By Joyce Brafford

What’s your average billable rate? $250? $450? What if you could generate an additional two hours every week? What about five hours? Hours reclaimed with the assistance of software add up. We’re talking about a student loan payment, a vacation for your family, or even the ability to hire another staff member.

That money – those opportunities – are on the line if you forgo basic training on your software. I’m not asking you to be a computer engineer. I’m suggesting that you are missing important resources within the programs you use every day.

For instance, how quickly can you:

  • Remove all the unusual formatting from a document?
  • Convert a document to a PDF, then convert it back to Word?
  • Send a form letter to a client using a template and merge fields?

If you have to think twice about how to do any of those things, you should invest in training on Microsoft Word, Adobe (or other PDF software), and your practice management software.

The good news is that the NC Bar Association has some training opportunities coming up. These classes aren’t CLE. They are practical training sessions with real returns on investment. The first is on Microsoft Word. If you can’t come, consider sending someone on your staff. If you’re just not sure about spending a day in training, here are the top five reasons to sign up for Mastering Microsoft Word in the Law Office on May 18.

  1. Bill More, Spend Less Time Working. Make more money faster. When you can draft clear, error-free documents quickly, you can do more work for more clients.
  2. Quality Work Means Happier Clients. Re-drafting documents, cleaning up messy formatting and missing important text changes lead to slower production time and unhappy clients.
  3. Clean Documents Showcase Professionalism.There are tools within Word to help you eliminate humiliating mistakes. From automated text and templates, to collaboration tools, to formatting guides, Word can be your best asset for drafting professional documents.
  4. Catch All Changes in a Negotiated Document. Catching all proposed changes can mean the difference between protecting your clients’ interests and losing something potentially valuable.
  5. Less time Drafting; More Time to do What You Love. If you can get your work done in a professional manner, but do it more quickly than you have in the past, you have more time to spend doing what you love.

The program costs $129 for NCBA Members and $179 for nonmembers. If you have any questions about the training, or why/why not it’s a fit for your firm, give me a call at 919-657-1566 or reach out to me on Twitter @joyce_brafford. You can go ahead and register today by clicking here!

Your ability to grow your office, offer competitive rates, and do good work are increasingly dependent on your technical skills. You can do more with less time if you invest in training for yourself and your staff. As more classes are made available, I’ll share them with you here, in The Lawyers Field Guide monthly column. In the meantime, contact me in the Center for Practice Management with any of your questions about technology, marketing, compensation, web presence, or legal research.