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The ultimate goal of running a business is to make profit. When running a business in a challenging economy, when customers and profits are hard to come by, several entrepreneurs take the road often taken to maintain their bottom line – cutting costs.
Law firms are no different. As the volatility of the current economy takes a toll on them, it shouldn’t be surprising if law firms, particularly the small and solo ones, look for ways to increase their revenue by spending less.
Mentioned ahead are a few ways in which law firms can cut costs.
- Economize the Office
If you’re a small or a solo firm, think about this – do you really need that huge, decorated office in that highly prominent location? After all, they will come at an exorbitant cost. It would make better sense to have a simple, yet professional-looking office in an affordable location.
Alternatively, why have a fixed office at all? You can consider renting space in an externally managed space where you pay only for the services you ause. This could mean anything from leasing a full-time room and setting up an office, to accessing a conference room when meeting clients. This setup could be particularly beneficial for firm operating virtually.
- Outsource Staff and Skills
When you’re running a small law firm and aren’t making much money, you will do well to outsource certain staff and skills. Do you really need that full-time accountant, legal assistants and other support staff? Chances are the answer is in the negative. Consider every aspect of this and then make a call.
The payroll function, for instance, is one of the biggest expense in any firm. Consider if you really require all the people you employ. Layoffs and reduced work hours can help, particularly when you have other more economically-viable alternatives available. Outsourcing functions like payroll and IT can go a long way in bringing your costs down.
- Think Paperless
Buying paper costs money, and storing it requires space. Also, when you buy paper, you will invariably need to spend on folders, files, clips, cabinets, photocopiers, printers, printing supplies, and so on.
The simple solution for this is to go paperless. Using CDs, pen drives and external hard drives is much more convenient and can save you a lot of money. Apart from that, cloud storage platforms come as a blessing and can help cut costs, thereby sparing you the stress related to storage.
- Curb Your IT Expenses
Just like any progressive firm, you’re surely going to want to buy the most updated technology for your firm. But hold that thought and think rationally about this one too. Evaluate your IT needs before buying new technology or even upgrading the current one.
Technology takes little time to become outdated. Your current technological aid and systems may be all that you need for the time being. If you still think your computers need to be replaced, consider whether or not second-hand or refurbished units will suffice.
Further, you can consider free/economic alternatives to essential office programs such as the Microsoft Office Suite. OpenOffice and Google Apps can be of great assistance here.
Similarly, reevaluate your need for having multiple pieces of office equipment like fax machines, scanners and printers when a single, but optimally configured, copier can perform all these tasks. If your office equipment is proving to be costly, you can either sell or donate it.
Be mindful, however, that if your photocopiers, fax machines and printers do not have the automatic encryption feature, take them to a trustworthy dealer to have the hard drives wiped clean. Being a law firm, the last thing that you’d want would be to pass on your clients’ confidential information into the hands of complete strangers.
There’s no doubt that waste and unnecessary costs can eat into your profits. It is best to minimize and/or control expenses in order to maximize revenues. The above tips should help you identify the areas where skimping may actually work and turn out to be beneficial. Do keep in them in mind when planning for cost cutting at your law firm.
About the Author:
Robert J. Kerr is a top Chicago-based criminal defense attorney at Law Office of Robert Kerr, LLC. He concentrates not only in criminal defense but also in DUI defense, drug crimes, sex crimes and civil rights. His aggressive approach helps his clients protect their rights and he is always ready to provide timely information and accurate advice to them.