This is the next post in my series on ways to quickly improve your law firm’s revenue. My last piece looked at how attorneys can boost revenue by improving conversions. Turning more of your current web traffic into clients is far, far, far, far (far) better for your bottom line than going out spending more money to get additional web visitors just so you can fail to convert those visitors into clients. I’ve seen attorneys immediately increase their monthly revenue by as much as three hundred percent by simply improving their conversion process. Yet, in spite of this, most lawyers still don’t grasp the importance of the issue. The extent to which legal professionals don’t understand the importance of conversions leaves me scratching my head like this guy:

Man scratching his head

Hopefully you’ll take a look at your intake process so you can wind up looking like these fine folks:

Group of dancing peopleI’m going to spend this article looking at why improving your firm’s efficiency is also one of the best ways to boost revenue. One of the most beautiful things about boosting the top line, by improving efficiency, is that you don’t have to increase your marketing budget to do so. Let’s get to it.

Efficient law firms will enjoy higher revenue

Let me guess. You think phone volume and your law firm’s level of efficiency are unrelated issues right? Well, if that’s what you think then you are WRONG! What most attorneys don’t realize is that their firm’s efficiency level is directly tied to a) their ability to get good online reviews and b) the number of referrals they receive. Each of these areas directly impact your revenue. Let’s use a hypothetical to prove this point.

Joe Attorney runs the typical law office. Jill Client retains Joe for a run of the mill matter and Joe wraps it up in eight weeks (about average for the type of case Jill had). At the end of the day, Jill had an average experience – her case moved along at the same pace it would have with another law firm. This means, to an extent, that Jill is no more likely to leave Joe a good review, or refer him someone, than any other client would be. Let’s look at why this is bad for Joe’s top line (his revenue) and what he can do about it.

If Jill’s case had wrapped up sooner then, by definition, she would have had an above average experience in terms of how long her case took (remember that the eight weeks it took was average). By moving the case through the system faster Joe would become more likely to receive a good review from Jill. This would then make other potential clients more likely to pick up the phone and call Joe after viewing his website, as I discussed in my article on how attorney’s can get more quality online reviews. It almost goes without saying that by wrapping the matter up faster than the average attorney, Joe would have been more likely to have Jill refer him someone in the future. The sad thing is that Joe, at the end of the case, went back to his office and focused on increasing his marketing spending in order to “get more phone calls.” He did this instead of realizing that he could be doing better by simply handling his cases differently, which doesn’t cost a dime.

Steps for law firms to increase business through improved efficiency

Increased efficiency helps law firms to wrap cases up faster. That, in turn, will increase revenue. In order to look at some specific steps it’s important to look at Joe Attorney’s calendar. Say today is Thursday and this is Joe’s calendar for next week:

  • Monday – discovery responses due in Client One’s divorce case; the client has not given Joe needed information
  • Tuesday – status check in Client Two’s criminal case to see if Client Two has completed his community service requirement (the client has not done so)
  • Wednesday – two hearings, at the same time, in different court houses

If Joe works like the typical attorney then Monday morning he’ll spend a significant amount of time running around like a chicken with its head cut off in an effort to get a discovery extension. Tuesday he’ll make a court appearance just so that the matter can be continued for sixty days and so that the client can complete his community service. Late Tuesday, or even early Wednesday, he’ll be running around like crazy trying to get one of the two hearings moved. Joe sure has been busy on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday but none of this activity pushed those three cases any closer to completion.

Suppose that this morning (the Thursday before the week listed above) Joe pulled out his calendar for next week and dealt with all the outstanding issues immediately. For example:

  • Joe calls Client One to see if they can drop the needed information off today. If they can then the discovery responses will go out on time. If not then Joe can call today and get an extension. This saves Joe from spending much of Monday making phone calls, writing letters, and running around like crazy trying to get an extension.
  • Joe calls Client Two to see if the community service has been completed. When Joe finds out that it has not he immediately calls the prosecutor and gets the hearing continued. This saves Joe a wasted court appearance.
  • Joe calls Opposing Counsel in one of the Wednesday cases and gets a continuance.

By devoting a few hours on Thursday morning to clearing the next week’s calendar Joe has just possibly gotten discovery responses out earlier than he otherwise would have. This moves the case along quicker. At worst, the hour or two Joe just devoted to clearing his calendar has saved him many more hours the following week. Joe can then devote these saved hours to writing Motions or getting other work done. This, in turn, moves a case along faster. Clients are then more likely to leave good reviews and refer Joe other potential clients.

For a few tips on improving efficiency check out these articles:

Implementing these steps will help you improve efficiency and you’ll see an increase in revenue for the reasons explained above. You can then wind up looking like this:

Man istting on money

Why do you believe that attorneys don’t see the link between efficiency and revenue? Please chime in through the comment form below.