Exchanging time for money is not exclusive to the consumer market – there are high value professional services that use this method of charging, too.
When time isn’t money
It might come as a surprise that many legal practices still rely very heavily on ‘old fashioned’ solutions. The fact is, they work, they’re reliable and why ‘fix’ what isn’t broken?
Printers are essential. Reams of paper fly through these hard-working machines every day. It’s not just general correspondence, either – failing to meet deadlines in a solicitor’s practice can have a huge negative impact on their client’s lives.
So, good maintenance and a solid support plan are crucial – but there’s another factor to consider: speed. Remember, time is money, so waiting ten minutes for a contract to print could cost you, or your client, a significant amount of money. We recommend centralised printers that are designed for high-speed and high-volume. The time spent walking to the printer to collect your documents is far more efficient – not to mention healthy – than waiting for your desktop inkjet.
Dictaphones no longer require little cassette tapes, but they are still a tool of choice for many legal professionals. It’s another way to be more efficient. Legal secretaries don’t just type quickly, but accurately, too – so dictation is an efficient method of working. Make sure your support team are familiar with digital dictation and file transfers. Losing hours of work because a dictation file goes missing is an expensive problem!
No system is foolproof. Having a support plan in place to cover not just PCs, but peripheral tools, as well, is the key to a smooth-running office and a profitable day. Agree Service Level Agreements (SLA’s) with support providers, so you can have confidence in their response time and be clear on what support is covered. A support contract with a guaranteed response time is more expensive, but consider the cost to the business when systems are non-operational.
Systemisation – forms, templates and more
Having worked with legal professionals for many years, I can honestly say they have the most files per seat, compared to other industries. It’s not just their working documentation, but hundreds, if not thousands of legal forms and templates. That’s great for efficient working, but only when they’re carefully organised, used correctly and accessible to those who need them.
I recommend reviewing file storage policies in any business, having a consistent filing system and file naming protocol allows the entire team to share resources. It also negates the need to have ‘personal copies’ of key documents – centralised files are essential to ensure the whole team are using the most up-to-date forms.
For the legal profession, this could mean court or case management software, but my advice is equally applicable to any mission-critical tools.
Include all essential software in your SLA’s. Review your agreements on a regular basis – if you have new software, be sure to add this to your contract. If a support company isn’t familiar with your system, they won’t be able to help you hit your deadline when you face an issue.
Key takeaways – when time is money
- Look for efficiencies, be that in printers or response times for support.
- Check your support contract includes all your equipment, from PCs to Dictaphones.
- Be clear on the level of support you need and have SLA’s in place to give you peace of mind and to protect your billable hours.
If you’re a practice manager and you want the peace of mind that your IT systems, software and peripherals are kept in tip-top-money-making shape, get in touch. We’re specialists in IT support for solicitors, giving them uninterrupted service across their IT infrastructure.