Companies in every industry love saying that their employees are their most important asset. This claim is even more popular in a service-based business like a law firm.
While law firms traditionally seem to value profits and prestige over their employees, this no longer cuts it in a world in which more and more lawyers crave greater work-life balance. Agile practice management for law can help your firm offer its employees what they’re looking for.
In this guide to agile law firm culture you’ll learn:
- What agile culture is
- The benefits of agile practice management at a law firm
- How to instill an agile culture into your law firm
What do we mean by agile culture?
“Agile” is a project management method that involves working on projects in short sprints, reviewing work that’s already been done and improving on it, and discovering the best ways to do things. Although the Agile Manifesto was devised by software developers, it’s since been adopted by many industries.
In the field of law, the method manifests itself through agile practice management and workplace culture. It’s even inspired a “NewLaw” movement that embraces flexibility and efficiency. A hallmark of this lean practice management style is the use of technology to streamline processes and reduce administrative work.
Benefits of agile practice management for law firms
Taking the agile approach to managing your firm has many benefits.
First, lean practice management promotes efficiency. The more efficient your firm is, the more profitable it can be.
And when your firm is more efficient, your employees can enjoy a greater work-life balance.
Furthermore, agile matter management lets you cut down on admin tasks and gives you more time to take on pro bono work. Pursuing pro bono work is tremendously rewarding because it lets you and your colleagues help those in need, work on matters you wouldn’t typically get to work on, and develop professional skills.
When attorneys at your firm can earn a good income, enjoy a work-life balance, and work on fulfilling cases, they’ll be more satisfied with their work and more likely to stay with your firm. Staff turnover has become a $9.1 billion problem for the legal field. Reducing turnover lets your firm save money and focus on winning cases, rather than on replacing talent.
How to instill an agile culture into your law firm
Now that you understand how implementing agile practice and matter management can benefit your law firm, here’s how you can shift your practice towards the flexibility and efficiency you crave.
1. Conduct matter retrospectives to perfect processes
During a matter retrospective, your firm reviews matters it has completed and analyzes its processes. These retrospectives force you to assess what you did well, and what processes could be improved moving forward. They encourage a culture of continual improvement and open feedback, which is aligned with the agile method.
Set your firm up for success by holding retrospectives on a regular basis: after a matter wraps up, monthly, or quarterly. Invite all internal stakeholders to participate to make the most of each session.
2. Hold daily stand-up meetings to facilitate law firm collaboration
In the good old days when we all worked in our offices instead of in our homes, stand-up meetings were face-to-face meetings held on foot to encourage brevity. During a pandemic, or in a distributed law firm where attorneys don’t work in the same office, the “stand-up” aspect of these meetings is simply metaphorical. Conduct short, daily firmwide check-ins to improve law firm collaboration and help employees align on matters, operations, and expectations.
Stand-up meetings are ideal for high-stress, fast-paced workplaces like law firms. When attorneys are being pulled in 30 different directions by clients and colleagues, a 15-minute virtual “stand-up” meeting at the start of the day can keep the team aligned and upbeat, and can be the difference between a repeat client and a lost one.
Create a recurring meeting on everyone’s calendars to prioritize these virtual meetings. It’s best to conduct stand-ups in the mornings to set the tone for a productive workday. If your team is distributed across time zones, choose a time that works for the greatest number of staff members.
3. Invest in your employees
Investing in training and career development programs for your staff is another way to build an agile workplace culture. Ask junior associates where they’d like to be in their careers five years from now. Ask them what kind of knowledge, experience, or certifications they’d need to gain to get there. Then, do your best to provide that for them.
Devoting resources to the development of your employees promotes a culture of continual improvement, which creates more efficient attorneys, legal assistants, and support staff. While investing in the professional development of your team can be costly, it’ll give you a great return in the type of cases you’re able to take on and win.
The bottom line: Invest in agile practice management at your law firm and you will be rewarded
Dedicating resources to perfecting processes, aligning on firm goals, and developing talent will set your employees up for success and make them feel valued. In return, they will feel more engaged at work and thus produce better results for clients.
Matter365 can help you achieve your lean practice management goals. Start your free trial today.