Opening a new law firm can be exiting and stressful at the same time but there are a few considerations that will save you time while billing all your clients quickly.
Planning – All new firms need to think about the process of:
- Getting clients,
- Provide your clients with your services,
- Track the matter information,
- Generate and store document,
- Keep track of time, billing and collection
This is where a good IT consulting firm like 2b1 inc. can make a big difference. There are many network consulting firms but very few know enough about small law firms that can help them to make decisions on what is needed.
Granted that IT firm can’t do much in getting you clients, they can on the other hand help in keeping track of potential leads. There are Contact Relation Management programs that allow new firms to do marketing. Next is time to start providing services to the clients. This is where a case management program comes handy.
A case management program like Amicus Attorney allows your firm to open files/matters of your clients and track all the people involved in the matter (client, opposing party, expert, judge, etc) also what you do on that file by tracking appointments, tasks, phone calls, e-mail, messages, documents and time.
Next we need to post the time to a billing program to generate and send the bills out. Finally you need to keep track of the client that pay with retainers, trust accounts or directly to the invoice with checks or credit cards. Amicus Premium Billing, Timeslips, PCLaw, QuickBooks are some of the regular and good choices.
These days you also need to have a good e-mail system that allows your firm to share the information with your clients and with your mobile devices – phones and tablets. Hosted e-mail services like 2b1Mail will provide an inexpensive alternative to buying a whole e-mail server and maintaining it.
Don’t forget that we will need to securely backup your important data. Onsite and online backup has become accessible. Make sure that you keep your client information private. Many of the consumer backup (as seen on TV…) allow their employees access to yours and your clients document content and therefore you are open to malpractice issues. 2b1Backup will keep you safe from these problems.
After helping new and existing law firms for 16 years we have seen what works and what doesn’t. Let us know if you have questions and we will answer them in additional postings. Feel free to contact us if you have more specific questions or needs.
Paolo Broggi, IT Engineer