Today we are sharing one of our most-requested items, the Delegation Worksheet (PDF)(Excel). This is a great tool to help you sit down and brainstorm the types of tasks you could theoretically pass off to the right paralegal, legal assistant, or other support personnel.
When working with a firm, we like to walk through their processes one functional area at a time. Who owns the process? What needs to happen to move things down the line? What are the known sticking points? Once we have the process mapped out on paper (a simple flowchart will do), then we start looking at it critically.
First, what can be eliminated? Are there steps being duplicated or unnecessary actions taken? You may be surprised as you dig down into the firm’s workflow how often this occurs. Working with an intake team recently, I discovered data was entered three times: once, in the case management system, once for external marketing tracking, and once into a report for the financial software. We re-organized some of the reporting from the case management system so that they only had to enter the information once and it then populated everything needed. Removing duplicate information entry also cuts down on opportunities for human error.
Next, what can be automated? Why have a human do a repetitive task that a computer can do? Weekly reports can be automatically generated and sent to the correct individuals. Templates can ensure no steps in a process are missed. Automatic follow up emails can go out to clients requesting documentation, payment, or whatever else is needed. And all automation can, and should, be customized to fit into the firm’s brand and client management approach.
Now that you’ve cleared that off your plate, think about what can be delegated. What are the tasks a non-lawyer can do? What are the tasks you don’t enjoy doing? While you may still have to review the final product, a surprising amount can be delegated to skilled staff to prepare and move along almost to completion. With the help of templates and good training, a paralegal can draft most legal documents. With the right information and a little oversight, a bookkeeper can make sure your firm’s books balance and invoices are paid. With a well-thought-out process and a little guidance, a legal assistant can ensure your intake process flows smoothly and leads turn into satisfied clients.
The Delegation Worksheet is a great way to start the juices flowing. This is also one of the first steps we take with clients who work with Woven Legal to improve their processes. Then we dig down into the preferences, firm culture, technical, and personnel systems needed to make this a reality.