Do You Know Your Biggest Workflow Issues?

Legal Management Magazine

By: Erin Brereton

Identifying and amending problems can mean the difference between your firm being profitable — or falling short of its goals.

Six years ago, the file-sharing process at Dorsey & Whitney LLP’s Palo Alto, California, office wasn’t as efficient as partner Terence M. Kelly would’ve liked it to be.

Clients had to wait for someone at the firm to pull a file, copy or scan it, and fax or email it, which sometimes proved problematic if the recipients’ server wouldn’t accept large files.

Because the firm caters to clients around the world, time difference was also an issue. Clients who requested an item outside of normal business hours had to wait until the office was open again to receive it. To provide easier access to information, the office decided to implement a simple cloudbased document storage system. Now, files can be retrieved and shared in a matter of minutes.

Workflow weaknesses, according to Brown, have cropped up at firms because of the way they’ve grown.

“For the most part, processes inside law firms developed idiosyncratically, without any real design,” Brown says. “People made it up as they’ve gone along. It’s like running a bakery; if you make bread based on what the baker before you designed, then that’s all you know.”

But several tools and techniques can prevent procedural setbacks from having a damaging effect on productivity and productivity and profitability. Industry members are addressing several of the most common concerns in these ways: Consolidating services to increase output. Having employees or an external supplier be responsible for certain tasks, such as word processing, can potentially help improve workflow, according to Stephen Cole, Director of Client Technology and Strategy at legal business process consulting company Mattern & Associates.

“Law firms have realized having middle and back office operations in a centralized location, whether it’s a firm office with a lower cost of labor or a third-party outsourcing provider, can offer standardized services to all users and  expanded hours,” Cole says.

Read the full article: Legal Management Magazine: Do You Know Your Biggest Workflow Issues?