Posted by Chris Pucci, sales director at Legal Futures Associate Osprey Approach
An unlikely source of inspiration for improving efficiencies and overall performance for your firm can be found in the British Cycling team. With their success routed in continuous optimisation and a focus on improving every aspect of their team by just 1%, the team became champions.
The cumulative effect: British Cycling
Until the early part of the century, the British cycling team had only won one gold medal in over 100 years. Through the dedicated work of Dave Brailsford, who took over as the performance director of British Cycling in 2003, the team went on to dominate world cycling from 2008 – breaking countless Olympic and world records along the way.
Brailsford believed that if you make a 1% improvement in a host of tiny areas, the cumulative benefits would be extraordinary.
The results speak for themselves: he catapulted the British Cycling team from a mediocre performer to 16 gold medals over two Olympics and seven Tour de France wins in eight years. From the best handlebar grips to the leading recovery massage gels and food ingredients, Brailsford left no stone unturned when looking to optimise performance.
The cumulative effect when applied to legal software
What if the same techniques were applied to the practice of law? By improving your firm’s case management, document production, time recording, accounting, and client journey processes by just 1%, the results could be transformational for your efficiencies, staff satisfaction, client experience – and profitability.
Implementing 1% improvements across your firm is an easy task with the right technology. Practice and case management software solutions are designed to help you automate time-consuming processes that allow you to streamline your firm. However, it isn’t enough simply to install the software into your firm, and you’re unlikely to reap the rewards and see a return.
Investing in practice management software needs to involve the review and optimisation of existing processes to fully utilise the technology and gain a return. It is important that technology helps a firm achieve its goals and drive efficiencies to save cost.
But firms are often disappointed in the returns they achieve because they don’t look to continuously make those 1% improvements or implement the software’s full capabilities across every area of their firm.
Case management: an investment not a cost
First, it’s important to highlight the value of practice and case management solutions (PCMS) to a business and understand the benefits that it can bring to a firm.
Software and technology infrastructure is typically seen as a cost to most law firms. Like other functional, necessary bills for a business, it’s seen as an additional spend in revenue. But a PCMS is an investment, not a cost. It returns financial benefits to a firm and helps drive a business to the next level – enabling scalability, employability and profitability.
Just like a valued fee-earner at your firm, the right PCMS provides the opportunity to save costs, increase revenue and win new business.
Small changes make big impacts
Implementing technology often feels like a large investment in both time and money. But the long-term effect to performance returns a much greater value to your firm than the initial costs.
The beauty of implementing practice management software solutions is that it affects every area of your firm. All areas of your practice – from the accounts department to secretaries, fee-earners, clients and managers – will see improvements to performance and benefit from the software.
A PCMS helps increase efficiencies in document production, client communication, billing, invoicing, time recording, third-party collaboration and much more. It is those small but impactful changes in your process that will strengthen your firm to ensure that you are operating at maximum effectiveness.
Continuous improvement methodologies
The three well known continuous improvement methodologies are Kaizen, Lean and Six Sigma. They look at the compound effects of small incremental improvements over time.
All three methodologies have their own individual merits that can used individually, or together, to help you implement a strategy for driving long-term efficiencies. You can find out more about these methodologies by accessing our full guide.
Practice management software is your digital toolset that will help you carry out these changes. Implementing these continuous improvements strategies will help you to achieve maximum return on your technology investment.
The results for your law firm
Implementing a combination of these continuous improvement strategies and mindsets, and applying it to optimise the use of your legal software solution, will help you achieve a return on your investment.
For example, through the effective use of your software’s time-saving automations and productivity enhancing features, you could save a fee-earner at least one hour a day. At an average hourly rate of £250 and 200 working days a year that’s a saving of £50,000. The annual licence cost of a quality case management solution is £1,200 (12 months x £100 per month), providing a return on investment of £48,800.00 per year, per fee-earner.
Small changes that have a significant impact
The changes to your processes alone are helpful but not ground-breaking in isolation. For example, the 10 minutes saved from not manually drafting a ‘next steps’ letter but instead generating it from a click of button in a workflow, isn’t going to boost profits.
But when combined across all the next steps letters created over the year, for all fee-earners, the benefits are realised. Our guide considers five of numerous small changes that will have a significant impact on your firm’s ability to drive long-term efficiencies.
How to achieve a return on your legal software investment
To maximise the return on your investment you should implement a future-proofed solution. This extends the shelf-life of the PCMS and therefore improves the lifetime value.
From the effects of team buy-in to implementing continuous training plans, our guide helps you to weigh up your current challenges and implement a firm-wide mindset focused on continuous improvements that will help you maximise return.
You can download our guide to achieving a return on your legal software investment on our website.