Every business is unique and often that uniqueness is tied to climate or culture. In our view, law firms – the business of law – aren’t exempt.
Certainly the focus of a case study is to draw forth exactly how a law firm or legal department is using a given technology and quantify the benefits, but the use-case itself usually not the only story.
Subtly in the layers, attorneys offer some incredibly insightful anecdotes on, for example, how a law firm approaches problem solving or client service. We try to bring these anecdotes to life on these pages, and recently there are four that stand out in our minds.
1. Client Service: The Sundown Rule
Relationships are everything to the attorneys at The Law Office of Stebelton, Aranda & Snider, in Lancaster, Ohio. They are so committed to putting their clients’ needs first, the firm enforces a strict “sundown rule.” The rule is simple – all client calls need to be returned by the end of the day, no exceptions. This no holds barred approach to client service extends well past day light hours, making all attorneys in the firm available to clients 24/7. Additional reading:
- Case study: Nothing really compares to what Juris has to offer…
- Blog post: Small Law Client Service Continues Even After Sundown
2. Modeling other Industries: Rollover Hours
Hans Gillinger, an attorney and founder of the Law Offices of Hans. A. Gillinger, PLC, uses an unorthodox approach to law firm billing. He models client retainers after mobile phone plans. Mr. Gillinger offers a variation of the “roll over minutes” billing structure that has proven an effective way for his firm to provide clients with more predictability about monthly legal bills. He and his clients agree to a monthly retainer at the beginning of the relationship – and any unused time during slower months is “rolled over” to cover the busier months. Additional reading:
3. Thinking outside the Industry
Did you hear the one about attorney that recommended an engineer use law firm billing software? There’s no punchline here – it really happened and with great success. Christine Ruther, owner of C&R Engineering, a solo biomedical engineering consulting firm, took the counsel of her brother-in-law, who is an attorney, and never looked back. She found the integrated billing and accounting features in legal software fit her engineering needs perfectly. Engineers seem to think about problems differently like building an airport on an artificial island – and there’s creative thinking in that thinking! Additional reading:
- Blog post: Why an Attorney Referred an Engineer to Legal Billing Software
4. Super Lawyers are Brutally Efficient
A small law firm with roughly 10 clients can mean partners reading upwards of 5,000 or more client emails over the lifecycle of a case. Often these are easy emails either but complex threads with a myriad of client privileged documents, spreadsheets and contracts. It’s too information for anyone one person to manage – even a super lawyer with a bona fide cape. The remedy? “Brutal efficiency,” according to Cheryl Clayton of the Law Practice of Cheryl Clayton. Instead of trying to manage that enormous amount of information by herself, she decided it was time to delegate that work to a new member of her team – technology. Additional reading:
- Case study: Searching for “brutally efficient,” discovering Time Matters® practice…
- Blog post: Why Being Brutal is Best: A Solo Attorney on Efficiency
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Does your firm have a unique philosophy, strategy or technique you’d like to share? Please feel free in the comments, send us an email or hit us up on Twitter: @Business_of_Law
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