Law Society partner LEAP Legal Software sets out how you can use technology to generate long-term growth for your legal business

Growth and profitability are paramount for law firms. To keep client bases growing and profits increasing year-on-year, it’s critical to keep sight of the bigger picture so success can be measured and sustained.

Going for growth

However, creating consistent, long-term growth can prove elusive. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the day-to-day running of a practice.

Many businesses hire more staff to inject life into stagnating revenue or fall back on repeating what has been successful in the past. While this is a logical approach, the only true way to generate long-term growth is through regularly creating new ways of doing things.

Change gives your business the opportunity to re-energise itself and achieve financial growth. Long-lasting growth only comes from committing to continual improvement over time, so it becomes part of the firm’s DNA.

Business leaders must establish and maintain a culture of innovation, so the whole firm is accustomed to continuous improvement. 

Driving innovation with technology

Often, the clearest path to innovation is through new technology. Firms should look ahead and think long term by transforming processes even when business is flourishing.

As a catalyst for change, the cloud technology and legal software that a law firm adopts is crucially important. Cutting-edge cloud technology partners are known for introducing new functionality within their software that drives change and enables firms to remain technologically relevant.

The software’s continual evolution creates organic and repeated cycles of growth, supporting firms to succeed and become increasingly profitable over time.

Software providers have a great responsibility to innovate on a law firm’s behalf. If a technology supplier fails to innovate, then firms run the risk of stagnation. 

Top tips for business growth

Here are five recommendations for firms to help initiate and maintain business growth.

1. Invest in a single solution

Having multiple databases of information is inefficient, costly and frustrating for a firm, its staff, and probably its clients as well. Cobbling disparate systems together can be inefficient and limit profitability.

A platform that offers workflow control, automated forms and precedents, document management, accounting and billing in one place will provide huge long-term benefits to a firm’s bottom line.

2. Benefit from a document production system

Producing correspondence of all kinds is the ‘stock-in-trade’ of most lawyers. The easier, faster and more accurately correspondence can be produced, the better service a firm will provide and the lower the costs will be.

A system that not only offers a wealth of automated legal forms covering common areas of law but also updates the forms in line with any law changes, including legal rates and charges, will save time manually revising and researching.

3. Make use of cloud technology

The cloud is data that is stored in a different location from where it is accessed. It’s used commonly every day, from email to internet banking. The cloud is a safe and secure technology that is also more economical than traditional on-premises configurations.

Cloud technology gives businesses access to high-quality IT infrastructure – something normally beyond the IT budget of most firms. It also enables staff to work across multiple devices and from any location.

Data is constantly synchronised across devices when connected to the internet. This flexibility helps firms to be more productive and can also considerably improve staff morale by offering a better work / life balance.

4. Speed up time recording and billing

In most firms, accurate time recording is crucial to financial performance. However, historically, the process of recording time accurately has been made difficult through clumsy systems.

Firms are losing time because of poor systems that don’t allow users to time record information such as email sent from smartphones or work on a matter that hasn’t yet been opened.

Software that can simplify time recording will dramatically improve fee-earner efficiency and productivity.

5. Improve client communication

Over the past decade, email has become ubiquitous for lawyers and clients. This means that important documents can often get lost in inboxes. Email is also an unsecure medium for sending confidential documents, so firms run the risk of being hacked or mistakenly sharing sensitive information.

A document management system that enables secure collaboration with clients or other parties, such as barristers or estate agents, can avoid wasted time and provide complete control of who can access any information at any given time.

Rather than waiting for the crisis of decline to strike before attempting to introduce changes, businesses should embrace continuous innovation. Investing in the right technology is a pivotal driver to support this.