Top 5 Strategies for Optimizing Costs of Running a Personal Injury Law Firm

Personal injury law firms can boost their profits in two primary ways: increasing revenue or improving operations (i.e., cutting costs). While it’s always exciting to think about bringing in more cases, sometimes the money you seek is right in front of you, hidden in overspending. Saving money isn’t always easy, though, and we often need a reminder of where to look to save a few bucks. 

Optimizing Costs of Running a Personal Injury Law Firm

Optimizing your operations isn’t just about cutting costs—it’s a strategic move that can significantly boost your firm’s financial health. Streamlining your processes saves on unnecessary expenses and enhances your case outcomes. This double-edged benefit makes operational efficiency a game-changer for your firm’s profitability.

My extensive experience working with personal injury law firms has shown me how streamlining processes can reduce costs and enhance case outcomes. Here, I present our top 5 practical strategies to optimize the costs of running a personal injury law firm.

Maximize Your Case Management Software

Many firms are underutilizing the case management software they invested heavily in. This is a significant issue for obvious reasons. And look, I get it—you’re an attorney and don’t have time to learn how to use new technology. But consider this: Technology makes you superhuman.

It does. Technology takes the ordinary and makes it extraordinary. You want to be extraordinary, right? Do your clients deserve an extraordinary attorney? They definitely do. Of course, becoming extraordinary takes time and effort, but like all worthwhile endeavors, it will pay off in the long run.

Have you ever heard of a “Super User” of software? You probably don’t know why they’re really called super users, do you? A super user does something unique every time they get new software. Can you guess what it is? They click through every button on the screen to learn about what everything does. It takes hours to do this, but a super user knows that it’s worth understanding everything there is to understand so that they can maximize their usage to the fullest extent. And then, even crazier, they do it again every time a new update comes out.

Do this. Click all the buttons. Figure it all out. If you don’t know what a button does, ask someone to explain it, and don’t give up until you know its purpose. This tip alone will help you uncover numerous ways you’re currently losing money because you didn’t realize something could be done automatically or much quicker than the processes you’re currently doing every single day.

Review Every Expense for a Month

I am very aware that tracking expenses is a huge pain in the butt; that’s why we hire accountants and bookkeepers. But I promise, you’re paying for things you shouldn’t be… and are likely the only person who can identify those bad expenses. Your bookkeeper has no idea if something is a necessary expense or not. They don’t know that that $100 charge every single month is something you haven’t used in years. They just put things into categories and move on.

Review Every Expense for a Month

Take the time about once every 6 or 12 months to review your expenses and ensure they are all things helping you make money. You’re going to want to look out for a few different things and make a list to share with your bookkeeper and team:

  • Look for unknown charges, things you don’t know what they could possibly be for.
  • Look for surprise amounts; maybe you expect to see a vendor but not the price you’re paying them.
  • Look for very large and very small transactions. Savings come in all shapes and sizes. Ever watched the movie Office Space? “I’m just talking about fractions of a penny, OK?” It turns out lots of littles make one big, so don’t ignore the small charges if you can help it.

Then, with this newfound knowledge, we can make changes. We can cancel bills, clarify amounts, negotiate with vendors, and find new vendors. This is your opportunity to optimize what you’re spending every single month; it’s worth it.

Maximize Employee Effectiveness

Optimizing your team’s efficiency is crucial to enhancing your firm’s operations and cutting unnecessary costs. You can create a more productive and effective workforce by investing in training, cross-training staff, and leveraging technology. Let’s explore these strategies in detail.

Invest in Training

Investing in your team and their tools is a great way to maximize their efforts. Spend time understanding their responsibilities and looking for opportunities to help them work more efficiently. This can pay off in the long run since most people do things the way they’ve always done simply because that’s how they’ve always been done. Helping people identify and optimize their daily tasks is an immediate way to optimize the cost of that employee. Provide ongoing professional development to enhance your employees’ skills and efficiency. This not only improves their performance but also boosts their morale and engagement.

Invest in Training

Cross-Train Staff

Cross-training your staff ensures they are versatile and can handle multiple roles if needed. This flexibility can reduce the need for a larger team, leading to significant cost savings. For instance, having your paralegals trained in basic administrative tasks or your administrative staff trained in basic case management can fill in gaps during peak periods or unexpected absences. This approach not only maximizes the utility of each employee but also fosters a more collaborative and resilient team environment.

Use Technology

What if using the correct software could help recover your staff’s time so much that you might even be able to operate with fewer staff while maintaining the same caseload? Equip your staff with the best tools to maximize their productivity. For instance, using case management software effectively can reduce the workload and improve accuracy. Technology can automate routine tasks, reduce human error, and allow your team to focus on more critical aspects of their work. Ensure each team member knows their specific goals and how their work contributes to the firm’s success. This alignment can boost motivation and performance, making your operations more efficient and cost-effective.

Empower Clients to Take an Active Role

Surprise statistic: 15 minutes of every hour your employee’s work is wasted doing tasks that can be automated. Source: Unknown. 😆

In today’s day and age, there are always ways to do tasks smarter, faster, and better than we did in the past. What if you could make every single employee 25% more productive? What about 50% more productive? Sound too good to be true? Empowering your clients can significantly reduce the workload on your staff and improve case outcomes. The RECORD app is an excellent tool for this purpose. By offloading some responsibilities to your clients, who are often willing participants, you can save at least 15 minutes of every hour, if not more.

Leverage the RECORD App

The RECORD app can track appointments and send reminders, update pain scores, maintain a journal, upload and manage documents, and support multi-lingual communication with the legal team. Engaged clients are more likely to follow through with treatments, leading to better case outcomes. Utilizing tools like the RECORD app empowers your clients to take an active role in their cases, freeing up your staff to focus on more critical tasks. This not only enhances efficiency but also improves client satisfaction and engagement.

Enhance Communication within the Team

One of my favorite things about working in a law firm is collaborating with smart people who share a common goal. Your team is on your side. The more you empower them, the better the entire process will be. And with empowerment comes the increased necessity for constant communication.

A simple yet effective way to boost your team’s communication is by adopting an old agile principle: the daily standup meeting. Schedule it for the same time every day; anyone who can attend should do so. They call it a standup because you literally stand while meeting, and if you’re following a truly agile methodology, each person quickly covers three things:

  1. What did I work on yesterday?
  2. What am I working on today?
  3. What issues are blocking me?

In practice, I’ve found that these meetings are most useful when they focus on success stories and imminent concerns. Help the team get excited by sharing successful outcomes and rallying together on issues people are having. Don’t hold this meeting at the very beginning of the day since people usually need at least 30 minutes to an hour to get situated for the day. If your team is remote, stick to the meeting and hold it via Zoom.

How Optimizing Costs Can Increase Profits for Personal Injury Law Firms

How Optimizing Costs Can Increase Profits for Personal Injury Law Firms

Focusing on these key areas can significantly reduce costs while improving the overall efficiency and effectiveness of your personal injury law firm. Implementing these strategies will save you money and enhance the quality of service you provide to your clients. These practical steps will help you uncover hidden profits and make your firm more resilient and successful in the competitive legal landscape.

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Kenny Eliason
As the CEO and cofounder of RECORD, Kenny is an experienced entrepreneur, public speaker, and legal expert. He regularly contributes his industry knowledge and insights on personal injury issues and their impact on the client experience to the RECORD blog. As a frequent presenter at conferences and events, Kenny provides valuable insights and actionable advice for the personal injury industry.

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