Inefficient Case Management
Time is our most valuable commodity and lawyers, even those that bill by the hour, need to learn how to manage their time more effectively. It is no secret that clients perceive the billable model hour as something that promotes inefficiency. The burden of proof is on you to overcome that perception. Here are three clues to clients that you aren’t making the grade.
- Your discovery motion requests that opposing counsel produce their documents in paper form. In 2015, no matter how small the discovery, virtually every single paper document was “born” electronically and is available in electronic form. It is not only faster to produce electronically, in the long-term, it is less expensive. Think about the costs on both sides that happen when your opponent prints electronic data (printing cost) and delivers it in paper form (postage/shipping) to you, the lawyer, who then sends the documents (delivery costs) to a copy and scan center to either print duplicate copies (printing costs) or, more likely, scans the documents (fees) so that they can be reviewed electronically. This process, repeated time and again, takes up unnecessary time and promotes added costs and inefficiencies. All it takes for your client to realize this is one look at the discovery motion.
- Failure to use the technology properly. Review technology is more sophisticated than ever and it is increasingly affordable to use. But if you aren’t making use of sophisticated data analytics to cull unwanted documents and reduce the size of your physical review, you are costing your client money in more ways than one. It’s inefficient and it exposes you to the risk of missing court ordered deadlines and incurring sanctions. There is no doubt that the technology responsibilities placed on lawyers today are incredibly high, but there are cost-effective ways to address these challenges AND deliver greater results to your clients.
- Finally, failure to manage your technology usage properly is costing your clients money and you their business. One of the easiest ways to make your clients love you is to manage your electronic document review smart by keeping an eye on hidden charges. Two places to focus is on the number of users accessing the system and storage of unnecessary data. Most review platforms charge fees for user licensesand for data storage. Monitoring these numbers closely offers an easy win for your clients. First, make sure the logins you are paying for, are being used. Often, there are more users during early stages of the review but the number of reviewers goes down over time. Instead of paying a monthly fee for user licenses that aren’t being used, remove those accounts. This is such an easy fix and in a world where pennies matter, these charges are more than pennies. They are hard dollars.
Similarly, work with your legal services partner to manage the data being hosted. Oftentimes after the initial review, native files can be archived, preserving the data without having to pay unnecessary hosting fees. There are lots of ways to do this. The important thing is to create a system where you are monitoring. Just think that you could pay that associate you don’t need for review to manage your case efficiently and demonstrate to your client cost savings over the life of the project.