A recent Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute study found just how much money is potentially at stake from inefficient workflows.
Lawyers often perceive themselves as stuck in an interesting paradox. On the one hand, they will proclaim they do not have time to learn new technology that could help them build efficiency or new business development techniques. On the other, they will also tell you that they don’t have the same volume of work they once did. The two sides of this paradox are not mutually exclusive.
Savvy lawyers realize that an hour spent on a task, but which cannot be billed to the client, is an easy hour to eliminate. But it goes further: Any hour worked but not realized as collected revenue is an hour that can be targeted for streamlining.
Improved technologies when strategically employed and combined with meaningful examination of workflow can obviously help create new efficiencies. This in turn helps to meet client demands for outside counsel that are more cost-effective and efficient.
So why aren’t law firms more eager to adopt these measures? To simply say “change is hard” or “lawyers are change/risk averse” is an oversimplification. More directly, lawyers don’t feel the negative impact in their pocketbook. The interesting wrinkle, though, is that you can’t feel what was never there to begin with.
The Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute recently undertook an effort to quantify just how much money is potentially at stake from inefficient workflows. The study sought to quantify just how much of an average lawyer’s valuable time falls victim to the practice of write-downs, reducing the client’s bill before it is even sent. Hours written down are often a recognition that too many hours were spent producing the work product. The study focused on determining which tasks typically resulted in the greatest number of hours written down.