How case management drives down operational costs

November 18, 2019

How can case management help deliver lower operational costs?

The price squeeze for law firms will take a strangle-hold when it comes to mass volume work - the work new entrants to the market are most coveting. New players are set to deliver legal services - such as remortgage, conveyancing and personal injury - in highly automated, online environments at nail-bitingly competitive, fixed-fees to the customer. Fully utilising case management technology is a critical way solicitors may  achieve any kind of profit in this type of work by lowering the cost burden.

Speeding up repetitive actions is the simple premise of case management systems, yet the cost-benefit to law firms addressing the price squeeze of commoditised work will vary depending on their size. 

For larger firms costs can be reduced by de-skilling recurring elements of high volume work with scripted workflows so minimising the salary bill. Already commonplace in what can be considered ‘law factories’, teams of less qualified, less expensive staff use highly prescriptive workflows to increase the output of work. To help mitigate risk, team leaders are qualified lawyers and team members are unable to deviate from the scripted templates.

For smaller firms costs can be reduced with case management by making solicitors more self-sufficient thus reducing their reliance on support staff and challenging the outdated 1:1 ratio of fee earner to secretary. By automating repetitive activity, lawyers can also increase their productivity and enjoy more rewarding and profitable work.

For many years, mass volume work had been the life blood of many law firms – the cash flow provider. However, without taking measures to reduce the cost of delivering volume work with case management technology, it may be impossible for some areas of work to be delivered at a realistic cost to the customer, whilst also bringing in a meaningful profit to the firm. Indeed, we might remind ourselves of the old adage that ‘turnover is vanity, profit is sanity’.

Checklist of cost benefits of case management:

  • Larger firms: de-skilling laborious processes to reduce salary overheads and manage risk
  • Smaller firms: reducing administrative costs and 1:1 ratio of support staff  
  • All firms: more profitable delivery of high volume work to enable more competitive pricing
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