Efficiency: Merging Quality and Service

When I think about what it takes to build a great firm, two things immediately come to mind. The first is hiring great people. The second is doing everything possible to ensure our attorneys and staff can do the most high-quality work possible for our clients.

The latter is why “efficiency” is one of Thompson Burton’s seven core values.

Having started our careers in “Big Law,” we saw many opportunities to be more efficient in how we deliver legal services. Some traditional processes worked well, but others made no sense given newly available technology and business practices.

Success happens when our attorneys and staff are producing the highest quality work and serving our clients at the highest level – not carrying on needless traditions.  Below are three examples of how Thompson Burton practices efficiency every day to serve our clients better.

Results-Oriented Work Environment (ROWE)

Work no longer happens in just the office. Thompson Burton attorneys have to be prepared – and have the freedom – to work wherever it makes the most sense.

From the beginning, the firm provided all attorneys with laptops and mobile technology, freeing them to work at the office, home, a coffee shop, a client meeting, etc.

ROWE also facilitates the work-life balance that attorneys value. Client and personal emergencies can throw a wrench into anyone’s schedule at any time. ROWE gives attorneys the flexibility to manage these situations while still staying on top of client work whenever and wherever it makes most sense.

Cloud Storage of All Documents

Paper is the bane of efficiency – for attorneys and clients. If there is one thing we loathe, it is antiquated filing systems and reams of useless and environmentally unfriendly paper files.  We are very intentional in how we practice law and interact with counterparties to minimize paper.

Cloud storage does not completely eliminate paper, but it does make work much easier for everyone.

With cloud storage, attorneys are able to:

  • Search thousands of documents for keywords;
  • Share documents electronically with clients and set specific permissions;
  • Collaborate in real-time with clients and other attorneys involved in the matter; and
  • Stay ultra-organized without armies of staff to maintain paper files.

And, of course, cloud storage supports ROWE by syncing updates across all devices at all times.

Electronic Time Tracking & Invoicing

Time tracking and invoicing are vital activities for any firm.

Many firms use traditional paper time-keeping and invoicing.  I think this may be one of the single biggest wastes of time and source of lost productivity in the legal profession.

We opted for a digital timekeeping system that eliminates several steps in the process and makes it easy for attorneys to generate client invoices in a timely and very efficient manner.

The real benefits are for clients. They receive invoices via email with all details of the attorney’s work. They can easily access prior invoices and all details online. And they can pay via whatever method is most convenient for their business or personal needs.

If you missed it, please check prior blog post called Responsibility: Owning the Results by Kevin Thompson, which is about another key Thompson Burton value.

 

About Walt Burton

Walt Burton is one of the top commercial real estate lawyers in Tennessee. He has extensive experience representing developers, investors, lenders, borrowers and other users of commercial real estate. Walt maintains a broad practice focused on lending, acquisition, disposition, development, leasing, and foreclosure/work out.

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