Manageable case ratings equals higher client satisfaction

Case list in law firmNew cases coming into your law firm is always a positive development.  New cases means that the law firm has legal work to complete.  Completed legal work is good for the clients because their problems are, hopefully, being addressed.  It’s also good for the law firm because, presumably, the law firm is generating income by completing legal work for the clients.

At the same time, client satisfaction is key for any law firm.  You want clients feeling as if their attorney and legal staff were accessible when they have questions, concerns or just needed to talk to somebody from the law office.  Or, when the client wants the law firm to take action on their case, it’s important that the attorney and legal staff be available to help in the time of the client’s need.

To make sure this happens, case ratings within a law firm needs to be monitored and managed in some capacity for client satisfaction to remain high — and to ensure prompt action can be taken for clients.  In saying this, does your law firm maintain a case list?  Are cases rated in some manner based on complexity?  Does the law firm limit the number of cases an attorney can handle or limit an attorney by some kind of case rating?

In lots of law firms, this doesn’t happen.  In the absence of this, the number of cases an attorney can end up handling can grow quite large.  In many law firms, the attorneys who are particularly charismatic can end up with lots of cases.  On the other hand, the other attorneys who might exhibit less initial charisma can end up with fewer cases.  This can result in some attorneys being over-worked and others under-worked.

Of course, initial charisma doesn’t always mean an attorney is going to produce better legal work.  In fact, attorneys who exhibit less initial charismatic can often produce great legal work for clients.

At the end of the day, the number of cases an attorney is handling needs to be monitored and managed in some capacity.  A manageable case rating can often help raise client satisfaction.  For example, it’s easier for an attorney to return phone calls, e-mails and take action when the number of cases they have is at a manageable level.

On the other hand, when an attorney has too many cases on their plate, this can often result in an attorney getting in over their head.  This can result in burnout.  It can result in backlog.  It can result in phone calls and e-mails not being promptly returned.  It can result in quick action not taken place for clients.

Yes, some attorneys may resist somebody managing their case load, but it is necessary to ensuring that client satisfaction remains high.  Just like the manager needs to sometime needs to walk out from the dugout to bring in a relief pitcher, there is a time where an attorney probably shouldn’t be getting new cases until they complete some of the ones they presently have.

While management and monitoring of the number of cases an attorney is handling can be hard work, it’s an important task in law firms in maintaining client satisfaction.  What are you doing to monitor and manage the number of cases your attorneys are handling?

If you have any thoughts, feel free to share them below.

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