How Paralegals Can Double Your Revenue with Randa Prendergast
May 26, 2022
Anybody who starts a law firm tends to do everything themselves at first. As your law firm grows, flying solo becomes impossible to sustain. Law firm owners need to let go of trying to do everything so they can focus on what's important. Hiring a paralegal or two frees up your time and can also help you earn more.
In this episode, Randa Prendergast joins us to talk about her experience supporting law firms and helping them optimize their workflow. She shares why billing is the most common inefficiency across law firms and how to help owners overcome this. Time is precious, so we need to manage tasks and delegation more efficiently.
If you want to know more about how to stop doing everything yourself and delegate tasks to the right people, then this episode is for you.
Here are three reasons why you should listen to this episode
- Learn about the most common inefficiency in law firms and how you can avoid this.
- Discover how Randa’s company, Mrs. June Legal, can help drastically improve your firm within 90 days.
- Find out why it’s not a good idea to take on all your firm’s work and how you can earn more by hiring paralegals.
- Randa has been in the legal field since 2007. She started in a family law firm and took up several roles, including the paralegal, legal secretary, billing clerk, and more.
- Before the pandemic, she was doing contract work remotely with attorneys.
- Eventually, she started Mrs. June Legal, a company that helps law firms improve their workflow.
- Small firms and solo attorneys need to improve their inefficiencies and get legal support.
Randa: “At some point, there was a need for solos and small firms to identify inefficiencies in their law firm and to also get some actual legal support, because they are one person that can't possibly do it all and nor should they do at all.”
Law Firm Growth Pathways
- Law firms are different from each other. Some owners may already be satisfied by external legal support, while some want to grow more.
- Randa shares she hopes to help clients enough that they have all the processes and systems in place.
- She can also step into a consulting role and help hold lawyers accountable for their goals.
Processes and Task Lists
- Each workflow will have an internal policy, procedure, or process. For example, workflow on discovery will have a specific process of collection and documentation of clients.
- There will be small things in between task lists throughout the process that need to improve.
- For example, Randa’s company will then help ensure information organization to make it easy to identify missing information.
- In addition to workflow improvements, Mrs. June Legal also offers billing services.
Common Inefficiencies in Law Firms
- The most common inefficiency in law firms is that they're not billing.
- Some attorneys find it hard to track their time, but making this a habit is essential.
Randa: “Some attorneys, especially if they are working on retainer, have a hard time keeping their time.”
- When we struggle to do specific tasks, there's often an issue behind it. Remember, billing is not detrimental to clients; it's part of a law firm's service to them.
Moshe: “What is the deeper issue with tracking the time? I think that deep down, especially in the early stages of growing your law firm, you're afraid of the billing conversation with your client.”
How to Improve Billing
- Randa shares clients are more likely to get angry at inconsistent billing versus when they can get it consistently.
- If you’re struggling with cash flow, consider changing your billing cycle.
- Changing it to a weekly or bi-weekly model can help you monitor your hours and the retainer much better.
- This model solves time entry issues and properly bills the client the right amount of time.
- There are no other businesses that bill once a month. Big law firms can typically afford to bill once a month, but smaller firms can’t.
Randa: “We talk about impostor syndrome a lot. We talk about the fact that your clients expect to get a bill from you. And actually, if you don't bill them, you might have more clients that are angry at you getting a bill just whenever you feel like it, instead of getting something consistent where they know they can manage it.”
Assessing Billable Hours to Be More Productive
- Randa also helps clients assess their billable hours every week to assess what happened.
- Many lawyers may be spending time on non-billable hours.
- Keeping time on non-billable hours can help you identify what’s distracting you.
- Keeping track of non-billable hours can also help you decide when to bring in additional staff.
- If you want to grow a business that doesn’t rely on you, you need to hire people.
How Hiring People Helps Your Firm
Randa: “It's amazing how different their firm looks in 30 days, 60 days, 90 days. If they're ready for the work and put in and follow directions. It's literally a 180.”
- Adding more clients won't help if your firm cannot take them on.
- If you want to grow your firm, increase your firm’s capacity by hiring people.
- Remember your goal and purpose so you can create a roadmap towards it.
Randa: “Why are you here? Why did you start your business? I think that you need to rethink or go back to that reason because that's often lost. I'm a roadmap person, I'm a process person. So we think about why we started this and we start implementing things to get us back to that point.”
How Law Firms Can Change in 90 Days
- Randa shares how typical solo attorneys usually have messed up billing when consulting her.
- She shares how revenues may range from negative to under $10,000 a month.
- Randa’s company helps law firms like these double their revenue within 90 days.
- Hiring the right people for help can completely change your business. There are times when spending money will make money.
How Paralegals Can Help Your Firm
- Mrs. June Legal has hourly and weekly packages.
- Paralegal work starts at $100 per hour. Depending on the location, it can range from $125 to $175.
- When hiring paralegals, don’t focus on the profit margin. Focus on how it frees up your time so you can do higher-level work.
- Remember, there is competition in the profession. If hiring paralegals can lower your bill rates, you will be more attractive to clients.
- Listen to the full episode to hear Moshe and Randa further discuss the value of your time.
Randa: “With them [lawyers] doing the paralegal work, they don't have the opportunity to bring in any more clients. [It’s the] analogy of the cup is too full, they physically have no more time in their day to do any more work. So it's not going to end [with the] result of higher profit if they don't have any more capacity.”
- Assess your workflow and processes to find inefficiencies.
- You'll be able to find tasks that you can delegate to a paralegal instead.
Randa: “Look at your processes and start really focusing on what you can delegate out — things that you don't absolutely have to do. That will get the ball rolling.”
Randa Prendergast is the Paralegal and Managing Member of Mrs. June Legal, LLC, and is commonly known as the Attorney Whisperer. She is also a former Board Member at She Dreams Again.
She has over 15 years of experience helping law firms manage their office and optimizing their workflows, and has worked with boutique law firms, solo practitioners, and virtual law firms. She helps law firm owners focus on their purpose and develop corresponding processes toward that purpose. Her specialties include Paralegal, Intake Specialist, and Task List Developer.
If you wish to get in touch with Randa, you may connect with her on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and by email.
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