Business Trends: Management and Tech Decisions
The complete survey reports are now available online.
The NH Bar Association Economics of Law Practice Survey asked practitioners to anticipate what management decisions they expect to face the coming year.
Their answers provided some measure as to the optimism of the New Hampshire legal community, and also point to new tools and techniques lawyers will be using to develop new business, retain existing clients, and reduce costs.
- More than 60 percent of firms said more clients want to use credit cards to pay fees;
- Slightly more than half (52 percent) expect to increase billing rates this year;
- A majority of firms indicated that bonuses and salary increases for lawyers are likely this year;
- Paperless office practices is the trend attracting the most interest among those who have not adopted it.
There are a number of business management tools and innovations that are not gaining much traction among New Hampshire lawyers.
These include offering clients discounts for prompt payment. Fewer than 22 percent are considering this, and only 7.4 percent currently offer these discounts.
Alternatives to hourly billing are in use by 7.3 percent of respondents, and only 28 percent are considering a change to the billable hour.
Although 57 percent of firms use cloud computing in some form, only 10 percent of those that don't are considering it making the switch.
Voice-recognition software is used by 33 percent of respondents, but the percentage of attorneys who are considering using it (8 percent) is exceeded by the 10 percent who said they tried it and abandoned it.
And let's not forget WordPerfect – once the word processor of choice for many lawyers, but virtually non-existent elsewhere. It continues to be used by 26 percent of the lawyers who responded to the bar's survey.