While the benefits of technology have clearly spread to almost every imaginable industry, certain professions have been quicker to adopt innovations and leverage technology than others. The legal profession has not scorned technology in recent years by any means.
However, it is also such a human-capital-centric enterprise, that many firms feel they only need to adapt only minimal amounts of technological advancements. Law firms need only to look at recent changes in Fintech (also known as financial technology) to see how important technological flexibility can be.
Reconsider Customer Service
It can be hard to keep track of existing customers in the best of times, but the information age presents a new set of challenges. These same challenges, however, are also opportunities for firms that know how to respond to them.
Customer relationship management (CRM) tools are a must for any firm that hopes to maintain long-term relationships with a number of clients simultaneously. It will help streamline communications and bring team members up to speed on past interactions.
A second must-have for any business is a social media presence. This is true even in the case of corporate law, but a good rule of thumb is that the more your practice deals with the public the more important it is to expand the quality and breadth of your social media presence.
Outsource Less Intense Work
Outsourcing work does not necessarily mean the work is of lesser quality, and this is especially true for most clerical tasks. Any firm that spends an appreciable amount of time or money preparing documents or doing basic case research will almost certainly benefit from an outsourced legal assistant.
Overseas legal secretaries are more often able and willing to spend the time needed to make sure every detail of each activity is done properly. The fact that labor costs can be so much lower overseas allows them to spend more time on tasks to make sure they are done right, while, at the same time, costing your firm less money in wages and benefits.
Leverage Technology Advancements in Analytics
Analytics seems to be finding their way into everything from supply chains to football so it should come as no surprise that AIs have been developed that can automate the analysis, editing, and approval of most legal contracts.
Given the amount of time that most firms spend simply reviewing documents, it makes sense that reports of eye-popping cost reductions can frequently be found on some AI analytics websites.
Use or Revisit Document Automation Software
Just as analytics can help you save money while analyzing and editing documents, documents automation software can save money and time when producing documents. Document automation software, however, is a more mature field and is already in use by the majority of firms.
Even if your firm already uses the software of this sort, it is so frequently employed by most firms that it is well worth revisiting the software you use to see if you can find a more productive, more accurate, or less expensive version.
Get Software to Streamline Practice Management
Practice management software can work wonders for a law practice by augmenting the capability and reliability of existing staff members. Tasks such as creating invoices, paying the bills, and keeping track of appointments are too often managed by several different systems and/or employees.
A good practice management software suite will allow you to not only put all of these tasks under the same umbrella, but it will also allow work done in one area to reflect upon the records of another area. This cross-operability saves time and, most importantly, cuts down on clerical errors and poor communication.
Make Sure Everyone Is Using Compatible Mobile Communication Apps
Ideally, everyone on your team will be using the same software at the office and on their phones, but the real world never seems to work that way. At the very least, it is vital that you check to make sure the apps that employees use to communicate are cross-compatible with one another. A better solution, however, would be to choose one medium of communication as the default for all things business-related.
There are many platforms that will allow all operating systems and device types to use the same channels of communication across email, voicemail, text messaging, and even discussion forums. Slack is the most popular, but shop around and see which suite of tools is best for your needs and price range. Do not wait until a team member misses a vital message because their Mac moved it to a spam folder erroneously!
There is no escaping the fact that major changes are coming to the legal profession. Firms can either embrace the advantages offered by these changes or slowly atrophy until they eventually do so. Taking the opportunity to leverage new technologies can give your firm competitive advantages that are limited only by your creativity and technical acumen.