A systems audit analyzes how you do things and makes recommendations on how to make them better. The goal is to make your firm more organized, more productive, and most importantly, more profitable.
First, we conduct interviews of your attorneys and staff to determine how they are doing things. A detailed review of your existing systems, such as billing, accounting, trust, document production, case management, contact management, etc. is done, and is accomplished by interviews of attorneys and staff, and by an analysis of procedures and polices that affect each system in the firm. We then define the goals as determined by the management of the firm.
We have 340 years of experience in consulting for Law Firms, and have seen what works and what does not. After a careful analysis of the polices and procedures in place, we make our recommendations accordingly. A detailed report is then issued to the firm with sections on analysis, problem definition, recommendations, time-lines and costs involved.
Most firms use this as their planning document for the upcoming years. Many firms also implement the recommendations in a phased in manner. How you implement the recommendations is a team effort.
Billing and Accounting Systems
There is nothing more important in a law Firm than its billing and accounting systems. Without an efficient billing system, cash flow gets strained, and you are always asking yourself "...why do I work so hard for so little money?" We believe that the firm's billing system is the lifeblood of the firm, and must be the right one, It must be properly implemented, There must be rules about time entries and billing MUST be done in a timely manner.
First, do you have the right billing system? That question is answered by asking a lot of questions about your practice mix, your current billing methods, your reporting requirements and your future plans. Once we gather that information, our wide knowledge of billing systems will allow us to make proper recommendations as to the right billing system for your needs.
Once your billing system has been chosen, we will assist you in converting the data (if you are moving from one system to another) or in setting out the implementation plan. Coming up to speed as quickly as possible is very important to the process. We will direct your staff on how to bring balances forward, how to start time entry, how to enter costs, how to do draft bills and edit them, how to do final bills, post payments and understand how the entire cycle works.
Most importantly, we teach you how to MANAGE your billing system, which includes the analysis of the productivity of attorneys and staff, and the analysis and management of your accounts receivable. The information gleaned from your billing system is valuable to the running of your practice.
Using the right billing system, and using it properly, can result in up to a 20% increase in your net receipts. Remember, choosing and using a billing system is more than just purchasing the software - it needs the people behind it to make it work right. We will teach you and your staff to do it right.
Based on the unique needs and goals of the firm, we can recommend the best Practice Management System for you. You might ask the question: just WHAT is a Practice Management System?
A Practice Management System views the client and matter as a whole, and integrates the information about clients, contacts, matters, notes to the file, calendars, document production, emails, scanned images and billing/accounting and MORE into one simple and coordinated system. In essence, the information about a client and their matter is in the computer and available to everyone.
Examples of Practice Management Systems are: Amicus Attorney, TABS/Practice Master,Time Matters, Needles, Abacus, PC Law, Juris, and other well known software packages.
Choosing and properly using a Practice Management System means that you enter a client name only once. It means that you have total control of your workload. It means you know where you are in every file at all times. It means that you know what needs to be done and when. It means knowing how much anyone owes you at the click of a mouse. It means knowing your deadlines and everyone's calendar. It means you create documents automatically with a click of the mouse. It means created and scanned documents are linked to the file. It means your emails are are linked to the client matter for easy use. It means, in its highest and best implementation, a paperless office. .
Practice Management provides the firm with the ability to know everything about a matter without actually going to the file itself. How many times have you had to look for a file just to get a small piece of information. like someone's address or phone number? How much time do you put into organizing and finding all emails for a single matter? How many times have you been ready to conclude a matter and find out that there is missing information? How many times have you not been able to find a file at all when you need it?
It should be noted that the SINGLE biggest cause of lawyer malpractice claims is due to missed deadlines. Practice Management Systems can allow you open a file and AUTOMATICALLY define the calendar of critical events, such as statute of limitations, discovery dates, etc. These "calendar templates" do not allow things to fall through the cracks.
It is important to note that each developer of a Practice Management System (like Amicus, Abacus, etc.) will do roughly the same tasks, but HOW they accomplish these tasks is very different from package to package. We also have dealt with these companies on a regular basis, and we know who has the best technical support. Make no mistake about it - the software salesman will always tout their technical support, but when you really need it will it be there? because we work with these companies constantly, we know the REAL story on their technical support.
Our 30 years of consulting has allowed us to see what works and what does not with these systems, to understand the goals of the firm and to make the right recommendations for you. Our experience with these software packages allows up to get the most from them to meet your needs.
Once those recommendations are made, we will install and configure the right system for you. We can customize the system to fit your needs perfectly. We can train the attorneys and staff to get the most from the software. We can help you to get off the ground with the programs. We can guide you and advise you as you begin the implementations. We support you all the way to success.
If you have hesitated to implement Practice Management for whatever reason, you can now rest easy - we are there to guide and assist you all the way.
Document Assembly is one of the best ways you can get more productivity from your attorneys and staff....period. But you might ask "....just what is document assembly anyway?"
Document assembly is the automatic creation of documents used in your practice. In its simplest form, it is made up of documents like fee agreements, letters of representation, requests, demands, motions, pleadings, complaints, estate and trust documents, etc. It allows the user to assemble a finished documents in minutes rather than hours. The document has the proper names, pronouns etc. all in the right place and in the right gender. Needless to say, it is rather embarrassing to send a completed document with the wrong gender buried somewhere in the body of the document because you missed it after the "cut and paste" of an old document and the proofreading did not pick it up.
Document Assembly is accomplished by using your current word processor, creating a template of the body of the text (the fixed information), then programming the document to accept such variable information such as name, address, pronouns, gender, etc. put in the right place in the document. When you tell the system to assemble the document, it takes the names, addresses, etc. and automatically inserts them into the right places.
Document Assembly is most often used in conjunction with a Practice Management System to provide the database of people and words needed to properly complete the assembly of the document. For instance, you would open a new file, enter all the information about the client and the case, then click on the template and tell it to assemble the final document. You then can edit the assembled document before saving it. This often times takes mere minutes instead of hours. Imagine having the documents perfect every time!