Practice management advisors help lawyers adapt to rapidly changing times — a recent article in the ABA’s Bar Leader highlights how.
Practice management advisors have long been helping lawyers move forward and continue to improve how they run their practices more efficiently. Here at LCL Massachusetts, we started offering practice management assistance services (known as Mass LOMAP) in 2007. Like other practice management advisors throughout the country, our staff has been assisting lawyers, as well as law students, judges, and other legal professionals in Massachusetts operate efficiently and ethically in areas like office organization, marketing, technology, and more.
Helping lawyers evolve and streamline their operations and overcome practice challenges has been especially critical during the pandemic. This article from the ABA’s November/December 2021 publication of “Bar Leader Magazine” interviews law practice management advisors from around the country — including one of our own advisors at LCL MA, Laura Keeler — on how they’ve been assisting attorneys during the pandemic, and how practice management advisors help lawyers and law firms move forward as they encounter new pain-points. The column also notes how forward-thinking LCL MA has been nationally (and will strive to continue be) in integrating practice management services alongside clinical services, which only a few other lawyer assistance programs throughout the US have done, leaving practice management assistance services to the work of state bar organizations. Whether embedded with LAPs or the bar more directly, Catherine Sanders Reach (director of the NCBA Center for Practice Management) observes in the Bar Leader article what differentiates law practice advisors: “The help from the bar law practice management advisors is unbiased, confidential, and keeps the lawyers’ ethical duties top of mind,” Reach says.
Massachusetts legal professionals can book an appointment with a law practice advisor, licensed therapist, or both by starting here. We also offer a number of peer and facilitated support groups (here), and offer regularly updated resources on our blog. To hear about our latest programs and services, sign up for our emails here.
“Practice management advising is far beyond helping lawyers with tech tools,” as Laura points out. Dealing with practice management challenges can involve mindset shifts, feelings of overwhelm, isolation, anxiety, and more — even without the pandemic. The article points out that, “One key finding from the recent Survey of Pandemic and Post-Pandemic Law Practice, part of the ABA Practice Forward initiative, is that the pandemic has had an especially heavy toll for women lawyers, who often have disproportionately more caretaking responsibilities on top of their work duties.” At LCL MA, we run a SuperMom support group that we can connect practice management clients with — but as Adriana Linares (who provides practice management assistance through LawTech Partners) points out in the Bar Leader, asynchronous and on demand resources are key to accessibility — so stay tuned, we’ll be launching a new way of connecting soon enough!
Client SATISFACTION & Expectations
Prioritizing the client relationship is key for success, business development, and well-being. As Laura notes, “As more alternative legal service providers home in on wanting to serve clients’ legal needs with commoditized services, lawyers need to up their ante. The way to stay competitive when clients are seeking faster and more affordable services is to utilize technology in ways that allow practices to become more efficient.” Although it takes effort to improve the client experience in law practice, the return on investment is often easy to see — often what improves the client’s experience improves the lawyer’s experience. For example, client portals create efficiencies in law practice and provide clients an easy way to get communication — and lack of communication is one of the most frequent bar complaints. The following resources on our website can help:
- Client Relations Generally – Blog Posts
- Client Experience Specifically – Blog Posts
- Client Portals for Setting Boundaries: Teach Your Clients How YOU Want to Communicate – Webinars for Busy Lawyers On Demand (20-Min.)
We all know we can save time, money, and frustration with automation once it’s set up — and setting up some automation is far more within reach than many lawyers realize. Even client portals, mentioned in the above section, are mostly out of the box tools built into popular law practice management software options. One caution worth sharing is the risk of too much automation that runs afoul of ethics rules, as Anne Haag of the Chicago Bar Association’s Law Practice Management & Technology Center, notes in Bar Leader with regard to automated listening devices. The following resources can help:
- Automation Generally – Blog Posts
- Low Cost & Practical Tools for Increasing Efficiencies in Law Practice: Dictation, Automation, and More – Webinars for Busy Lawyers On Demand (31-Min.)
- Automation in Law Practice: Where to Start (and Why!)
Small & SIMPLE Changes
Identifying small changes can help us get started and build momentum. (Find more in this post from LCL MA Staff Clinician, Dr. Shawn Healy.) Existing tech tools are offering more robust features that are easy to use, e.g. Microsoft 365, including Teams. Another straightforward shift with big impact in remote settings is switching to VOIP for phone service. The following resources can help:
- Microsoft Teams for Lawyers [Guest Post]
- Hidden Gems for Lawyers in Office 365 – Webinar
- How Lawyers Can Be More Productive with Office 365
- But You’re a Lawyer, Not a Project Manager? Learn These Skills.
Strong cybersecurity practices are critical, need special attention with regard to remote work, and only grow more necessary as threats continue evolve. Several advisors noted cybersecurity as a particular field of educational need among lawyers. The following resources can help:
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Lawyers, law students, and judges in Massachusetts can discuss concerns with a law practice advisor, licensed therapist, or both. Find more on scheduling here.