How to Modernize and Innovate Your Law Practice

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How-to-Modernize-and-Innovate-Your-Law-PracticeMost law firms don’t like change but what if change, specifically innovation, was the key to making more profits and staying ahead of your competitors? Law firms that encourage innovation amongst their associates and support staff can generate solutions and improvements faster than more conservative law firms. Just imagine if your employees felt that they were free to generate and share innovative ideas, new processes and systems, and genius ways of earning or saving money—you could literally tap into a goldmine. Let’s take a look at a few ways you can encourage this type of innovation at your law firm.

Listen to Staff and Client Complaints

If your associates or support staff are gripping about something, it doesn’t mean that they’re whiny or ungrateful, what it could mean is that there is a problem that they’ve noticed. It’s important that you listen to these complaints because they’re pointing to areas that can use improvement. And oftentimes, clients will complain directly to support staff such as secretaries and receptionists because they’re the first line of communication.

Encourage your staff to make a note of client complaints, and review the list at least once a year. Listening to these complaints will give you an idea of the most common complaints. For example, if you consistently hear clients complaining about how they can never get anyone on the phone, then you know you have a problem with your client communication system that needs to be fixed.  Take note: It’s important that you don’t punish your employees for bringing their own complaints to the table. Remember, complaints are warning systems that a problem needs to be fixed.

Listen To Solutions

The most innovative solutions to problems come from the people suffering the consequences of the issue. This is why you must encourage your staff (and clients) to speak up about how you make improvements. Make a habit of asking for suggestions for problem solving at your firm meetings. And refrain from criticizing suggestions even if they seem unfeasible, and set rules for respectfully engaging with ideas that all employees must follow.  But once you receive suggestions about solutions, take them seriously and consider at least trying them out.

Allow Failure

If you want to drive innovation at your law firm, you must be prepared to experience and accept failure some of the time. Not every solution or system or process you try will work out. There has to be room for mistakes — even big mistakes if you want an innovative law firm.  Remember, innovation can’t happen without risks.

Invest in Resources

While innovation can happen on a shoestring budget, it can’t thrive there. At some point you will need to invest money and staffing if you want to properly implement innovative solutions at your law firm. Once again, you must be prepared for the possibility of failure even if you’ve invested a significant amount of money into a new innovative solution. So if you’re law firm has limited funding, you can start with innovative solutions that require less financial risk.

No matter how large or small your law firm, making innovation a top priority will benefit your bottom-line. Smokeball legal practice management software helps increase profitability by over 30% on average. Learn more and get your customized demo today!

By | January 22nd, 2018|

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. 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.

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