Actionstep has a great tool in their Help section under Feedback Forum. It’s like a suggestion box, except that you can see all the suggestions that have been made, and you can search for suggestions you’re interested in. You can also vote for the suggestions you like, see how many votes each one has, and see the status of each suggestion (Reviewed, Planned, Completed, etc.). If there’s a suggestion you want to make, search the topic first to see if anyone has suggested it. If so, you can vote for it and make comments on it. If not, add the suggestion, and review it from time to time to see how many votes it has garnered and watch it go from Reviewed to Completed!
Over the past few months, I have seen a number of tweets in my Twitter feed that link to articles that discuss law firm reporting. Invariably, the articles discuss what financial reports the firm should be looking at.
As an example, Frank Strong of LexisNexis, whose Business of Law Blog is one of the best legal blogs around, recently posted 5 Essential Practice Management Reports for Small Law Firms. Of the 5 reports listed, they are all billing reports. This represents a tendency that I have seen with attorneys and law firms who only look at the financial reports to evaluate how their business is doing. When you come across an article about law firm reporting, it is almost always about the finances … how many hours did I bill, what was my realization rate, what is our AR, etc. In a recent post on the Time Matters forum hosted by my good friend and Elder Law Attorney extraordinaire, Robert Fleming, a poster said, “I use only the standard financial reports – Aged A/R and Detailed WIP. But I would like to do more.”
No one would debate that a law firm needs to use word processing programs. Consumer bankruptcy law firms would find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to file petitions without document assembly programs. And, some type of time, billing and accounting software is mandatory for almost all law firms. Yet, legal practice management software (LPMS), which has been one of the most discussed, debated and reviewed legal software genres for the past decade, has just recently reached the threshold of being adopted by half of all firms. This low penetration rate is surprising in that LPMS arguably has more day-to-day impact and, after being used for a time, also provides functionality that no law firm would want to be without. [Read more…]
The newest data indicate that bankruptcy filings continue to decline. Bob Lawless over at Credit Slips reports that the February 2015 filing data show a 10.1% year-over-year decline. This is the 52nd straight month of year over year decline.
If we are looking for a silver lining from the consumer bankruptcy attorney perspective (with which we are obviously aligned), the data charted in the blog post clearly show that the decline has flattened out considerably from the steep 2008 – 2011 decline. Coupled with the departure from the practice area of a substantial number of the attorneys who jumped into consumer bankruptcy around 2008 – 2009, established bankruptcy attorneys have reason to be cautiously optimistic that this trend has bottomed out. I always find it a little uncomfortable to hope that more people will have to file bankruptcy, but based on general economic data and news, as well as the filing data, it would seem that that filings will continue to flatten out with an eventual increase – it’s just a matter of when.
Not all the news is bad, unless you practice in Alaska. While the general filing trend is flattening out, it really depends on where you are located. In another post and in the comments, Bob Lawless and Credit Slips readers discuss the trends for each district. The deep south, good. Alaska, not so much.
Having reviewed this graph with our BKexpress clients in mind, I think one should dig a little deeper into this graph before taking it as good or bad news. For example, Nevada appears as a red state meaning that the per capita filing is high. Yet, the District of Nevada has suffered a wild roller coaster ride with one of the most precipitous declines in bankruptcy filings going from 11,000 filings in 2007, to 30,000 in 2010, 17,000 in 2012, and then dropping to 9,000 in 2014.