Criminal defense is one of the most challenging practice areas to specialize in. Friends, family, and even strangers have misconceptions about the work you do and may assume that you side with criminals. Your clients are often emotional, and you can’t blame them. They’re going through incredibly difficult times, whether or not they’re innocent.
Due to the high demands of criminal defense, you need to spend the majority of your time focusing on your clients to provide the best care and arguments in court. One way to take the stress out of your job is to automate certain tasks. Automating tasks can take the pressure off your schedule and help you concentrate on your most pressing responsibilities.
Instead of spending time on busywork or billing, you can let specialized software take care of it for you. Here are six different ways to automate your criminal defense practice.
1. Build a Better Client Intake System
Client intake requires a lot of non-billable hours to attract clients. However, certain clients won’t be the right fit for your firm, and it can be difficult to weed these leads out before you’ve already spent valuable hours on them. That’s why so many law firms implement CRM software to improve the client intake process.
CRM software guides potential clients through the intake process. Instead of having to call leads yourself, CRM software can send automated emails and phone calls on your behalf. These messages can invite people to fill out a client intake form or contact info questionnaire. While some attorneys may worry that automating contact points with leads may feel impersonal, these messages are customizable and responsive. The result: your leads are quickly attended to and feel valued rather than ignored.
Once clients have filled out their intake form or contact info questionnaire, CRM software makes use of a built-in softphone that prioritizes leads. The softphone makes it easy for criminal defense attorneys to follow up with clients who are the right fit for your firm. No time is wasted on leads who don’t need your services.
2. Simplify Client Communication
When you’re in the middle of working on a complex legal document or in a meeting with an anxious client, it can be impossible to pick up the phone. But you make current and new clients feel valued by return their calls. In short: you need to be able to be in two places at once—and it’s possible to do this with helpful automated answering services.
These are virtual receptionists who pick up the phone on your behalf. Some receptionists are on duty 24/7, so your calls will be picked up no matter what time a potential client calls in. You’ll receive a call notification via text message, and an email of call notes and summaries are sent daily. This ensures everyone gets an answer, even when you’re in the middle of something.
3. Use the Default Calendar Configurations
Calendars can feel tedious and disorganized, but they don’t have to be. Legal practice management software offers automated reminders and calendar updates to keep your whole team connected.
Automating calendars has many purposes. You can use it to:
- Set up automated reminders for upcoming appointments
- Receive notifications for court filing dates
- Keep your team looped in for weekly meetings or events
- Stay organized with color coding for clients and meeting types
- Set up default calendar configurations and automate messaging for them
Once you create these systems, you don’t have to worry about notifying people about what day or time a weekly meeting will happen: it will be on the calendar every week unless you change it.
Look for helpful integrations like the automatic calculator of the statute of limitation. You don’t have to worry about accidentally miscounting the days because this helpful integration does it for you, taking one more task off your plate.
4. Create and Find Legal Documents Faster with Document Automation and Management
Document management tools are crucial to criminal defense firms. When dealing with mountains of evidence and important files like complaints and indictments, you need a strict system of organization so you can find what you need quickly.
If you spend hours sitting at your desk pouring over intake forms or other legal documents, use document automation to speed the process up. The software can identify merge fields for you, notify you of errors before you finalize, and recognize when information is missing. You’ll never have to redo a legal document because of small errors again.
Document management systems make it easy to go paperless. Scan in any paper files and then organize them with the folder system that works for you. While this isn’t automation, it does make it easier to find documents quickly so you save both your time and your client’s time.
5. Use Legal Billing Software with Features like Automated Payments
Non-billable hours like time-tracking and billing can eat up a criminal defense lawyer’s day, especially if you work at a small firm or operate as a solo practitioner.
To speed up billing, look for automated and helpful features like:
- Automated payments: Use automated recurring billing and payment plans to ensure that clients never forget to pay on time and lighten your billing workload.
- Batch billing: Process multiple invoices in the background while you work on other tasks.
- Intuitive time- and expense capture screens:Rocket Matter offers screens that pop up when you need to bill time for a project or piece of work, so you don’t have to remember to do it yourself.
6. Use Case Management Software to Automate Tasks and Simplify Workflows
When you work on many criminal defense cases, similarities will start to pop up. Once you sense a pattern, you’ll know the tasks that need to be done over and over for each case. Make it easy to assign work or parse out a case with the automatic task management tools in case management software.
Use matter management templates to create parameters for tasks and events and apply them to specific cases. This sets up a complete but customizable workflow. No more sending emails or setting up meetings with individual team members to discuss their duties for a case. Legal task management software keeps everyone updated automatically.
Automate Your Criminal Defense Practice with Rocket Matter
Rocket Matter can help your criminal defense practice step into the future with our library of automated software to help you make the most of your workday, including:
- Client communications
- Document automation
- Recurring payments and batch billing
- Default calendar configurations
- Case management
Plus, Rocket Matter integrates with critical tools like CRM software, virtual receptionists, and a court rules and deadline management system provider. These share information with Rocket Matter, so all the critical information you need can be found in one place.
If you’re a criminal defense attorney who’s tired of doing administrative tasks when you’d rather be focused on your clients in need, schedule a demo with Rocket Matter today.