Contrary to popular belief, always being “super busy” in your real estate law firm and things being “really crazy” all the time is NOT normal or the way it should be.
It’s actually a serious sign of inefficiency -- which most lawyers instead confuse as a badge of honor.
But feeling overwhelmed is actually a warning sign foreshadowing that when the firm gets a bit busier, things will start falling through the cracks, leading to a quick decline in both the real estate law firm’s service level to clients, as well as the mental health levels of the staff, especially if you’re a small/solo practitioner.
Being Overwhelmed is not a “Badge of Honor” for real estate lawyers
Just because all the other real estate lawyers you might know also happen to be feeling overwhelmed, and sometimes might even brag about it… all they’re doing is celebrating unhealthy work patterns. That shouldn’t normalize being overly busy or make you think “that’s just the way it is” and resign yourself to a fate of forever being overwhelmed as a real estate lawyer and having little to no work-life balance at the end of the day.
There’s a better way… and that better way is to use real estate lawyer software to manage all your transactions, simplify and streamline your day, bring all the work under control, and help you actually shift from being reactive to proactive so you have extra time free at the end of each day.
Real Estate lawyer software gets your tasks under control so you’re not constantly “putting out fires” and can actually focus on the growth of your law firm
The real goal of real estate lawyer software in your firm is to free your time so you can save time and stop being overwhelmed, deliver a better client experience, and grow your firm.
Real estate lawyer software is fundamentally different from the general “legal practice management software”, in that it’s designed specifically ground-up for the hectic realities of a busy real estate law firm that focuses on residential commercial property transactions, whereas other softwares are designed to try to be a one size fits all solution for all practice areas.
Obviously your needs as a real estate law firm are totally different than a Personal Injury, Divorce, or criminal practice and can often unintentionally create double or triple work specifically for real estate practitioners. Real Estate lawyer software is specially built for real estate transaction management and communication in residential, commercial, or lending transactions.
With that in mind, here’s what the right real estate lawyer software should do for you while you’re busy managing transactions and trying to keep your closings together.
You should finally be able to:
1. Stay on top of all your tasks & To-Do lists for clients and closings
- A) A master checklist all in one place:
The first thing that you need to do to get your hectic workday under control at the law firm is to have a master checklist of everything you need to do from start to finish on your transactions, all in one place.
This will let you keep track of where you're at, and what's left to do, also include some sort of reminder system to let you know what's overdue, what's coming up soon, and who's responsible for what. Without all that, a real estate attorney’s life is managed chaos, at best.
Even if you don't have staff, it's just as important to be able to track who is responsible for what outside of your office, such as your buyers or sellers, Brokers, title companies, lenders, and other participants in the transaction, and when they are supposed to get you things in a timely manner.
- B) Automate the follow-ups for you:
Ever spent time chasing real estate agents for their commission bill prior to closing, even though they should know to send it considering they want to get paid?
The right software should be following up on that with them automatically, so you don’t have to. That’s 1 less email you have to send to someone while frantically trying to coordinate a closing… or depending on how unorganized that real estate agent is… that might be 10 fewer emails or phone calls you have to make!
So the first thing real estate lawyer software is supposed to do is give you a neatly organized list of tasks and everything that's expected of you, your staff, and everybody else in the transaction – all neatly displayed in one place so you can easily tell where things are at.
When your clients are Brokers calling you for status updates – you have the information at your fingertips. With that in place, you can start leveraging reminders, automated follow-ups, and other time savers.
- C) Re-use common workflows as templates, for buyers, sellers, etc:
It should also allow you to save your frequently used workflows and checklists as a template so you can easily recycle them every time you start a new real estate transaction.
Once you implement a good workflow and task management system using real estate lawyer software -- that’s probably going to be the first time you'll actually be able to breathe a sigh of relief because you now have a system to actually get your workday under control. This is the first step to freeing your time so that you can do other more productive things.
