Are You Spending Too Much Time on Nonlegal Work?
In 2 recent studies, small law firms reported that they spent a significant portion of their time on nonlegal work. Running a law practice is a business and that means there are a lot of administrative tasks that must get done. However, when lawyers do too much of that work, it can seriously hurt the productivity and profitability of the firm.
The Clio Legal Trends report surveyed 3,000 legal professionals finding that office administration, generating and sending bills, configuring technology, and collections are all tasks that, combined, eat away 48% of time that could otherwise be spent on billable tasks. Similarly, in the Thomson 2017 State of U.S. Small Law Firms study, attorneys reported spending nearly 40% of their workday on tasks other than practicing law.
On top of the administrative tasks, lawyers also must make time to bring in new business. How can small law firms succeed when there are only so many hours in a day? Many small law firms report that time efficiency is an important factor contributing to the overall success of their practice. That’s why managing partners should take a detailed look at how much time they are really spending on nonlegal work and consider ways that time can be reduced.
Many attorneys are bad at delegating, but it’s important for lawyers to focus on what they do best – practicing law and bringing in business. Even within those areas, lawyers need to make choices. For example, certain types of legal work can be given to associates rather than partners. Paralegals can provide assistance. The point is to realize that if the job can be done by someone else at a lower cost, it makes economic sense to delegate it, so senior lawyers can focus on the most valuable work.
Managing the nonlegal workload as effectively as possible can have a big impact on the success of the firm. However, no matter how great your time management skills are, other factors can make it hard to run your legal practice. Contingent fee attorneys often have an additional administrative struggle. Because they have an irregular cashflow, they must be especially cognizant of managing their finances to ensure they can pay bills on time. RapidFunds helps law firms run their practice by providing post-settlement funding – often within 24 hours – giving firms the money they need now.