Whether you’ve just finished your law degree or have done your time in big firms, now you might be looking to start your own practice. You work hard to find your first few clients, but you start to realise just how much work goes into completing a matter and running a practice simultaneously. There are many tasks that you would usually rely on others to assist you to complete and those tasks are now solely on you. Where do you save documents and emails? Why are these basic tasks taking so long to complete?
It can be a common mistake for lawyers starting out in their own legal practice to just save their documents and emails into a folder on their computer with the matter number as the title. But doing this manually takes up enormous amounts of time and in legal practice especially, time is money. You could allocate an hour or so each day for administration work, but over a week, a month, then a year, you’re starting to lose serious amounts of time. Not only does manual processing of data lose you time, it also leaves you open to errors. Manual data entry and saving is risky because if you enter figures incorrectly or accidentally save the document in the wrong location this means more time spent going back, re-entering and re-saving files. Also consider if you’re out meeting a client and don’t have your laptop, how can you access those files?
The solution: use a Practice Management System
The solution to all of this is to centralise your data all on one platform. Centralising your matter-related information and documents can increase your productivity and greatly reduce the number of errors in your work. Centralising means bringing the data from everything you use, whether that be Office 365, Xero or InfoTrack, and storing them in one location. For example, you can invoice through Xero and then store these invoices against the matter. Or you could send out an email from your legal software through Outlook and have it automatically stored along with other relevant documents and communications for that matter.
A centralised legal software solution, or Practice Management System (PMS) should automatically save and store everything you need in the cloud, so that you can easily access matter-related information from any device, no matter where you are. If the legal software you’re using is up to scratch then you should not only be saving time while you’re working, but also able to work from wherever you need to. It can stop you being caught in tough situations that could impact a matter or your relationship with a client.
Whether you’re just starting out your practice, or you’re beginning to grow, not having a centralised legal software can restrict your practice. Some Practice Management Systems like matteroTM are be designed for sole practitioners to centralise work and can greatly impact your productivity and thus your billables.