This year I have worked with multiple legal firms on projects that have significantly improved theirabilitytofocus on what matters – clients!Each of the firms were different – their areas of practice,size, softwares being used, and so on – but essentially, all were suffering the same symptoms of atedious, inefficient process.A process that was consumed with shuffling papers, time-consumingfiling and the peeling & sticking of labels – you know those labels, the ones that always seem to jamup the copy machine. You may think this comes with the territory; It’s just part of running an office.But really, all this is unnecessary busy-work that’s hogging precious resources: Money, Time and Energy. When evaluating the workload and processes with thesefirms, it became evident that if wecould free up these resources, they could be used to attract more clients, bill more time, and providebetter service to the clients.
Case #1: The Frustration of the Manual & Repetitive Process
Client comes in for a meeting. Sit down, discuss needs, fill out the appropriate documents, walkclient to the door, say goodbye…then what? The real work starts. For that 30-minute meeting, thereare generally hours worth work for the entire staff. In this Firm’s case, it was about a manual andrepetitive process that would take 3X the time it should.
There was the absorbant amount of time spent standing at the office copier – scanning or copyingfor each client or case. Scanning would consist of scanning to an email – and if there needed to bemultiple files, then there was the scanning, waiting to send, rechoosing of setting, scanning,waiting….you get the idea. Then the pleasure of getting back to the computer to open each file, check & proof, close, rename, open the case-management software, find the case, then the matter,click import, search for file, click upload….wait. Oh, I forgot – as they often did – to manually writewhat was done at the copier in the log book. And of course, someone was going to have to manuallyenter all this in the billing software later. For reference, forms were being created in WordPerfect,case-management software was Time Matters by LexisNexis, billing was Tabs3, and files werestored in Adobe pdf. Of course, a professional version of Adobe was needed for any removal ofblank pages, bates stamping, page numbers, etc.
So what would happen if we could make the first-step in this process the only step? If we could scandirectly from the copier into the matter number of the right case? If any editing needed could be doneright at a full-color, iPad style touchscreen prior to scanning or copying? If one big stack could beauto-divided into multiple files, and even auto-named? If all work at the copier was automaticallycaptured and provided to the billing software with rates the Firm chose? I can tell you whathappenned…the staff rejoiced, billing increased, billing errors decreased, project completion timesdropped by 50%, and the ability to take on more clients withoutadding additionalstaff or workinglonger hours was created!
This was done in a matter of hours. Even better, it was done for less than what they were alreadyspending on their monthly copier lease. The whole conversion process consisted of an hour meetingwith the Firm Administrator, a short online survey I created for the staff, and an installation of newSharp copiers that took about 2-hours – and never resulted in a single minute of downtime.