Minding your Ps (profits) and Qs (quality)
Quantity or quality: when it comes to your firm’s work, which is more important for growth? Adding new clients or taking on additional matters can boost profits. So, increasing the quantity of work can be a seductive pull. But, foundational to the growth of any organization is providing high-quality work. Consistent, expected, exceptional-quality work builds trust and can lead to increased business from existing clients and referrals to new clients. Can the quality of your firm’s work be improved? The answer is yes. Below are several areas that can improve the quality of your work.
Most work done by your firm has been done before. And that’s just how clients like it. They want to know their needs aren’t new to your firm, and you’ve had previous success in handling similar cases. So, when a new matter comes in, utilizing standard practices just makes sense.
Are your associates re-creating the wheel with every new client project? Likely not. Why write a contract from scratch when there are current ones on file to use as models? By standardizing practices within your firm, and using tools like Practical Law to provide checklists and up-to-date templates, you can ensure high-quality work at an efficient pace.
Reviewing processes, possibly with the help of a consultant, can identify areas for automation and free up time for more talent-intensive areas of work.
Provide time and space
Time. It’s one of the most important concepts in a lawyer’s professional life. Billable hours are essential to your success, but write-downs are counterproductive. You need to be thorough in legal research, but rabbit holes eat up time. Dedicating uninterrupted time to conducting your research can be a good way to stay productive and produce good work.
And don’t discount the importance of space. Does crunch time mean you doing after-hours research on the couch with the TV on? That’s maybe not the best environment for high-quality work. Whether you’re in an office or working remotely – a clean space, free of distractions in a quiet setting provides an optimum environment for producing your best work product.
According to a Wharton School interview with talent consultant Marc Effron, setting goals is critical to achieving improved work performance. “The no. 1 most powerful factor is setting fewer, bigger goals. The science around that is unbelievably strong.”
Effron recommends no more than three goals. And important to those goals is that they are SMART goals. That means, in part, that they’re measurable. Metrics for measuring quality can include:
- Accuracy – how many errors are in the work you produce?
- Thoroughness – does your work require additional attention once it’s ‘complete’?
- Competence – was the outcome of the work successful?
Attaching metrics to your goals means you’ll see progress in achieving them and know when you’ve succeeded. Standard management expertise says “what gets measured gets managed.” With specific quality-improvement goals, bolstered with metrics to measure them, your firm’s performance can increase.
Nowhere in a law firm is technology more important than in legal research. It’s arguably the most critical, the most time-consuming, and the most anxiety-provoking part of case prep. Top-of-the-line research tools like Westlaw Precision can improve the quality of your work, speed the completion of your work, and increase your confidence in your work.
A 2022 Thomson Reuters study of Westlaw Precision users noted these results:
- Attorneys using Westlaw Precision found 2x more relevant cases
- When using Westlaw Precision, attorneys were 4x more likely to find a must-find case that was exactly on point
- 98% of those surveyed agreed Westlaw Precision helped to get to important cases faster, and 70% thought they found cases they might not have otherwise found
The benefits of this advanced research platform can help improve the quality of your work while boosting your efficiency. Are you using the best legal technology for your clients? Find out the five signs it’s time to upgrade.
Beyond the financial and growth benefits of improved performance, there are intrinsic ones as well. Not to be overlooked is the improved sense of satisfaction you get from providing high-quality work. When you’ve done the best job for your clients, and their matter has been successfully handled, you leave feeling accomplished and confident. When you’re able to prepare thoroughly and present your case competently, while still making it to your friend’s dinner party or your children’s sporting event, you feel balanced and ready for more work.
Says Effron, “When you only have so many hours in the day, how many hours do you want to waste pursuing tactics that are simply not going to work? That is a challenge for a lot of folks.”
While completing legal research, have you ever asked yourself, “have I done enough?” This white paper may just have the answer you are looking for.