Centerbase Blog

The events of 2020 and their impact on our lives will not be soon forgotten. Like other businesses, the legal industry is seeing changes to its landscape as we move forward in 2021. In general, law firms weather downturns in the economy better than most, but there is nonetheless a change in the areas where attorneys will be most needed. With some forethought, attorneys and firms can proactively prepare for the changes ahead. By combining this preparation with an intentional focus on client service, you will find success. Practice Area Growth While attorneys will always be needed, we have seen…
Did you know that only 33% of firms with 10–49 attorneys use practice management software? Furthermore, only 51% of firms with 100+ attorneys use practice management software. We find that a lot of firms become interested in adopting practice management if they only have a billing system when they begin to evaluate new technology. And we agree that if a firm is coming from a system that strictly handles billing, it is a good time to consider moving to a practice management system. A practice management system creates a hub for the entire firm to find information about your cases,…
To get the history of practice management consultants within the legal industry, you have to go back about 30 years or more. Back then, all programs were server-based (i.e., not in the cloud), so you needed someone with enough technical expertise to understand how to load your new program onto your server, install all the updates when they rolled out each year, deploy those updates to your server, and ensure everything functioned and was maintained properly. Ultimately, if a firm needed or wanted to switch to new software, four things needed to occur: Someone had to install the software on…
Buying legal technology can go one of two ways: your firm ends up with great software that fits your needs or a week after go-live you come to find that you’ve made a huge mistake.  In, How to Begin Evaluating New Technology, we discussed how to collect and categorize your firm’s feedback. The next step your firm should take is to create a requirements list. When you begin this process, one thing that is very important to note is that you should not commoditize your practice management system. Making an exhaustive requirements list can sometimes move you in that…
Many people are resistant to change. Oftentimes, that resistance comes down to two factors: the fear of loss or the fear of having to adopt new processes. Whatever the reason may be, change is often the inhibitor preventing innovation and improvement. With this in mind, ask yourself this, if change is necessary for the advancement of society and businesses alike, how can you help your firm embrace the change that will help improve your business? There are three types of change that impact our firms. People-related changes can be a change in the duties of an individual or position, promotions,…
Timing is everything, right? The old adage holds true when thinking about upgrading technology.  Maybe you’ve been on legacy software for years. Maybe you work entirely on paper. Perhaps you’re still dipping a fountain pen into an inkwell (by the way, if that’s the case – cool). Wherever you’re at, how do you know when it’s time to start evaluating new technology? Is there ever a bad time? And why do you need to make a change anyway? If you can’t give sound answers to these questions, then figuring out where to begin is going to be considerably more difficult. …
With the continuing change in the landscape for law firms, it is increasingly important for firms to understand where their most profitable areas of practice lie. Gone are the days of multi-generational client loyalty. As a result, firms must hone their skills and identify the areas that are most beneficial in adding to the bottom line. Regardless of how altruistic your firm’s core values are, without a profitable business, you will be unable to support your clients or your employees. There are multiple metrics a firm can monitor to ensure financial success. Having good billing protocols is a good place…
Because of its prevalence, most people already know what this is, but put simply, the cloud allows an internet user to access a third party computing resource located in almost an endless network of interconnected servers that allow you to run your computer’s applications over the internet without having to buy, install or manage your own servers.  What this means is you could run your firm’s IT operations with nothing more than a browser and internet connection. By using the cloud, firms of all sizes can reduce IT costs, manage data storage needs more effectively, and improve staff flexibility. In…
The legal billing process can be a challenge for every law firm, but it doesn’t have to be. A combination of the right policies, procedures, and technology can be used to stay on top of attorney time and make the billing process efficient and accurate. Software that encompasses both practice management and time and billing in one platform is an effective way to keep everyone on the same page and meet your clients’ needs. Use your firm’s legal software and good policies and procedures to: Set up a client onboarding process that is consistent, seamless, and gives your new client…
In 2021, whether you realize it or not, you’re a “mobile” lawyer. The digitalization of the world we live in has made the proliferation of cellphones and on-the-go devices an undeniable part of our everyday routine.  Did you know that as of 4 years ago, nearly 100% of lawyers were using mobile computing tools for at least some aspect of their practice? So now, it isn’t “nearly,” it is a resounding “everybody.” Everyone has a cell phone and everyone uses it both for personal and professional reasons. We are all working in a mobile world these days and the expectation…
How are changes in today’s climate impacting your law firm profitability?  Technology has changed our world significantly, and law firms are slowly catching up to the rest of the business world in many areas. Gone are the days of the large offices, where every attorney has their own secretary, and the firm houses a large library full of books that must be manually updated with those supplements that would arrive on a regular basis, much to our chagrin. As we have slowly joined the rest of the world in the ways of online research and paperless offices, we are also considering…
There are a lot of fancy definitions for the term “strategic planning.” But at its core, all it means is to pinpoint a direction you want to go and then make decisions on how you plan on allocating your resources to get there. It is important to see the difference between strategic planning and marketing. And you may raise an eyebrow at that, but you’d be surprised how often people view these as the same thing. Strategic planning encompasses many operations of your business. Marketing is merely a piece of that coupled with things like your budgeting and reporting. It…
What does your cash flow look like this year? How about your net income by year-end? Having a quality budget in place removes the guesswork and fear from your financial picture and ensures you end up where you want to go. We have all heard the phrase, “Failing to plan means planning to fail.” A good budget will not only help to forecast net income and cash flow, but it will help you to plan for potential problems before they become emergencies. The two most common types of budgets are zero-based and incremental. If you are a new firm with…
What does it mean to have an international deposition? This simply means that the witness will be in a foreign country. However, in this new virtual reality we’re in, there are new challenges and components that we didn’t have to deal with before. Between juggling the complexities of international depositions, paired with the logistical and tactical struggles of video conferencing, you will have a lot on your plate. As you begin navigating this process, there are some basic steps you should be taking that will hopefully make your depositions run as smoothly as possible. Let’s check them out. Steps to Conduct…
Today’s reality looks something like this: we wake up slightly later because the longest commute we now face is walking from our bathrooms to the kitchen.  Dogs barking in the background, kids running in the background, and a home office set-up that would make Office Depot proud.  Working from home is our reality and although we have quickly adapted to this change, some industries face hurdles that far outweigh others.  Unfortunately, the legal industry is not exempt from the hardships that work from home has caused. Sure we have telephones and Slack and other means of communication, but by removing…
In, Accounting 101 for Law Firms we discussed how when firms are asked, “How do you want to define growth?” The leading response is always through revenue.  That is great, right?! “Revenue.” We all love this word, it’s great a great way to track performance, but how do you actually track revenue? Is it as easy as simply counting the dollars that come through your door? We wish.  The first thing you need to do is start utilizing KPIs. Your key performance indicators will be your best friends and the figures you need in order to answer the question,…