- D) Trying to keep perfectly organized without technology is mathematically impossible:
Despite whatever sort of homegrown organization system you may have already implemented in your Law Firm, whether it’s noted to yourself or even some sort of spreadsheet, it's literally impossible for any human being to keep track of all the deliverables perfectly on a real estate transaction.
A property transaction is essentially a bunch of things, paperwork, and deadlines all happening and rapidly shifting within a 30 to 45 day period prior to closing. Just for illustrative purposes, if you do the math and have just 20 things to track across a transaction, and you're handling 10 deals at once, that's already 200 separate tasks or deadlines that you need to stay on top of at any given time.
How can a human being perfectly manage all those without some special software? You can’t.
Without some sort of software to manage all that for you, it's inevitable that things will fall through the cracks -- and that can lead to annoyed or frustrated clients, Brokers, or worse. And sometimes malpractice claims when things really fall through the cracks or an innocent forgetful oversight on your part ends up costing the client tangible money.
This is the first reason why using specialized real estate lawyer software is essential, as opposed to trying to juggle everything without the help of technology.
2. Make sure you’re not forgetting something important to reduce unexpected “fires” to put out
The next thing that real estate lawyer software needs to do in your firm is reminding you and actually highlight tasks that are falling through the cracks or forgotten about, such as when deposits are due, or mortgage contingencies are coming up. Ever forget to order the title, or delayed by a few days? Ouch, that can make you look bad to the clients.
Once you have all of your tasks and workflows for your transactions being stored in one place, you essentially have a “record of truth” that you and your staff can refer to see what's outstanding as well as how far behind certain things have gotten before they become burning issues or fires that you have to put out
This is especially true when you have staff, whether it's one paralegal or a dozen attorneys working under you. Keep in mind from a business management standpoint, effective delegation is impossible without a single centralized place that has some sort of tickler system to alert people when they're dropping the ball.
3. Automatically keep clients and brokers updated, so they’re not pissed off at you
Good communication = happy agents
Happy agents = more referrals and revenue.
“Hey what’s going on with my closing?” Those are the dreaded words every real estate lawyer hates to hear from a frustrated client. That frustration is usually the result of your client already feeling for a while that they’ve been in the dark and are not being updated enough until their frustration usually erupts at you at an unexpected time.
Communication is literally the most important thing to clients and the real estate agents who referred those clients to your law firm. Unfortunately, communication is also the for which thing you have the least amount of time because you're so busy juggling and handling other things in the law firm.
Real estate lawyer software fundamentally recognizes the challenge that communicating to your clients what you’re doing is just as important as actually doing it. The work you do as a real estate lawyer, and the need to communicate the status of that work to the key stakeholders on the transaction - such as your clients, and the agent who referred them... is equally as important as doing the work itself!
Agents and clients are not very forgiving, since they only care about their transactions and not any of the dozens or hundreds you’re handling at the same time.
So if you’re a real estate lawyer who works hard on people’s transactions, but sucks at communication -- then at best you’ll just be a lawyer who’s underappreciated for their efforts -- or more likely you’ll be constantly on the defensive trying to explain yourself.
How real estate lawyer software can help you here, is that it can automatically update your clients and keep them informed when you want -- making your clients love you and flipping around the current paradigm which clients and brokers have of expecting that they’ll need to chase you for information.
Seasoned real estate lawyers know that transparency and communication is the most important thing to maintain trust during the course of the real estate transaction, and the key to continuing to get referrals from those people you just closed the deal for.
Think about it… if clients and agents weren’t absolutely “wowed” by your level of organization and communication… why would they continue to refer business to you?
So another key fundamental thing that real estate lawyer software must do is to automatically keep everybody updated about the status of their transaction at exactly the right time, without creating any extra work for you as the lawyer to keep everybody on the same page.
It should communicate updates as they happen on the transaction, and also give a place for people to log in to see the status of all of their closings which is especially true for agents that may be referring multiple transactions, as well as younger and Millennial clients who pretty much demand technology from their service providers and look down on real estate professionals that aren't using software to be more efficient
4. Reduce email back and forth & searching for contacts and attachments
If you’re a real estate lawyer, you pretty much live inside your email inbox.
