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STAFFING

Is it a recession or not? The answer may surprise you

By Lynne Curry My in-box filled with questions after I posted a Recession Fears Loom blog. Readers asked how I made sense of the different views voiced by economists and politicians. As a law office manager with responsibilities around staffing and profitability, you are probably watching to see which way the economy goes. Here’s the background, and my answer to “are we headed into a recession?”: Some say “yes.” Over 60 percent of the 750 CEOs surveyed by the business research firm Conference Board expect a recession in the next 12 to 18 months1. Another 15 percent of surveyed CEOs report their region is already in recession.1 The most recent gross domestic product report that tracks our overall economic health showed a second consecutive quarter of negative growth, the textbook… . . . read more

PRODUCTIVITY

Artificial intelligence can boost billable hours

Artificial Intelligence (AI) represents one of the latest advances in legal technology. Rather than replacing attorneys and support staff, AI can help lawyers and other legal professionals do more to serve their clients with greater efficiency and less expense. Teaching computers to learn One significant advantage of employing AI is the ability of machines to learn tasks that previously required the time and effort of lawyers, according to a blog by SMI Aware, a social media evidence collection and preservation service. Likewise, AI enhances the ability of lawyers to extract pertinent case information by directly typing a query in a search field—or directing the machine to perform a given task. Of course, before computers can perform these tasks, they must be “taught” to do so by humans. Connecting various concepts, such as… . . . read more

INCREASING PROFITS

Enforce those billing and collection guidelines

Getting paid or not getting paid to a great extent depends on the firm’s billing and collection guidelines—and whether they are enforced. Without guidelines, the firm is asking for money loss. Billing is haphazard, collection work isn’t done regularly, personal clients aren’t always satisfied with their bills, and corporate clients may hold up payment or contest the bill. Guidelines will vary from firm to firm. They have to reflect the firm’s culture along with its clients and the type of work it does. But in general, best practice calls for traditional procedures. Here are the basics. First and last month up front Start with a retainer. With almost all clients, the firm takes an understood risk when it accepts work. The client may be a slow payer or a part… . . . read more

INCREASING PROFITS

5 law firm billing practices for better cash flow

By Brenda Barnes It’s probably not a big surprise that if your firm does not have sound billing and collection practices, your cash flow will suffer. It also probably goes without saying that when cash flow suffers so does partner compensation. How can you tighten this up? First and foremost, you need to have solid billing policies that are agreed upon and followed! Enter your time daily. With today’s mobile technology, there is really no excuse for not entering time daily. Your practice management software should be so easy to use, so easy to access that there are really no excuses. Enter time from your desktop, laptop, iPad, cellular phone and dictate it directly to your software. If your software is not providing your attorneys this flexibility, make the investment now… . . . read more

RISK MANAGEMENT

4 bad financial habits that may increase your policy premiums and your malpractice risk

Ineffective billing and collections practices affect more than the bottom line. They ultimately may determine what the firm has to…


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INCREASING PROFITS

Keep your accounts receivable young

Collection work is something that can’t wait, because a dollar of receivables doesn’t stay a dollar…


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FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

A guide to understanding financial data

Law practice owners, especially those operating smaller firms, tend not to be super-knowledgeable about…


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MANAGING THE OFFICE

To-Dos: Your September office checklist

Now that the summer is over and you’re facing the final quarter, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Here are some important tasks you…


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BUDGET AND CASH FLOW FORECASTING

Why budgeting and cash flow forecasting are essential for effective law office management

Regardless of your opinion of budgets, they are vital for building and managing a law practice, says Brenda Barnes, a certified public accountant (CPA) and…


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