The best way to save money for your law firm and keep overhead expenses down

Here are EIGHT WAYS TO CUT COSTS FOR YOUR LAW PRACTICE.

#1: Consolidate cell phone and Blackberry services into one plan to achieve some savings.

#2:  Reevaluate your library needs.  Cut down on things you order, like treatises and practice books and things that you have in hard copy that can be accessed on-line.

#3:  Have everyone do their own pleadings and typing.  Cut down on dictation and free up secretaries to do other things.

#4:  Take a look at your staff-to-lawyer ratio as well as your lawyer-to-client ratio and keep things in balance with the needs of your clients.

#5:  Be more amenable to high-low arbitration as a way of avoiding the high costs of trial.  Push arbitration for cases, especially motor vehicle and premises liability cases, which have a value of less than $200,000.  This will limit your expenses and result in quicker resolutions of your cases.

#6:  In personal injury cases become more selective in what medical records you order.  Rather than order every medical record that existS, or ordering the medical records from every provider the client has seen, you should look at how relevant or significant each provider is and decide on a provider-by-provider basis.  Also, try not to order the medical records until you know you need them.

#7:  The cost of medical records has gone through the roof, so try to subpoena them as often as possible.  There's a huge discrepancy in the price.  You can get the medical records for $20 by subpoena.

Subpoena the medical records, and any other records you need, before filing the note of issue.  The documents you will need consist of the following: (1) Statement of Service by Mail (in duplicate) together with the Acknowledgment of Receipt by Mail of Subpoena Duces Tecum; (2) Judicial Subpoena Duces Tecum requiring the production of the records at your office; (3) HIPAA-compliant release authorization; and (4) Certification of Records.

If you serve these documents with the appropriate witness fee, you will get the medical records for the cost of the subpoena fee.  The hospital or doctor cannot request the .75 cent per page fee that is customary and in fact, it is uncommon that such a request6 is even made when you follow this procedure.

If you follow this procedure, there will be no need to subpoena the records for trial.  CPLR section 3122-a states that: "A party intending to offer at a trial or hearing business records authenticated by certification subscribed pursuant to this rule shall, at least thirty days before trial or hearing, give notice of such intent and specify the place where such records may be inspected at reasonable times. No later than ten days before the trial or hearing, a party upon whom such notice is served may object to the offer of business records by certification stating the grounds for the objection...Unless objection is made pursuant to this subdivision, or is made at trial based upon evidence which could not have been discovered by the exercise of due diligence prior to the time for objection otherwise required by this subdivision, business records certified in accordance with this rule shall be deemed to have satisfied the requirements of subdivision (a) of rule 4518."

Under CPLR section 3122-a, there is no need to produce a custodian of the records to lay the foundation for the business records exception to the hearsay rule, as long as you follow the procedure set forth in subdivision (c).  CPLR section 3122-a provides the basis for the admission into evidence of business records without the production of a witness.  This saves the cost and time of issuing trial subpoenas and even better, you save the cost of paying for medical records, which sometimes costs thousands of dollars.  This statute is a huge benefit to plaintiffs' lawyers, but few use it.

#8:  When medical records have to be produced to opposing counsel or for a medical expert, you simply burn them to a CD anD send the CD.  The documents can also be e-mailed.  The recipient can then review the records on their computer or print them out.  You can save hours and dollars in copying time, reduced paper, toner adn copier expenses. 

These eight cost-cutting measures, when applied, will save thousands of dollars for your law practice.