Time And Cost Saving Tips For Solo Lawyers


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How to save time and cut costs when you first hang your shingle.

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Time And Cost Saving Tips For Solo Lawyers

  1. 1. © 2014 MyCase | Time And Cost Saving Tips For Solo Lawyers www.mycase.com 1 Time And Cost Saving Tips For Solo Lawyers By Nicole Black, Director of Business Development at MyCase Tips For Cutting Costs When You First Hang Your Shingle___________2 Four Technologies Solos Should Invest In__________________________3 Don’t Waste Your Money On These 3 Things_______________________4 Top 3 Time Saving Tips For Solos________________________________5 Don’t Overlook The Benefits Of These 3 Technologies______________6
  2. 2. © 2014 MyCase | Time And Cost Saving Tips For Solo Lawyers www.mycase.com 2 “Keep your costs low and focus on mission critical issues for your law firm rather than spending money on expensive equipment and high end office furniture. So, if you’re a contract lawyer, ­investing in a top of the line research system is important — but if you expect to conduct research only once every few months, use Google Scholar — it’s free.” —Carolyn Elefant, author of “Solo By Choice: How to Be the Lawyer You’ve Always Wanted to Be.” Tips For Cutting Costs When You First Hang Your Shingle 1) Carefully assess your needs and spend money on things that are important to the core of your practice, while cutting corners in other, less critical areas. 2) Avoid investing in unnecessary office expenditures, such as obsolete technologies. Doing so will only cause you headaches and end up costing more in the long run. 3) Consider a home office, sharing office space, co-working with other new lawyers, or renting space from an established law firm. New technologies, especially cloud computing, make it easier than ever for you to run your law practice and practice law in just about any setting. Take advantage of the newfound freedom and choices offered by 21st century technologies.
  3. 3. © 2014 MyCase | Time And Cost Saving Tips For Solo Lawyers www.mycase.com 3 Four Technologies Solos Should Invest In 1) Purchase a reliable computer system, and ensure that your law office has dependable, fast Internet access. These days, it’s impossible to run a law practice without computers and access to the Internet. Wisely choosing and investing in a powerful and up-to-date computer system will pay off in the long run. 2) Invest in an affordable and easy-to-use law practice management system. For more flexibility and cost-savings, consider a cloud-based system, so you can manage your practice no matter where you are, any time of day or night. Make sure to test drive a number of platforms so that you can choose the one that seems most intuitive and works best for your law firm. 3) Make sure your office has a robust phone and answering system, which may or may not include a receptionist. To cut costs, consider using a free service such as Google Voice, a virtual receptionist service, or hiring a receptionist part-time rather than full-time. 4) Also important is investing in a basic, professional website for your law firm, since your firm’s website is the 21st century version of your front door. These days, people skip the Yellow Pages and head right to Google, so make sure that your firm’s website makes a good first impression. “Things like fancy office space which were once considered critical are now obsolete. Also obsolete are desktop-based law practice management systems. For lawyers who want to take advantage of outsourced labor, such as virtual assistants, desktop LPMs pose security and confidentiality risks, since remote access to the firm’s servers allows users access to all of the firm’s files. Select legal cloud-based systems, on the other hand, have built-in tools to address security issues for multiple users by granting permission-based access to only specific files and documents.” — Carolyn Elefant
  4. 4. © 2014 MyCase | Time And Cost Saving Tips For Solo Lawyers www.mycase.com 4 Don’t Waste Your Money On These 3 Things 1) Don’t bother investing in a fax machine. They’re obsolete and were replaced years ago by efaxes, which are now being replaced by scanning technologies and/or sharing documents via email or secure online portals. 2) Also not worth spending money on are unreliable or unproven online marketing tools or consultants making baseless promises. Do research ahead of time and make sure that any money you invest in SEO or paid online lawyer directories will be money well spent. 3) Another way to save money is to avoid using full-time receptionists, paralegals, or associates, when 21st technologies make it possible to use part- time virtual receptionists and virtual legal assistants, thus offering what may very well be a better, more affordable solution. “Lawyers often waste money on paid SEO services. This is particularly so when the law firm’s website is sub-par to begin with. The best SEO in the world is useless if potential clients arrive at a website with no relevant content. Paid directory services and lead generation websites also generally tend to be a waste of money since the return on investment is not good and people get locked into long contracts given that short term ones are rarely available. People spend thousands of dollars each month and the end results usually aren’t good. For some lawyers, the same money could be better spent by hosting a gathering for local attorneys and referral sources each month, likely resulting in a better return.” — Carolyn Elefant
