By: LEAP Legal Software | AAML NJ Silver Sponsor
One of the biggest challenges that New Jersey law firms face is increased competition. In 2022 alone, thousands of new practices opened in the US, meaning it’s more important than ever to have a solid foundation to stay relevant and ensure long-term success. Senior staff members must reassess their operations to identify inefficiencies that impact their competitive edge and establish strong routines across every department. As the leader in legal technology for over 30 years, LEAP Legal Software understands the common challenges that New Jersey matrimonial legal professionals face that prevent them from being successful. Let’s look at how to mitigate these challenges to establish a thriving practice.
Step 1: Decide to be Efficient
The first step to becoming productive is acknowledging the manual processes that cause your staff to focus on tasks that take away from billable work. Many New Jersey law firms experience this with document assembly and management, time recording, and billing. While it seems more lucrative to encourage staff to spend more time on one project, it makes it more difficult to scale your practice to service more clients without significantly increasing overhead costs. While it may seem overwhelming to address these core activities, these inefficiencies can be addressed for long-term gains.
- Brief staff on your plans and goals
- Identify the areas where technology can provide the most productivity impact (i.e., document production, timekeeping, billing)
- Begin the software evaluation process
Step 2: Join the Early Adopters of Software
As the legal industry has become increasingly more digital, many family law firms have already moved operations to the cloud. Newer firms typically have the competitive edge that they leverage modern technology from day one. Therefore, established New Jersey practices must implement cloud-based software to keep up and provide efficient client services. While the ultimate goal of software implementation should be to eliminate the challenges identified in Step 1, it should also:
- Establish a single version of the truth,
- Improve accessibility so that staff members can work from home or on the go,
- Instantly capture time to improve billing accuracy and frequency, and
- Ensure trust accounts remain state-bar and IOLA/IOLTA compliant.
- Determine where data gaps exist
- Create a plan with your staff to increase remote and hybrid work options
- Evaluate software that serves as one solution for practice management, automating legal forms, and all financial transactions, including billing and trust accounting
- Step 3: Enjoy Practicing Family Law
While this might seem like a no-brainer, but the old saying is true that you can’t succeed if you don’t enjoy the work you do. New Jersey matrimonial attorneys deal with highly sensitive and emotional matters that can take a toll on them if they don’t truly love it. If they don’t have the appropriate support, staying connected to the work can become difficult. Additionally, many people leave their current firm and even the legal industry altogether because they don’t have enough time to practice the law. Instead, they are forced to focus on manual tasks that take up most of their time. Senior leaders need to work with their staff to determine clear responsibilities and career plans to keep them engaged.
- Set realistic and clear expectations and boundaries with clients
- Organize matters and data in an intuitive solution
- Dedicate time for career development and staff check-ins
While these three steps provide New Jersey family law firms with a solid foundation to begin improving efficiency, they can address several other areas to improve productivity. As your practice embraces digital transformation, LEAP can provide you with comprehensive checklists on the steps needed to establish a competitive, efficient, and thriving family law firm. Download the11 Habits of Successful Law Firms e-book to start improving operations today.