Creating Email Efficiency at Your Small Law Firm

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Technology is constantly finding its way into more and more aspects of our work days.  Phone calls from clients are becoming less frequent, but a quick turnaround on response is still expected from most. Email is becoming the prime source of communication in many workplaces, which is why creating efficient email processes is so important. The amount of information coming into your inbox is dizzying. In the midst of your busy days, it can be tough to keep on email, but using an email management system like Smokeball can keep you organized and on top of client needs.

Here are a few ways to create email efficiency at your small law firm:

Create and utilize folders.

Folders are perhaps the most essential email organization tool. Categorizing emails into folders will keep you organized and help you save yourself from fruitless searching. When clients or colleagues request information from an old email, you can quickly pop into that folder and find what you need. With Smokeball, your emails are automatically organized by matter. All incoming and outgoing emails are directly linked to the matter they are about, making it easy to find specific emails with a simple click. Plus, Smokeball does all the work for you by automatically categorizing these your emails into the relevant matter.

Save your contacts and make lists.

Complete and organized contact lists will do a great deal to optimize your time in your inbox. Take this opportunity to clean up and update your contacts list. In most email systems, you can create email lists to better organize your contacts. For example, with Smokeball’s matter management software, all contacts pertaining to a certain matter are stored and organized within that matter. If you need to send an email to everyone involved in that matter, you can, or if you want to send it to specific individuals, you can select their names as well. This will save you time and keep you from accidentally leaving someone off of correspondence.

Make a clear process on who is responding to what.

When clients email multiple people at your firm, it’s easy to get confused about who should respond to what. You should make sure that there is a clear process put in place dictating reply responsibilities. Smokeball can simplify this process by allowing all staff that are part of a matter to see related incoming and outgoing correspondence. Staff members have access to all the information and a birdseye view of the matter without having to keep everyone copied on every email.

Spend less time in your inbox.

Many of us are in the habit of checking our inboxes constantly, taking time and focus away from other tasks. In order to make the most of your day, disable email pop-up notifications and only check your inbox every few hours. Additionally, opening an email only when you’re ready to reply, which some call the the “touch it once” philosophy, will help you stay focused and efficient.

Putting these email processes in place will not only make your life easier, but it will make your entire law firm more efficient. Keeping emails organized and easily accessible is important for running your business effectively to keep client matters moving along smoothly.

If you think your office could benefit from Smokeball, request a free law firm tech evaluation.

By |November 25th, 2014|

About the Author:

For years, Josh has helped lawyers become more organized, productive, and profitable. A trained litigator, Josh came to Smokeball from a large east-coast law firm where his practice focused on franchise, insurance, marine, and general litigation. His work with Smokeball, and his continued passion for what he does each day, is driven by a desire to help lawyers and their staff do better in every way. Knowing well the stress and strain put on today’s legal professional, he regularly focuses on improving work and life in the law. He has traveled the country working with and learning from lawyers and their staff. Josh speaks regularly to bar associations about successful law firm practices and other legal topics. Recent notable engagements have been with the Chicago Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, and the Missouri Bar’s Solo and Small Firm Conference. In addition to his work at Smokeball, Josh serves on the Writing Resource Center staff at The John Marshall Law School. Besides legal technology, his research interests include judicial decision-making, jury decision-making and psychology, and legal writing. He has written and overseen research exploring causal effects of sex/gender on federal appellate court decision-making, and assisted with research for a forthcoming textbook on judicial decision-making. Additionally, Josh sits on the Board of Directors of Chicago-based Community Activism Law Alliance and on the Board of Directors of Chicago Fringe Opera Company. Josh holds his J.D., cum laude, from Washington University in St. Louis, where he served as a Senior Editor of the Wash. U. Law Review, held the prestigious Thompson Coburn Research Fellowship, served as Research Assistant to then-Vice-Dean (now Chancellor) Andrew D. Martin, and clerked at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and a B.M. in Music Performance with Honors Scholar distinction from the University of Connecticut, making him a Huskies basketball fan through and through. Follow Josh’s activity on LinkedIn, and keep up with new articles on the Smokeball Blog.