If you’re a lawyer, you’re no stranger to long hours at the office. Many lawyers might accept this as normal, but Shuaib Ahmed, Founder and Managing Attorney at ASA Law Group in Oak Brook, Illinois, decided to try something different.
Shuaib is a strong believer in the power of technology, so he founded ASA Law Group in 2016 with the intention of using tech to make law firm operations more efficient. The result? He and his staff have a better work-life balance compared to any other firm he’s worked at.
Plus, his business didn’t suffer—just the opposite, in fact. Shuaib has grown his profits from $80,000 to $1.2 million in just one year.
Based on his experience, here are three ways to use technology to make your practice more profitable.
1. Find creative ways to lower your expenses
As Shuaib explains, law firms operating on a traditional model require their associates to bill about 2,100 hours per year. “When you break that down, that’s quite significant,” he said. “But, that’s really because of the cost of overhead.”
ASA Law Group, a worker’s compensation defence firm, has been able to mitigate many of its costs using technology. For example, ASA uses Clio, which means staff can access the practice from anywhere. Accordingly, Shuaib allows many of his staff to work remotely several days per week, and instead of giving everyone their own desk, he runs on a shared workspace program that allows him to operate out of a smaller office to save on office space costs.
With this lower overhead, Shuaib is able to reduce pressures on his staff while keeping his firm profitable. Lawyers at ASA Law Group have lower billing targets than their counterparts at other firms, yet ASA has a profit margin of 60%.
You may want to consider a similar model to save on office space costs, but if not, there are plenty of other ways technology can help you save time and money. For example, a small investment in a tool that helps you automate client intake can save you hours each month, giving you more time to spend on billable work or on growing your firm.
2. Create a favorable working environment for more productive employees
A study from the University of Warwick found that happy employees are 12% more productive. In other words, when you invest in your staff, you do a lot more than create a nice place to work: You make your law firm more profitable as well.
The right technology can help. For example, with cloud-based practice management software, attorneys and staff at ASA Law Group work at times that make the most sense for both them and their clients, making work a better experience for everyone.
Shuaib has certainly found that those working at ASA appreciate this flexibility. “Incorporating technology into our practice has meant that our staff can work on their own schedules.” he says. “I’ve had a lot of attorneys and staff actually say that the flexibility has been a game changer for them.”
If you’re not using a cloud-based solution that lets your employees work on their own schedule, consider doing so. It may just give your employees a level of flexibility that sets your firm apart, and leaves them empowered to do their best work on their own terms.
3. Provide better client service to get (and keep) more clients
According to the 2017 Legal Trends Report, lawyers only bill 2.3 hours of their working day on average. They also spend 33% of their non-billable time on business development, suggesting that securing new clients is an ongoing concern for law firms.
However, it’s often cheaper to retain existing clients than it is to find new ones, and providing great customer service can do just that.
For example, Shuaib uses technology to run his law firm more cheaply and efficiently, and he passes those savings on to clients. His worker’s compensation defence clients see their cases get closed faster—and at a lower cost—which means they refer other potential clients to his firm, helping ASA grow.
“Our clients want us to move cases forward very quickly, because the more cases that are open, the higher the exposure for them,” he explains. “The goals of our attorneys are based upon the goals of our clients. It’s really satisfying to look my clients in the eye and tell them ‘I have the same interests as you.’”
Consider using technology to streamline your research, communications, document creation, and more. There are plenty of apps that can help make your law firm more efficient while also providing better client service, so take the time to research your options.
For example, 67% of consumers surveyed for the Legal Trends Report said that they were more likely to choose a lawyer if they responded to phone calls and emails quickly, so using a tool like Ruby Receptionists to ensure calls get answered right away can keep clients happy and your business profitable. Tools like Zipwhip, that make it easy to text clients, can also be helpful.
Take your firm further with technology
With the right technology, your firm can be more profitable than you ever thought possible. Use Shuaib’s story as inspiration, and invest some time in researching processes and tools to find what works best for your business and personal goals. You won’t regret it.