By Officense, An MSBA Affinity Partner

Starting a solo practice is hard. It takes persistence, attention to detail, and a realistic, implementable business plan in order to succeed as a solo lawyer. As a sole practitioner, your time is valuable and wasted time adds up to wasted dollars.  

Legal Administration

Besides the work you are doing in the court room, when you run your own solo practice there is always more work to be done in the office. Between answering emails, scheduling consultations, processing billing, and document preparation a solo attorney may find themselves overwhelmed by paper work.

The Thomas Reuter’s Solo and Small Law Firms Group recently completed a study asking attorneys about the most challenging aspects of their profession, and not surprisingly, time spent on non-billable, administrative tasks was at the top of the list. These types of tasks can include invoicing, phone answering, client intake paperwork, and payment processing.

Survey results concluded that 45 percent of all solo and small law firm time is spent handling administrative tasks. These results should be a wakeup call to solo practice attorneys. The 45 percent is even more shocking when you break down its impact on a firm’s profitability and bottom line. Take the breakdown below, for example:

  • [40-hour work week] x [45 percent of admin. time] = 18 hours of unbilled work
  • [18 non-billable hrs.] x [$150 hourly rate] = $2,700 in potential billing lost weekly
  • [$2,700 non-billable hrs./week] x [48 weeks per year] = $129,600 in potential revenue lost yearly

According to the study, when the firm’s own perception of success was accounted for, there was a large gap in reported time spent on administrative work. Of those describing themselves as “unsuccessful” up to the rating of “neither successful nor unsuccessful”, 31 percent reported that time spent on administrative tasks was a major challenge. Conversely, only 10 percent and 14 percent of the firms that view themselves as “successful” to “very successful” reported challenges with administrative time management. The natural conclusion is that less successful attorneys lack time to collect billable hours and practice law due to operational and practice management tasks.

A Better Way

Obviously, no firm can carry the high costs of inefficient administrative methods without seriously diminishing potential revenue. However, hiring a skilled assistant or paralegal is often out of the question due to the cost. As a solo attorney, finding a better way will be essential to your success. Luckily, there is a solution for solo practice law firms and attorneys which is only a fraction of the cost of hiring a full-time assistant.

The MSBA and their trusted industry partners can assist in reducing your administrative time waste and help your practice run more effectively. Through member discounts and practice management consulting, the MSBA uses its years of experience and expertise to help guide your practice on the road to success. With Officense administrative services, firms can substantially cut costs. Officense virtual admin support is an obvious choice when costs are compared to a traditional receptionist and office arrangement:

Cost Comparison

Through partners like Officense, attorneys can also take advantage of an on-demand team of executive assistants who can scan packets of discovery in mere minutes, answer phone calls, schedule consultations, and make client follow up a breeze. Highly trained Executive Assistants and a focus on personalized service make Officense much more than a simple answering service. With over 10 years of industry experience, Officense virtual assistants are the ideal as-needed resource for any phone, marketing, data entry, or document preparation task that might normally monopolize your time.

The resources and amenities provided by the Maryland State Bar Association and Officense are what every solo practice and small firm needs to beat the competition and reach their potential. Take advantage of the many benefits of your MSBA membership with online courses, special partner discounts, and educational events like the Solo Summit and Annual Bar Association Meeting. To learn more about resources to help your practice grow, click here.