  5. 5. © 2014 MyCase | Time And Cost Saving Tips For Solo Lawyers www.mycase.com 5 Top 3 Time Saving Tips For Solos 1) Save time by efficiently using mobile technologies, including smart phones, tablets, and mobile apps, such as scanner apps and PDF annotation apps. 2) Take advantage of the flexibility, mobility and affordability of cloud computing platforms for practice management, including time tracking, billing, contact management, document management and assembly, and secure online client portals. 3) Use collaboration tools in a secure online environment to communicate with clients, co-counsel and other people important to your law practice and case files. Doing so puts an end to phone tag and makes it easy for keep everyone up to date on the latest case developments. “Mobile devices are ideal for checking emails, social media, etc. and makes your time away from work more productive since you can squeeze more work into the cracks. The cloud also makes things easier. 20 years ago I worked with lawyers in other states and we communicated by phone, email, and snail mail. These days, the cloud makes it simple and seamless to pair up with a lawyer in a different jurisdiction and market, giving solos so much more power and resources to get things done.” — Carolyn Elefant
  6. 6. © 2014 MyCase | Time And Cost Saving Tips For Solo Lawyers www.mycase.com 6 Don’t Overlook The Benefits Of These 3 Technologies 1) Make use of the Internet and the vast resources it makes available. With just the touch of a button, you can now easily access information that was once only available in libraries or through costly subscriber-only databases. Learn how to locate and take full advantage of all of the data available online. 2) Cloud technologies have revolutionized the way that business is conducted. Instead of being confined to your office, you can now easily access your law firm’s data and run your law practice from anywhere, as long as you have an Internet connection. Don’t pass up the opportunity to put this 21st century technology to work for your law office. 3) If it is available in the courts in which you practice, take the time to learn the ins and outs of eFiling. Doing so will save you time and money, since you’ll no longer have to make multiple copies of filings and then pay to have them delivered to the courthouse. Instead, you can accomplish the same task with just a click of your mouse. “Solos need to take advantage of the many benefits of Google and the Internet generally. For example family law attorneys can use the Internet for research and investigations of the parties involved in a case — something that, before the Internet, could only be accomplished by hiring an investigator at great expense. Another invaluable 21st century tool is eFiling. It has slashed the costs of filing a case and you can dash something off your desk at 10 minutes to midnight rather than making 30 copies and sending it off via costly overnight mail.” — Carolyn Elefant
  7. 7. © 2014 MyCase | Time And Cost Saving Tips For Solo Lawyers www.mycase.com 7 Ready to love your practice management software? MyCase 30-Day Free Trial Like what you’ve read? There’s more where that came from. Read more in our Guide To The Cloud. WHAT IS MYCASE? MyCase, a subsidiary of AppFolio, is an affordable, intuitive and powerful practice management software designed for the modern law firm. Easily organize your firm with a complete solution-- contacts, calendars, cases, documents, time tracking, and billing. Reap the timesaving benefits of MyCase’s integrated client portal so everyone stays informed and connected. Learn more at www.MyCase.com. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Nicole Black is Director of Business Development at MyCase, a cloud-based law practice management platform. She is an attorney in Rochester, NY, and is a GigaOM Pro analyst. She is the author of the ABA book Cloud Computing for Lawyers, coauthored the ABA book Social Media for Lawyers: The Next Frontier, and coauthored “Criminal Law in New York,” a West-Thomson treatise. She speaks regularly at conferences regarding the intersection of law and technology. She publishes three legal blogs and can be reached at niki@mycase.com. CONNECT WITH US: