August 19, 2018

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How to Automate Your Law Firm in Five Easy Steps

It’s a scene right out of dozens of movies: the corner office, the imposing desk framed by floor-to-ceiling windows with an intimidatingly high view of *insert major metropolis here*- all a testament to the power, a non-verbal description of prosperity. The token Hollywood Big Shot Lawyer’s office and firm paint a picture that is difficult to forget and easy to deem the standard of ultimate professional success. After all, what is a successful and accomplished professional without a successful- and accomplished-looking office? Turns out the answer is, “probably every bit as successful. And accomplished.”

How to Automate Your Law Firm in Five Easy Steps

Whether you’re closing a firm, in the “resume-building” stage of your career, or simply harboring a preference to sweatpants over suits, you have never been better poised than now to take the legal world by storm from the comfort of your own couch (or, really, any seat you’d like). In our increasingly automated world, legal professionals from all walks of life are discovering countless means by which to minimize costs and maximize productivity. In this unprecedented professional environment, where cloud-based software allows files to be accessed from anywhere and various platforms provide clerical services remotely, it’s never been easier to run a reputable (and profitable) law practice from anywhere, be it a fancy skyscraper with an imposing view or your home office. Here are a few of the resources that are instrumental in paving your virtual road to remote success:

Cloud-based software

We know, we know–this sounds incredibly biased, given who’s giving the advice. Whether you decide to go with PracticePanther or not, it is imperative that any legal professional considers the innumerable benefits of a cloud-based software over servers or manual record-keeping. Most practice management platforms on the cloud offer a baseline of similar resources, like timekeeping, contact and matter management, and invoice generation. However, we recommend searching for software with the utmost security (256-bit encryption is a must-have, as it’s the same encryption grade used by banks), the ability to create automated workflows to save you time, and an integration with Zapier to connect you with thousands of other apps directly.

Virtual Receptionists

This is a tremendously important tool for legal professionals searching to project the professionalism of a major firm without its accompanying expenses. By subscribing to a virtual receptionist service, you’ll guarantee that your incoming calls never go unanswered and that all callers are treated with the utmost professionalism. In fact, virtual receptionists will often greet clients with a personalized message that you’ve chosen for your practice. Both PATLive and Ruby Receptionists offer these services for significantly lower costs than those incurred by hiring an in-house receptionist, allowing for all of the benefits to your practice at a fraction of the cost.

Digitize Your Document Sharing

If you haven’t already. It’s extremely important if you’re operating a outside of a traditional firm’s structure, not to let that absence of structure to extend to your document organization. Be sure to use a secure platform like Box or DropBox for all of your file sharing and storage. It’s also imperative that your practice management software integrates directly with your document sharing storage in order to eliminate the need to clunkily work around your practice manager in order to access your documents.

Up Your Online Marketing Game

Whether your remote presence is brand-new or well-established, it’s always incredibly worthwhile to design and follow through with a well-crafted email campaign. This will not just establish your presence as a legal service provider to potential clients; if done correctly, it will keep you top-of-mind for those who may not need legal services at the moment so that they are more likely to circle back to you should the need arise in the future. Platforms like MailChimp assist you in crafting and disseminating thorough, well-designed email campaigns over long periods of time. If you’re looking to market your legal services and expand your client base, this tool is incredibly effective. It’s definitely useful (and highly recommended!) to choose a practice management platform that integrates directly with MailChimp, thus allowing you to manage your email campaigns through, not around, your software.

A Well-Established Virtual Presence for Your Firm

Think of your website as your virtual office; its layout will provide potential and existing clients with their first impression of your practice, so it needs to shine. Luckily, platforms like Wix, WordPress, and Squarespace make the process of building an easy-to-navigate professional website both simple and intuitive. If you’re not particularly well-versed in the intricacies of website design, or just want to make sure that everything is completed to perfection, consider outsourcing the construction of your site to a professional. Freelancers with extensive experience are available to hire on platforms like Upwork for very reasonable prices.

These tips only cover a small fraction of the groundwork that needs to be laid out in building a successful website. In order to dive deeply into the planning, building, optimization, and maintenance of your professional website, be sure to check out our CEO David Bitton’s book, The Secrets to Marketing and Automating Your Law Practice.

Be sure to supplement your online presence with a means by which you can receive mail directly. If you’re working from home or multiple locations, it’s certainly worthwhile to set up a P.O. box for your practice in order to maintain both professionalism and security.

Conclusion

Now more than ever, attorneys are capitalizing on the benefits of running a remote practice for a variety of reasons. With various cloud-based options for storing data, remote service providers, and countless tools to establish a professional online presence, it has never been easier to run an automated firm. Whether you’re closing a concrete firm, starting out your career, or seeking to operate a profitable practice from any location, the options–and opportunities–are endless.

© Copyright 2018 PracticePanther

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About this Author

Marketing Campaign Analyst

Maria Barbera is the Marketing Campaign Analyst at PracticePanther. After completing two years on the President's List at Columbia University, Maria earned her Bachelor of Science in Political Science, minoring in Legal Philosophy, from Florida State University. While in college, Maria explored campaign analysis from a variety of perspectives. She interned as a Head Features Editor and Analyst at Metro International News in New York, NY. At the same time, she was the Associate Editor for Features at The Eye, Columbia University's weekly arts and culture magazine. She has...

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