in the field, independent lawyers covering all of the overhead costs in their businesses often find administrative tasks taking up the bulk of their earnings and time.
Lawyers are either meticulously itemizing billable work or toggling between spreadsheets. They either keep track of it all on their own time or they paying for a pricey outside consultant to do it for them. But independent lawyers can save both time and money when they eschew both of these traditional options. There are both products and practices that can minimize expenses for independent lawyers and save them precious time to devote to building their practice.
- Invest Time Every Day to Business Operations. The old adage, “You’ve got to spend money to make money” is popular among business owners but “You’ve got to spend time to make time” is just as true. Setting aside a time in the calendar every day for handling billing saves time overall because billable hours are fresher in the mind. Marathon billing sessions are a burden and they also don’t produce great work.
- Connect Your Systems. With cloud-computing software like Clio, your calendar, billing, and communication tools all live in one place. Instead of wasting time digging through twenty open tabs and windows, one clean interface can connect you to the people, systems, and information you need to operate smoothly.
- Automate Your Billing. With time scheduled every day for billing, you are going to want to make the best use of that time. And having a highly efficient, automated system for producing detailed and elegant invoices contributes to both your bottom line and your reputation for excellence.
- Make All Business a Click Away. If you’ve retired your Rolodex full of contacts in favor of your mobile contact list, it makes sense to do the same for more sophisticated business operations. CRM tools like Base can help you manage your client relationships and build your business. Connecting to your business on tablet and mobile means no late-night returns to the office or being dependent on a single device or drive. Leave the office early knowing that a few taps from the comfort of home can set an invoice in motion while you finally get some time to be still.
- Measure Your Results. With automated tools, users report an average time savings of eight hours per week. In a typical nine-to-five setting, that is an entire day’s work that can be devoted to doing billable work rather than just billing. By keeping track of how much time you’re spending and saving, you can constantly be developing new tools and processes to make business run more efficiently at lower prices.
Independent lawyers know all too well that the biggest headaches and expenses in practice law are tedious tasks like billing hours and paying bills. By taking these points (and tools on board), you will see an increase in efficiency in the office and you will get to spend more time working for your clients and building your practice.