Law firms are traditional in their work environments. Most firm employees work in managed office spaces. The economic downturn and COVID-19 crisis, however, has forced firms to quickly adapt their operating structures to accommodate working from home.
While most firms have adopted technology to facilitate remote work, there are still concerns about productivity. For firms that are already struggling with potentially sinking demand, keeping accurate metrics on timekeepers’ productivity is critical to overall service delivery and profitability. The following are some important considerations for getting the most out of a remote workforce, in order to maintain profitability.
Timeliness of Bills Posted and Set
Time tracking is frequently a pain point, even in normal times. Attorneys often wait until the end of the month to log time, especially when they are not in the office. This practice is unacceptable in good times, but downright dangerous in a downturn as it can create leakage. Using Business intelligence tools for analysis of daily trends helps provide ongoing visibility into your firm’s critical data points. These tools lead to changes in timekeeper behavior, reducing hours posted and billed late, allowing you to maximize collections and profitability. For those needing a quick start toward daily reporting, Iridium, now part of BigHand’s Daily Insights Tracker may do just the trick.
For firms that still have their attorneys reviewing prebills on paper, work from home creates a difficult situation. It is all but impossible to move paper back and forth between partners’ homes on a timely basis. While paperless prebilling has always been beneficial to law firms, it has now become critical. Any firm still relying on a paper-based process should consider tools such as Iridium, now part of BigHand’s Steere AlertManager, Steere PrebillManager, or Steere ReportManager, as delays in billing are likely to lead to reduced collections.
Ensure Lawyers Are Collaborating Remotely
Your clients value collaboration, but your lawyers are used to collaborating by walking down the hall to ask a question or assign a task. The abrupt shift to a remote workforce, coupled with a shaky economic environment, makes workload sharing more important than ever. The firm’s resource allocation—which employees are busy and which are not—may have been adjusted substantially in the past few weeks. Clients are looking even more carefully at the resource allocation on their projects. Redistributing workloads on a rolling basis can support higher levels of profitability in your firm throughout, and long after, the work-from-home period.
If lawyers are known for doing one thing, it’s delivering on expectations. With COVID-19, expectations have greatly changed, but legal work is always going to be legal work no matter where you’re doing it from. Clients will not accept work from home as an excuse and even if they would, reduced productivity is terrible for your bottom line. Iridium, now part of BigHand and our BI and financial analytics solutions can help lawyers stay on top of the work that needs to get done while making sure it remains profitable.