As law firms today are rapidly adopting software solutions for case management and billing, data entry is an inevitable side effect. Software without data is akin to a car without gas. The problem is, everyone hates data entry. It’s tedious, mind-numbing work. You can hire somebody else to do it, but that’s expensive. You can outsource it to save money, but that comes with a high risk of errors. The good news is, your law firm doesn’t have to keep wasting thousands on data entry. Read on to find out how.
How Much Data Entry Really Costs
Before we explain how to eliminate data entry at your law firm, let’s take a closer look at how much money you might actually be spending on data entry each year.
Let’s take a hypothetical small law firm that handles an average of 30 new client matters per month. This firm uses Clio to manage all their cases and billing, but they have not yet adopted a program like Lexicata to manage their client intake process.
For client intake, they use a good old fashioned system of PDF forms, combined with jotting down notes in Word documents during all the initial calls and meetings. Not exactly the most organized system, and not ideal for the client, but for this small firm, it works.
Once the firm has been hired and the client relationship has been formalized, they now need to set up the matter on Clio to prepare it for timekeeping and billing. Let the data entry begin!
Here’s an example of what a typical workflow might look like to input all the data for a given matter:
- Create a new contact in Clio
- Fill out the name, email, address, phone number, and all other relevant contact information fields
- Add any required custom fields to the contact
- Fill out each custom field with the corresponding data
- Create notes for additional information not already in the contact information or custom fields
- Create a new matter in Clio and associate this matter with the new contact
- Fill out the matter description, practice area, open date, location, responsible attorney, and other fields
- Add any required custom fields to the matter
- Transcribe all of the important data from the handwritten/typed notes into custom fields on the matter page
- Create notes for additional information not already in the matter details or custom fields
- Scan and upload any additional documents or files to store along with the matter
As you can probably imagine, this process likely would take at least 15 minutes (probably closer to 30 minutes) per matter, even for an experienced Clio user who has mastered all the features of the software.
When you account for the fact that this law firm has to repeat this exact same process 30 times per month, you start to see just how many non-billable hours are being spent on data entry. That adds up to 7.5-15 hours per month, or in the range of 90-180 hours annually.
Multiply that by an average billing rate of $250/hour and you’re looking at $22,500-$45,000 of billable hours per year being wasted on tedious data entry! And that’s just for a small firm that only handles 30 matters each month.
How to Save Thousands of Dollars by Eliminating Data Entry
You might be asking, why can’t you just enter all that data into Clio as you go, rather than jotting it down by hand or in Word docs and inputting it later? Good question.
For one, it doesn’t solve the problem of having to transcribe the answers from those PDF forms filled out by your potential clients. Second, the real problem is that it’s a terrible idea to clutter up your case management system with leads and potential matters.
You never know if people will end up hiring you or not early on. It doesn’t make sense to input leads into Clio until you actually have a matter, i.e. you’ve been hired and they are now actually clients. And that’s the main reason why lead management needs to be separate from case management.
So, how do we get all that data into Clio without inputting it? We’ve already established that collecting data in a software program is an inevitable part of using that software. There’s no way around it. But the good news is, you don’t have to be the one to input it.
How is that possible? Well, what if there was a way for the people who provide the data in the first place (AKA your clients) to input it for you? Sounds convenient, right?
Well now there is! And that is precisely how you can eliminate data entry at your law firm, cut out hours of lost, non-billable time, and ultimately recoup large sums of money from all those hours.
We designed Lexicata to accomplish this goal as seamlessly as possible by integrating our software with Clio. Here’s how it works:
- Create online intake forms that your potential clients can fill out
- Link up the contact info fields on those intake forms to the Clio API (Lexicata does this automatically for you)
- Link up other questions on the intake forms to Clio custom fields for both contacts and matters
- Send out these intake forms for each new potential client to fill out
- When someone submits a form, all the data is stored in Lexicata, so it won’t clutter up your Clio database with non-clients
- Once you’re hired, export everything from Lexicata to Clio (this takes about 2-3 clicks)
- You’ll have a new client and new open matter in Clio that’s ready for timekeeping and billing, without you having to do any data entry
The best part is, most firms already ask their clients to fill out PDF forms anyway. But rather than the client having to print it out and fill it in by hand, they can just enter the information online (even from their mobile phone). And not only that, the law firm no longer has to transcribe it into Clio – it happens automagically when you export from Lexicata.
Pretty neat huh? We’re big believers that automation like this is the key to lawyers’ survival. It’s all about streamlining admin processes and letting computers do what they’re good at so the humans can just focus on the legal work and on the relationship with the client. That’s the key to good customer service, and longterm success in this industry.
If you’d like to see this process in action, request a free demo and we’ll show you how we’re building the future of client intake at Lexicata.