When Salt Lake attorney Kline D. Strong taught law office management at the University of Utah College of Law in the 1970s, he and his students scoffed at the notion the practical applications of Strong's books on efficiency would be available on computer.
What a difference 20 years has made. Strong, now with Salt Lake City law firm of Snow and Hutchison, has developed a new computer program that can help attorneys make better use of their time and increase their billable hours by 50 percent, according to American Bar Association sales literature.The system, called SubSys, was developed for use with WordPerfect software. The system is an updated computer version of the texts Strong has written to help lawyers streamline their practices and devote less time to tedious tasks and more to research and counseling their clients.
His five books and software system are sold exclusively through the American Bar Association. While these books have been used in law schools and private practices, Strong has received no payment or royalties for his work.
The software, books and time represent a contribution totaling more than $500,000, according to ABA reports.
But Strong neither taught school nor wrote the books and computer programs for financial gain, he said. "I went to teach at the U. because I thought I could help lawyers become better practitioners, not for the money. It was just the feeling that I could help clients get better quality service if the law firms were better managed," Strong said.
Time is a precious commodity for most attorneys, Strong said. Most of the nation's attorneys work in firms of five or fewer lawyers. Few of these firms can afford to hire an office manager and to complicate matters further, few attorneys come from backgrounds that emphasize business management skills.
Prior to 1960, most attorneys did not keep track of their time. "The lawyers just guessed at it. They guessed at it 40 percent short."
Strong, who holds a master's degree in business administration, a doctorate in law office management and is a certified public accountant, wrote "Simplified Accounting Systems and Concepts for Lawyers," to help lawyers establish an in-house accounting system.