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The ability to be more efficient all while cutting costs is a goal held by many professionals. Always seeking to maximize efficiencies and to find ways to do more work with fewer resources is a constant challenge with a nagging stress due to a lack of production. As a result, legal professionals are seeking out tools that significantly cut down on the amount of time it takes for lawyers to draft or respond to legal documents. (This is according to a recently released Lexis® for Microsoft Office® Case Study.)
While the legal industry has received its fair share of cost cuts, the answer of how this is happening at an individual firm level and what are the results have not yet been articulated in a succinct manner. So, we posed these questions 2 questions to LexTalk community and received a number of responses. Below are a few of their responses.
How is cost-cutting happening at an individual firm level?
"We reviewed our online and print resources in an effort to reduce redundancies. No need to continue paying for expensive print resources when we are also paying for online access to the same information. It wasn't entirely a smooth process as some of the older attorneys were unwilling to let go of the print resources they were used to using."
"Anything that is not essential is cut. We've been also cutting contracts when we can. In terms of increasing productivity, everyone is working on all cylinders!"
"We tend to focus on big ticket items, like travel, conferences and outside counsel fees."
What are some of the results?
"We've gone paperless to hopefully cut down on storage costs."
"Most conferences and seminars come out of our pocket now, although we get the time off as a non-vacation day."
"Keeping costs low is an ongoing process. Technology is being updated to increase productivity. New products are reviewed and acquired not only for content but also for productivity."
"The way we are cutting costs is to 1) not buy anything that isn't direly needed and 2) negotiate vendors down on price or stop buying from vendors that won't negotiate."
Are these measures working?
"It’s always a priority; from limiting use of outside counsel to no longer offering free coffee and being forced to print double-sided and in black-and-white unless you take extra steps to override defaults. Every year there is an additional push to further reduce costs."
"It is an on-going task -- one that must balance our ability to serve our clients with our need (and perhaps the clients' requests) to cut costs. But the initial cost savings must be considered against the long term; just because you will be saving $X by undertaking one strategy does not mean the actual change will result in true savings. This analysis may take time and must be done on a case by case and firm by firm basis -- it's similar to deciding whether to lease a car or buy a car, rent an apartment or buy a house. There are potential savings and costs associated with either option. The trick is figuring out what works for you and your firm. I fear too many decisions are being made hastily for instant savings."
"Our clients are under pressure to cut costs, so we have to find ways to do our work more efficiently. This is increasingly difficult as we already consider ourselves to be working as efficiently as possible. Still, eyes are always open for opportunities to cut costs and become more efficient for our clients."
To other members of LexTalk, are there other items you would include to this list? Include your comments in the ‘join the conversation’ text box below.
For anyone interested, download a copy of the Lexis® for Microsoft Office® Case Study.