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By Nicole Black
Running a busy law firm can be challenging, to say the least. There are lots of moving pieces regardless of your firm’s size, and the more attorneys and staff you add to the mix, the more complicated things become. Staying on top of everyone’s daily schedules and workloads can become a task in and of itself. Add to that the need to track firm finances, incoming leads, and the status of client matters, and the information overload can sometimes feel overwhelming.
Sound familiar? If so, then you might not be using the right legal software. Information overwhelm is a common problem faced by lawyers, but the good news is that it’s a problem easily solved by legal software with built-in tools designed to provide you with the information you need with just the click of a button.
With the right legal software, tracking the ins and outs of the daily activities occurring at your law firm is easier than you’d imagine. The right features can make all the difference and provide you with the oversight tools you need to run an efficient and streamlined law firm. Here are just a few examples of tools that will provide you with the information you need so that you can stay on top of your law firm.
Law Firm Reports
Valuable law firm resources are often wasted as a result of inefficiencies. Unnecessary repetitive tasks and clunky workflows can lead to ineffective law firm processes. Law firm reporting solves this problem, making it easy to access the important information you need in order to gain a better understanding of your firm’s processes, including time and billing, trust accounting, and case-related information.
Depending on the software you use, you may have the following types of law firm reports available to you:
- Aging Invoice Report: A report of overdue balances grouped into 1-15, 16-30, 31-60, and 61+ days overdue.
- Accounts Receivable Report: A report detailing your law firm’s receivables, which can be filtered to show a particular client or case; you can also choose various grouping options to better format the data for your law firm’s specific needs.
- Case Revenue Report: Shows cases billed during a certain time period and allows comparison of monies earned on those cases during that same time frame.
- Fee Allocation Report: Displays amounts billed and collected by specific users at your firm during a certain time period.
- User Time and Expenses Report: Provides time and expense entries for a particular employee of your firm.
- Case Time and Expenses Report: Provides time and expense entries for a particular case/matter.
- Trust Account Summary Report: Shows all contacts with trust balances, including total credit, total debits, and “as-of” balance.
- Trust Account Activity: Displays a chosen client’s trust account activity.
- Non-Trust Retainer and Credit Account Summary Report: Provides an overview of all contacts with non-trust retainer and credit balances as of a specified date.
- Non-Trust Retainer and Credit Account Activity Report: Shows a client’s non-trust retainer and credit account activity.
- Case List Report: Displays cases based on case status (open/closed) and practice area, and you can also group cases by practice area, firm user, client, and fee structure.
- Statute of Limitations Report: Shows pending and expired statute of limitations deadlines for all firm cases, or those assigned to a single attorney.
- Electronic Payments Report: Shows all payment activity made via eCheck and Credit Card within a specified time frame.
- Credit Card Fees Report: Offers a detailed view into which fees are taken from the Operating account.
Case and financial insight data
Tracking and analyzing your law firm’s data can make all the difference and provide you with the insight you need to make informed, actionable decisions. By using law firm software that provides the ability to view your firm’s case and financial information in an easily accessible and intuitive format, you’ll be able to uncover trends, identify patterns and relationships, and ultimately make smarter, more profitable decisions.
With case insight data, you’ll be provided with actionable intelligence that provides an easy snapshot of the daily case-related activities of your firm. Among other things, you’ll be able to view and filter the following information:
- A list of overall open cases
- A list of open cases by practice area
- A visualization of the stages of all open cases (ie. discovery, trial, etc.)
- The average amount of time spent on each case stage
- the number of cases opened and closed over time
Also useful is the ability to access a visual representation of your firm’s financial data. With this information you’ll be better able to understand and track firm profitability and the billing productivity of attorneys and staff. Insights you’ll be able to view include:
- Collected amounts
- Billed amounts
- A comparison of collected and billed amounts
- Amounts collected by practice area
- Hours billed by an attorney or staff member
Lead tracking information
And last but not least, your legal software should provide you with insight into the ways that your law firm obtains new clients. When a potential client reaches out to your law firm, the software that your firm uses should provide tools that not only track and manage that lead, but also provide you with insight into your firm’s marketing processes. That’s where lead management and analytics features come in.
With these tools, you can easily input new leads into the software and track them from prospect to client. You can also take advantage of lead analytics tools that track and provide insight into leads as they’re added and converted. With lead analytics tools, the information you’ll have access to includes the following:
- How many leads have been converted in a given month compared to all time
- How many leads have been added in a given month compared to all time
- Your top three referral sources
- The number of leads that are associated with each of your top three referral sources
- The top five reasons provided for not hiring your firm in the past 30 days compared to all time
Does the legal software that your firm uses provide you with this type of in-depth insight into your firm’s caseload, finances, and marketing? If not, you’re likely wasting a lot of time trying to keep up to date with the ins and outs of your firm’s processes, while at the same time making uninformed management decisions. In other words, maybe it’s time for an upgrade to modern legal software that provides you with the tools you need to run an efficient and profitable law firm. What better time than now?
Nicole Black is a Rochester, New York, attorney, author, journalist, and the Legal Technology Evangelist at MyCase, legal practice management software. She is the nationally-recognized author of “Cloud Computing for Lawyers” (2012) and co-authors “Social Media for Lawyers: The Next Frontier” (2010), both published by the American Bar Association. She also co-authors “Criminal Law in New York,” a Thomson Reuters treatise. She writes regular columns for Above the Law, ABA Journal, and The Daily Record, has authored hundreds of articles for other publications, and regularly speaks at conferences regarding the intersection of law and emerging technologies. She is an ABA Legal Rebel, and is listed on the Fastcase 50 and ABA LTRC Women in Legal Tech. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was originally posted on mycase.com and is shared here with full permission from the author.