Licensed attorneys charge the highest percentage of billable hours to legal clients. Paralegals also have opportunities to increase billable hours for a firm. The most common ways for paralegals to increase volumes of billable hours are through the following:
Legal document preparation
Research and analysis
The last point is critical for billing more time to paying clients. ParalegalEDU is a resource that educates legal professionals on how to build a sustainable career. According to their research, the most important personality trait that aspiring paralegals require is people skills.
Why do paralegals need people skills?
Paralegals are on the front lines, handling client communications. They often act as a buffer between clients and practicing attorneys. They receive client messages over the phone or in their inbox, and they’re responsible for relaying those communications to the attorneys.
In small law firms, paralegals often function as office managers in addition to their clerical duties. In these positions, they act as the voice of the firm when clients call to discuss their cases. They’re also the first point of contact when clients arrive at the firm for an in-person meeting with their attorney.
In any scenario, there’s a great deal of client interaction that paralegals must manage. People skills allow paralegals to respond to clients in calm, reassuring ways. It’s not uncommon for clients in the midst of personal setbacks or corporate litigation to unleash their frustrations on paralegals.
How paralegals can service clients more effectively
Paralegals must maintain their professionalism regardless of how unprofessional a client may behave. It takes patience and discipline to maintain those skills.
However, there are ways that paralegals can improve the way they interact with clients. These approaches allow paralegals to provide faster, more helpful service to clients, which provides a number of business benefits to the entire firm.
Use entity management technology to expedite clerical work
There have been many statistics gathered on the typical law firm experience. According to the findings, only 2.5 hours in a standard eight hour workday are billable hours charged to clients. That means legal teams, and paralegals in particular, are spending nearly 70 percent of their working days on clerical and document work.
Instead of allowing your paralegals to fall into the documentation trap, invest in entity management technology to help streamline the clerical workload. By uploading all minute book records and corporate documents to cloud-based servers, your firm modernizes minute book management.
Paralegals can use advanced search parameters to find the documents in question in a matter of minutes. If clients are already in bad moods, your paralegals can calm those feelings by providing quick, efficient answers to their pressing legal questions. It improves the quality of service, boosts client satisfaction, and enhances the reputation of the firm.
Entity management software supports remote client meetings
At a time when more people want options for remote work, it enhances the client experience if you can accommodate those desires. Entity management software allows your firm to conduct all client meetings and document reviews at their convenience.
Since entity management platforms are cloud-based solutions, they’re accessible from anywhere. Simply have your paralegals share administrative access with your client’s main point of contact. Once they have access, they can view the records from the convenience of their own homes, their offices, or any destination with an internet connection.
Providing clients with the option to conduct meetings remotely makes things easier for them. An easier experience is a more enjoyable experience that increases the probability they’ll retain your firm’s services for future business.
Paralegals convert saved clerical time into client-facing service
Finally, since entity management software streamlines clerical and administrative tasks, paralegals will earn back large portions of their working calendars. They can use this saved time to provide more direct service to clients, including strategic discussions that take some of the workload off the practicing attorneys who will argue the merits of the case.
This is a perfect example of a win-win-win scenario. The client has an extra voice counseling them on how to best persevere through the case. The paralegal gets to spend more time helping build Legal Recurring Revenue for the firm, and they get to expand their responsibilities beyond the standard clerical and documentation work. The attorney also earns back more time to polish their arguments when negotiating cases.
Paralegals have great people skills; help them use those skills wisely
Managing client relationships is a difficult task in any environment. When those relationships are built around legal cases that risk hampering the client’s future, the clients are prone to be in bad moods when interacting with legal teams.
Paralegals have the skills to support clients, but the right legal technology gives them an added edge to deliver quality client service. Introduce entity management technology to your own legal community and convert those benefits into opportunities to improve client satisfaction.