During this mandated “work from home” period, you must keep a positive mindset. Your physical doors are closed, but your virtual doors are wide open. You share smiles with clients and prospects. You have the same “can-do” attitude. You continue to help clients be successful and seek new clients to help as well.
Your patience and can-do attitude are essential for your clients’ success and for your firm.
Another essential factor for success is technology. Over the past few weeks, I have consulted with and listened to law firm partners, administrators, IT providers and their remote staff. We shared ideas about maintaining patience and balance. Also, while the “can-do” attitude was present, so were technical remote work issues. Many firms are overwhelmed because of outdated technology, antiquated servers, no remote access, and slow internet connectivity. They have not leveraged cloud solutions for tracking billable time, performing day-to-day accounting functions, accessing files and/or documents, and calendars. Everything is stored on their physical company server.
During these conversations, it became quite apparent that most of the law firms did not have emergency plans, or did not have adequate plans. They had never faced a technical emergency, at least one of this magnitude, since starting their practice. Much of their frustration dealing with their “work from home” employees is due to the lack of state-of-the-art technology (a.k.a. cloud/SaaS solutions).
Patience and Focus
On a daily basis, these law firms do their best to manage remote employees while troubleshooting and resolving one issue after another with their antiquated technology. Emotional issues add to the stress. According to the Center for Disease Control, feelings of social isolation is a common reaction associated with COVID-19. In addition, employees may be experiencing mounting frustrations due to:
- Not being productive
- Having to learn new work habits
- Having family members home as a constant distraction
- Pressing financial concerns (staff and partners).
Administration must watch for signs of work-related stresses such as “job burnout”, emotional exhaustion, reduced accomplishment, and loss of personal identity. Below are a few points to share with your attorneys and staff—and remind them often.
- Focus on others
- Focus on relationships
- Focus on creating value
- Focus on your opportunities
- Focus on your progress
- Focus on who you can be
- Focus on responses
- Focus on what’s available
- Focus on your gratitude.
The Future and Technology
You must put the future in your sights and in your hands.
Staying awake late at night asking, “Why did I not listen to the recommendations for the cloud solution?” is not productive. Don’t let memories of rival law firms bragging how their cloud software made them more efficient and profitable take over like a song that echoes all day.
Instead, think about time, billing, accounting, document storage, workflow, and matter management software that they implemented. Think about a virtual phone system. For example, the Dialup system works from your desktop, laptop, tablet, and mobile phone. It has optional web conferencing. You can use your current phone numbers and route them through the Dialup system. For all web apps your firm will use, quantify (even roughly) the time saved and what it means for getting more done, serving more clients, and boosting profitability.
In other words, think about the high return on your investment.
Then start taking action. Time, billing, and accounting should be first on your list. It is central to everything you do. (Also, it impacts attorneys the least.)
- Review websites
- Watch a few videos
- Attend a few software demonstrations
- Test drive software
- Ask the right questions about migrating your data and training
- Get a quote
- Subscribe to your new cloud application
- Implement your software.
The pandemic that we are living through is scary, disruptive, and challenging. You, me and everyone else are learning to adapt quickly. COVID-19 will likely keep us working from home for a few more months. You know now that your antiquated technology needs to be replaced with cloud solutions. At least, you should work through your firm requirements and do your research. Implementing your new cloud time, billing, and accounting now will increase your productivity and the value of your billable hours sooner. Of course, that means increased profitability too.
Recognize your fears, concerns, and challenges. Then stay calm—even as you’re yelling at the dog or your kids to be quiet. Put the focus list above on the side of your computer monitor and read it a few times a day.
And prepare for and act on the future. Don’t wait to return to your office. Boost productivity and profits with cloud software now.
About the Author
Rosemary Kupfert is Product Expert at Core Legal for BQE Software, Inc., and has more than 30 years of experience working in and with law firms. From her time as a firm administrator to her many years consulting with over 1,000 law firms nationwide, Rosemary has helped firms with business and technology needs. She has improved firm workflow and administrative efficiency. Also, Rosemary has implemented time, billing, accounting, case management, document assembly and management, and docketing solutions.