Litigation is an interesting topic for law firm owners. Everyone does it differently and you probably even switch up how you do it within your own firm. Creating a workflow for litigation may seem counterintuitive or like a waste of time.
Well, it’s not.
Today, we’re talking about how to tame litigation and other types of workflows. Creating workflows is challenging but it’s not impossible. It’s attainable for every law firm owner, including you.
Let’s get started!
The Golden Rule
The golden rule of workflows is, “Who does what, by when?”
Many law firm owners think they have workflows because they’ve written down their process for doing something. However, they’re often missing crucial elements.
One of the biggest things law firm owners often forget is detail. You can’t just say what you’re doing. You have to explain that action with specific words and explain exactly how you’re doing it.
When you do write out workflows in specific detail, your team members won’t have to ask you as many questions. Therefore, the number of mistakes made decreases dramatically. Instead of team members doing something wrong and then saying, “I didn’t know you wanted that,” when a mistake is made, you can have a conversation with them about not following instructions or following procedures.
On top of the golden rule, your workflows should lay out the steps for following up. There are many areas of law where you need a lot of follow-ups. Otherwise, you won’t get the information you need from clients on time.
In your workflows, make it very clear how to request the necessary information. Additionally, create a second follow-up task that clearly lays out how and when to follow up. This ensures that everyone on your team knows whether or not you’ve received the information you need and when the last time you talked to the client was.
Writing The “Who” and “When”
As we already discussed, per the golden rule, you need to explain who does what, by when.
The key is, you want your workflows to be usable for years to come. Therefore, don’t write people’s names in them. Instead, write their title. For example, instead of “Shelley,” write, “Bookkeeper.” That way, if someone leaves your firm, the workflow will still be relevant.
As for the “when,” don’t write specific dates in your workflows. Instead, write time frames. For example, instead of writing, “do this on November 10th,” write, “do this within two weeks of the first task.”
The beauty of almost every practice management software out there is that when you put this into the workflow and use the software to assign the workflow to a particular case, the software will calculate specific dates for you based on the timing you put in.
If you want to learn more about writing workflows, check out Episode 067: Taming Litigation and Every Other Type of Workflow.