Most legal firms have ceased to look upon technology as an operational expense. Instead, they are leveraging the benefits of modern technologies and advanced strategies to increase productivity and gain a competitive advantage. Altman Weilâ€™s Law Firms in Transition Survey found that increases in law firm profitability are clearly linked to strategic changes in staffing, improvements in legal service delivery, and pricing approaches. Here are some of the high-tech solutions that are helping proactive lawyers stay ahead of the game:
Data management software: Successful lawyers are knowledgeable about practice and data management software and use it to their best advantage. Modern software helps in archiving, early case assessment and legal research, ultimately contributing to a smoother experience for the client. Quality software interfaces offer retrieval speed and scalability, and constantly update the status of files, even indicating things like how many documents remain to be reviewed. Practice management software facilitates online billing, payment processing, and much more.
Cloud computing: According a 2015 survey by the American Bar Association (ABA), over 59% of respondents report using cloud storage for law-related tasks in 2015, higher by 45% in 2012. Anytime access is considered the biggest advantage of cloud computing for lawyers. Cloud-based legal calendars allow the legal team to collaborate more easily and efficiently as they can view each otherâ€™s schedule and set meeting times. Other benefits include convenience, elimination of traditional premise-based systems, and quick start-up times.
Mobile devices and apps: Mobile technology helps lawyers stay connected when they are on the go. A 2014 Legal Technology Survey Report from the ABA showed that most lawyers (65%-94%) worked on mobile devices regularly or occasionally at home, in hotels, in transit, and at airports; up to 84% used a laptop, 91% used a smartphone, and 49% used tablets. Up to 95% said they used mobile devices mainly to check email.
Law firms are also harnessing mobile applications to stay productive. Apps designed for lawyers allow them to find information quickly, interact with their team and clients, and manage their day-to-day activities. Many attorneys use dictation apps to send files directly to their legal transcription service provider.
Social networking: Social networking has transformed the way law firms communicate. According to the ABA, the diligent use of social media gives law firms a voice, and helps lawyers enhance their professional reputation and drive new business. However, while social media has become a rich source of electronic evidence for litigators, it also poses a potential source of risks for those who serve business entities.
Website redesign: One of the key steps in the modernization process is website redesign. Marketing experts recommend that websites need to be revamped at least once every three years. The goal should be to make the website attractive and also client-friendly, allowing visitors to find the information they need quickly. Today, most law firms have implemented responsive web design to ensure good visibility on mobile devices.
In addition to using advanced technology to become more efficient and productive, many law firms have revamped their administrative and back office functions with outsourcing. Legal transcription outsourcing allows busy lawyers to get their dictation converted into quality text documents for easy reference. With a skilled workforce using the latest technology, established companies provide cost-effective legal transcription services to ensure error-free, timely documentation of court proceedings, correspondence, depositions, interrogations, and more.