Real estate lawyer software optimized for residential and commercial transaction workflows can vastly reduce the number of emails, back and forth, and clicking around you have to do daily, which eats up a huge amount of your time.
Have you ever logged on to your email early in the morning, and then by lunchtime wondered where all the time went? Well that's a good sign that you're email activities could be secretly draining a lot more time than you think
There might even be days where you may have even wondered “did I go to law school for 4 years and take on a ton of debt just to become a professional emailer??”
But if you actually break down to see where that time is going each day on email, you will see that a large amount is spent on the following tasks in your inbox.
Keep in mind ALL of these are 100% non-billable, non-revenue producing, and essentially time-wasting activities:
- Searching for contact info in signatures
- Reading chains to remind yourself which contacts are involved in a particular transaction
- Searching for attachments
- downloading attachments and dragging them onto some shared drive
- forwarding things to your staff to be done
- to get a status update -- searching for someone’s name, or a property address -- then digging through the resulting email chains to figure out what’s been happening on a transaction
- searching through emails to check if someone was copied, got the memo, etc
- finding notes that you’ve emailed to yourself about something -- so you don’t forget it later but now you’ve forgotten how to find that note
If you’re running a real estate law firm you are definitely doing the above things either a little bit or a lot - depending on how hectic your workday is. But they’re silently draining your time and productivity, day after day, month after month like clockwork. It adds up.
Consider that inbox and email management do not increase your Revenue per closing. In fact, if you can get rid of time spent doing the above, you actually increase your profitability per file by reducing the amount of time it takes to get things done.
So it’s very important that the right real estate lawyer software should eliminate and automate a lot of the time-wasting administrative activities around your email inbox. Furthermore, it should integrate with your workflows, your checklist, and your update system so that you can focus your time on meaningful communications instead of wasteful clicking around.
Now, since you already have your workflows and to-do list under control using the real estate law software, integrating it with your emails where you can actually have your to-do list pop up next to each transaction while you're emailing about it is a game-changer for real estate law firm productivity.
This is especially true for your staff when they are empowered to see the list of everything they're supposed to do side-by-side while they're reading their email from you as you delegate tasks to them
5. Finally, free your time to focus on actually growing your real estate law firm
In addition to the above key features which will set you free from many of the administrative chores in your real estate law firm, fundamentally real estate lawyer software is supposed to simplify your job managing transactions by reducing work, and automating as much as possible. the goal is to free your time, as well as your mind, to focus on the actual growth of your firm
Most lawyers are so busy each day that they don't have time to focus on business moves, marketing, or other activities that will bring in more clients because they are buried in the mundane day-to-day tasks of running a real estate firm. they wish if they had just an extra hour or two per day, that would really add up over the week in the month, and they could use that time to get more clients, get more organized, or achieve more of a work-life balance
Real estate lawyer software that’s designed specifically for managing the legal aspect of property transactions can be just the breakthrough needed for you and your staff to finally stop feeling overwhelmed and free up valuable time.
Read further to take a deeper look at an actual list of specific activities in your real estate firm that are killing productivity for you and your staff.
Ready to declare war on inefficiency in your law firm?
See a list of the top 5 time wasters hurting your real estate law firm, and how TrackWithEase real estate lawyer software solves them
We’ve already identified the top 5 inefficiencies that drain your time in a busy real estate law office and hurt your profitability. If you can eliminate these time wasters, you can vastly reduce the number of hours you and your staff spend per transaction, which has the effect of immediately increasing your “profit-per-closing” metric, since your closing fee remains the same but your time spent has decreased.
We’ve conveniently listed out the top 5 time wasters in a brief whitepaper, along with a side-by-side explanation of how TrackWithEase real estate lawyer software eliminates or automates those time wasters for you so you can free your time to grow your firm.