Sharpening the Axe: Boosting Productivity in Law Firms

by | May 2, 2023

As a law firm owner or manager, you understand the importance of maximizing productivity while controlling payroll costs. Inefficient workflows and wasted time can eat away at your bottom line, and finding ways to improve productivity and efficiency is crucial.

One area often overlooked is staff training in the technology used daily. The computer is the most-used tool in the office, and it’s crucial to ensure that your staff uses it efficiently. This article will explore the hidden costs of inefficient workflows in law firms and the value of investing in staff training.

The Cost of Inefficient Workflows

Let’s start with an example. Imagine a staff member for your firm who takes the scenic route to file papers downtown, adding an extra 10 minutes to the daily trip. While the extra time may seem insignificant, it adds up. Over a year, that one employee wastes 40 hours inefficiently completing that task (an average of 244 days worked in the private sector). Those are 40 hours that could have been spent on other work.

This is just one example of how inefficient workflows can add up and cost your firm money. Payroll costs are already high in the legal industry. According to a 2019 survey by the National Association for Law Placement (NALP), law firm labor costs (including salaries, benefits, and payroll taxes) accounted for an average of 70.5% of total expenses for law firms in the United States. Anything you can do to increase output while fixing payroll costs will improve your profits.

Focus on Processes

Many firms will throw people at the problem of being busy by increasing their hiring, but this approach is expensive and doesn’t address the root cause. Instead, focus on processes instead of bodies. The value of training your staff with the technology they use daily cannot be overstated.

At GlobalMac IT, one of our core values is “Work Smart.” We encourage our team to bring solutions, prioritize, plan, and take ownership. And investing in your people can increase their output while keeping payroll costs the same.

The Value of Staff Training

Your staff spends more time on their computer than any other tool in the office. Yet, many firms assume that their staff is as proficient on the computer as they are. This is a mistake. All firms include employees with various skill sets, and even the most tech-savvy workers can benefit from training.

Email, calendar, contracts, PDF management, word processing programs, and case management are all tools that people access daily. If your staff has trained themselves, they are likely using inefficient ways to complete tasks on their computer. Wasting just 10 minutes daily works out to 40 hours per person annually. Multiply that by your entire staff, and the cost adds up quickly. Investing in staff training is a cost-effective way to improve productivity and efficiency. By providing ongoing training, you can help your staff to become more comfortable and confident in using their computers, which will help them in everything they do.

Make Training a Priority

Putting off staff training in favor of more pressing tasks is easy. However, the benefits of training are too significant to ignore. By investing in your staff’s skills, you can increase output while keeping payroll costs under control.

Additionally, staff training can positively impact employee satisfaction and retention. Employees who feel invested in and valued are likelier to stay with the company long-term. Offering opportunities for skill development and growth can help to create a culture of continuous improvement and engagement within your firm.

One of the best practices we have enacted here at GlobalMac IT are 45-minute all-staff “Growth Sessions” led by the leadership team and held every other week. This is a significant cost for the company to have every single employee attend, but the benefits of being trained to be more productive are well worth the investment.

The Role of Technology

Of course, staff training is just one piece of the puzzle regarding improving productivity and efficiency in your law firm. The role of technology cannot be overlooked. Slow or outdated technology can significantly drag on productivity, leading to wasted time and increased frustration for your staff.

In a previous blog post, we discussed the “Cost of Slow” and how critical it is that your staff has access to fast, modern computers to assist them in completing their work. Upgrading your equipment is a fixed cost and can significantly improve productivity in the long run.

However, even with the best equipment, staff training is still essential. Your staff needs to be comfortable and confident in using the technology available. By providing ongoing training and support, you can help your team to become more efficient and productive, leading to a better bottom line for your firm.

Time = Money

Inefficient workflows can cost your law firm money through wasted time and increased payroll costs. By investing in staff training, you can improve productivity and efficiency while keeping payroll costs under control. Providing ongoing training and support can help your staff to become more comfortable and confident in using their computers, leading to a better bottom line for your firm.

Don’t overlook the value of staff training in improving productivity and efficiency in your law firm. With the proper training and support, your staff can become more productive and efficient, leading to increased profitability for your firm.

If you need some quick tips to implement now, check out our monthly Stupid Simple Mac Tips for quick and easy ways to increase efficiency on Mac computers.