In my experience, you can’t find a successful law firm that doesn’t have a deep desire to be the best at what they do. Every firm wants to improve at how they manage cases by winning better settlements, treating clients better, and making fewer mistakes.
But at the same time, firms can’t lose sight of speed—the faster you can run your cases, the more clients you can serve and the more revenue you bring in. For a lot of firms, this can create a tricky balance between quality and speed.
In this post, I want to talk about this balance and share a new perspective: With the right case management software, you don’t have to choose between quality and speed.
First, remember what’s at stake here. Our clients want two things: They want us to get them as much money as we can, and they want it as fast as possible. Most lawyers understand the importance of maximizing a recovery, but many underestimate the importance of getting that recovery fast. Our firm’s focus, which I believe gives us a sustained competitive advantage over our rivals, is moving cases fast without sacrificing value. Countless clients have given us rave reviews because they got their settlement months before friends who went with a different law firm—and our clients ended up with the same recovery as (if not more than) their companions. In short, handle cases better and faster and you will see more happy and valuable clients.
How to Drive the Right Change Quickly
Whether you want to improve the quality or the speed of your case management, you will need to drive change in your firm. You can’t keep everything the same and expect different results. For example, if I have a number of cases and I want to help my clients by moving their cases better and faster, I can try to do that by training people better. Training is important, but it’s also going to be a long road before I’ll see results.
Another change strategy is to try to engineer better workflow systems. This means taking a close look at my firm’s practices and processes to see where we can speed things up or avoid common mistakes. This can work, particularly if I have good analytics to see where work is stalling and where systems need improvement. However, if you don’t have that kind of analysis to power your decision making, you’ll be flying blind.
But I believe the easiest way to run cases better and faster is to have more advanced and user-friendly case management software, or CMS. The right CMS should help my employees do their jobs better and more easily, analyze and measure specific processes to find ways to improve, and deliver many more features that make our work faster and more effective. I couldn’t find any CMS software on the market that did all that to my satisfaction, so we built GrowPath.
Fast Track Routine Tasks with Case Management Software
At a high level, GrowPath allows us to work faster and better by saving countless steps a day. For example, communication with clients is easier because emails and texts go right into our software’s case management record. This avoids duplicative copying and pasting, and reduces the risk of losing an important message.
The software also makes it easy to create merged documents by pushing a button once. Before GrowPath, it used to involve five separate clicks for each merged document. We can also save medical records and other documents to our client’s electronic file. This saves all the documents and client communications in an easy-to-find location for each case. We don’t have to go searching for them somewhere on our network. The case information is right there, at hand.
Speaking of search, here’s how GrowPath handles the process of finding case information. When we need to look up some information on a case we can do a search within the case (like a Google search) and get the results instantly. In the old days, we would have to scroll through an entire case to find the information we were looking for. We can also customize our case screens so that everyone at the firm can see the information that is important to us in each case at a glance. So whether we are talking to our client, an adjuster, or opposing counsel, the information we need is at our fingertips. This easy, quick access to critical information saves time and allows us to advocate more powerfully.
We also move cases faster by using intelligent reminders, reports, and dashboards inside our software. These tools tell us what needs to be done, when, and by whom in real time. When a file is sitting in an attorney’s office waiting on them to review it to decide on a next step, we know about it. And when it is taking too long and bogging down somewhere, we know about it. With our CMS, we can shine a light on the black holes where work would otherwise slow or stall.
Save Time and Do Better Work on Each Case with CMS
So how does this case management software affect the balance between handling cases faster or handling them better? On the faster side, we have found the features of our case management software save us at least 30 minutes per day per employee who works on cases. That means we can either take on more cases or staff more leanly without harming the quality of the work that we deliver.
But the case management software does more than just maintain the existing level of quality in how we handle cases. Actually, the quality of our work is improved, because by doing fewer extraneous tasks we therefore make fewer errors. In addition, our staff loves how the software avoids wasteful steps. That makes them happier in their work, and thus more productive. There is a virtuous cycle of good results set in motion by having software that works so elegantly.
So in conclusion, our case management software helps us rise above the either-or balance between quality and speed in how we handle cases. The result is we manage our cases faster and better by relying on technology to do our best work.
Jim Farrin is CEO of GrowPath. He is also Founder and President of the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin. His law firm has recovered more than $750 million for more than 30,000 clients over the last 20 years.