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If you are using your Practice Management Software only to manage your contacts and calendar, you’re missing key opportunities to streamline your business. Remember, the best case-management software is the one you and your staff will use.
To get the most out of any software, you first need to talk with the users. Users come and go at firms and with that, so does the transfer of knowledge. People tend to use the software the way they were shown when they first started, or how they used it at their previous job. Also, the way two people use the software may differ greatly. That being said, here are 5 elements that will help you get more out of your practice management software.
First, address how flexible and configurable your system is. It is important to design your practice management system to incorporate the specifics of your firm. While there are a lot of out-of-the-box solutions, you may still need to collect and use data differently than other firms. This means you may want to capture and report on data differently than what is immediately available. A flexible practice management that allows for customization will help you expand and grow as your firm does.
Next, address duplication of effort.This could be because of lack of integration between your systems. If your time & billing or document management systems are not integrated with your Practice Management system, it then requires double entry of master file information.Not only does this take more time, it increases the opportunity for errors.
Determine what your firm’s collaboration needs are. As I see it, there are two types of collaboration. The first is internal collaboration: People of the same firm regularly working on documents together. Fundamentally, if I work on a document and want a colleague to review it, I will email the document to that person. You may want to check if your practice management system has other features that can facilitate this. It will improve productivity and reduce email bloat as well.
The second kind of collaboration is external. This can be with other attorneys or clients. If your system includes a Portal, determine if this is a feasible way to communicate with your clients, share documents or even have your clients pay you faster. The ability to securely communicate and collaborate without the constant phone calls and emails is a vital time-saver and offers law firms countless benefits.
4. Document Automation / Assembly
Did you know most practice management systems can perform some type of document automation or assembly?Once you have identified the documents that you use frequently, you can set them up as templates.Once designed, you can integrate the data living in your PM system so that it populates the document with a click of a button. This improves consistency and productivity.
5. Workflows / Automations
Many firms struggle with redundancies and establishing workflows. Workflow and document automations are another way to streamline your law practice. Some workflows are established based on court rules – for example, this pleading must be responded to within 21 business days. As part of a workflow, you can automatically schedule that response 21 days from the receipt of the initial pleading. Other items in a workflow could include an option for prospects or clients to complete fillable forms. This way, upon setting a meeting, the client completes the form, returns it to the attorney or brings it to the meeting. Other examples of ways workflows help firms process data faster are by creating templates that automate recurring tasks. These tasks can allow users to create task lists and deadlines and automatically apply them to new cases.
At Software Analysis Corporation, our tag line is: Because Your Software Does More Than You Know. Software Analysis Corporation is here to help you with your existing software, as well as provide implementation, training, and support to ensure you are getting everything you need from your software investment.