Law firm productivity: the missing six hours

How to boost law firm productivity

Industry results are consistent with last year

The nation’s law firms share the same business productivity problems as I have observed and written about in small accounting practices like mine, according to industry data compiled by Clio1. The findings are substantially the same as a similar report in 2016. Overall, surveyed firms gained one percent in productivity over the prior year – a significant gain that may be the result of utilization of productivity technology.

For the second year in a row, Clio reports its finding that most lawyers work 8 or more hours per day but bill for just over two of those hours. Smaller losses in productivity are recorded in unbilled work (18%) and uncollected fees (14%).

The net results can be extrapolated to conclude that a law firm’s gross revenue is slightly less than two times the attorney’s collective hourly billing rate.

The missing six hours

The “missing six hours” are spent in administrative and marketing tasks. Administrative tasks take 46% of time and business development tasks take up 33%.

Keys to productivity gains

Small gains in reducing distractions and lowering the cost of client acquisition can have dramatic impact in boosting the law firm’s productivity. The report indicates that a lack of planning, targets and budgets is contributing to reduced productivity.

Clio’s report appears to confirm my own personal findings that moving work technology to mobile devices can have an immediate positive effect on boosting productivity. Particularly in a small firm, the ability to integrate accounting functions like invoicing with time tracking and case management results in productivity gains that are immediately noticeable in the year of adoption.

My practice focuses on implementation of hosted accounting that integrates with work flow management for small law firms. I am pleased to discuss the possibilities in relation to your practice.

1 This post is based on data reported in “Legal Trends Report 2017”


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