Client Connection

Client Connection

Friday, November 2, 2012

Value -- and Evaluate -- Your Non-Lawyer Rainmakers

With law firms heading toward November and the year-end crunch, now is a good  time to evaluate whether the firm  has the right administrative staff, and determine whether they are doing the right work the right way. Although firms may think they should wait until after year-end, now is the best time to start building the evaluation to help the bottom line.

• Are these staff members reporting weekly  on the accounts for which they are responsible, including the age of the accounts, how much they have collected and what they have in line for payment? 
• Do you know how much they are working on actual collections, as compared to other duties less important to their primary  purpose  (i.e., generating reports, sending out reminder statements,
providing information that the lawyers request)? 
• Are they knowledgeable enough to provide the right reports and management information to the firm that will explain the progress of collection efforts?

Staff much be held to a high level of accountability, but for different reasons than the attorneys. If the firm chooses to have staff contacting clients directly, the staff must not have too many other responsibilities that keep them from dedicating themselves to this mission. Beware of staff that prefers doing clerical work to making telephone calls to clients.

Your collection team member must have  a strong understanding of different kinds of transactions and different  practices, and what each requires. They must know – and have access to – the right resources for getting bills paid.  They must be expected to  handle collections on a day-to-day basis. Equally important, they must be evaluated to insure that they are providing concrete results. 
Recognize collection managers as the “rainmakers” they can be.  Although they are  making rain in a different way than the attorneys, the value they can add to the bottom line can be equally great.