5 Tips to Keep Law Firm Employees Working Efficiently


When we discuss law office performance, a lot of focus is placed on “productivity”. That’s natural. It’s a relevant metric that helps determine how well an employee is performing and, overall, how successful an office is. However, we often overlook employee efficiency in that equation.

Efficiency vs. productivity

While efficiency and productivity are related, they’re not the same thing. It’s important to measure both to get a true picture of law office success. Productivity is defined as the amount of work completed in a specific amount of time. On the other hand, efficiency is a measure of how well an employee uses available resources to complete a task. Those resources can include time, but also many others. 

From this discussion, we can see that efficiency is a leading contributor to productivity. An employee who isn’t efficient with their use of resources won’t be as productive as one who is within the same amount of time. 

So, how do you boost your employees’ efficiency and enjoy the knock-on benefits, like enhanced productivity? Here are a few critical tips.

Know your employees and task them according to their skills

It’s natural for people working within a small firm to wear multiple hats. One employee may handle social media marketing, answer the phones, schedule appointments, and deal with client billing, for instance. The problem is that if many of these tasks fall outside the employee’s wheelhouse, they’ll be less efficient than if you were to delegate them to someone more knowledgeable or with more experience in those tasks. 

It’s crucial that you know your employees and their skills and task them accordingly. That doesn’t mean that people cannot be given opportunities for growth and development, but their core duties should be directly connected to their existing skills.

Set clear goals and expectation

One leading driver of inefficiency within any office is a lack of clear goals and expectations. If employees are unclear about what’s expected of them, they’ll be far less efficient than if they had clear directives and guidance. 

It falls to you to provide that guidance and it should come in the form of measurable goals and clearly explained expectations about the usage of resources, the priority of employee responsibilities, and more. You shouldn’t micromanage your team members, but employees can be inefficient without a clear understanding of what they’re expected to accomplish and how they’re supposed to do it.

Listen to your people

Often, the first people aware of growing inefficiency within a law firm are the employees themselves. You can tap into that knowledge by listening to your people. Go beyond having an open-door policy. Get active. Engage with your employees. Don’t wait for them to come to you with a problem. Ask them regularly about how things are going. 

Do they have the right resources to support their responsibilities? What problems are they seeing? What are their suggestions for improving efficiency and productivity? Remember that your employees are the ones on the front lines, with firsthand experience, and are well-positioned to help you pinpoint inefficiency drivers and take accurate corrective action.

Build the right culture and environment

Many office challenges stem not from inefficiency, but from having the wrong culture and an unsupportive environment. Without a sense of community, or with an office culture that doesn’t value accurate resource allocation and usage, it’s all too likely that your employees will be less than efficient, and your office productivity levels will plummet. 

Take active steps to create a sense of community, build a supportive environment, and ensure that your firm’s culture focuses on employee well-being and morale. It’s also important that the physical environment supports employee efficiency. Do they have the right tools and equipment? What about flexible workspaces, natural lighting, and ergonomic touches?

Provide uninterrupted time to focus on tasks

One of the most common reasons for employee inefficiency is having to juggle multiple tasks at the same time. Humans are incapable of multitasking. So, when we must handle multiple things at the same time, we switch between them. 

That comes at a cost. Both tasks suffer in terms of efficiency and accuracy. Imagine trying to iron a dress shirt while eating a plate of spaghetti at the same time – not a pretty picture, is it? 

Give your employees uninterrupted time to focus on their tasks and you’ll see their efficiency skyrocket. When they’re no longer required to answer the phone, set client appointments, take payments, answer client questions, or deal with lead intake and vetting, they can do what they do best, but more efficiently and effectively.

Smith.ai can help improve your law firm’s efficiency

If you’re struggling with employee efficiency, we can help. Our live virtual receptionists ensure that your people can focus on what they do best while ensuring your office never misses a call, even if it comes in after hours. 

Our team has deep experience helping law offices of all sizes improve efficiency and productivity through expert lead screening and intake, appointment booking, payment collection, and other services. We can even give your employees the resources they need to become more efficient in the form of call recordings and transcripts, as well as call intelligence and metadata. Of course, we log all the details into your CRM so that the data your team needs is available with a few keystrokes. 

Ready to transform your office’s efficiency? It’s as simple as working with Smith.ai.

To learn more, schedule a consultation or reach out to hello@smith.ai.

Law Firm
People and Project Management
Written by Samir Sampat

Samir Sampat is a Marketing Manager with Smith.ai. He has experience working with businesses of all sizes focusing on marketing, communications, and business development.

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