Technology not only impacts our daily lives, but also professionals and their respective industries. The way people do business has dramatically changed over the years because of advancements in the tech industry. Technology on its own will not necessarily make you a better lawyer, but it will increase your productivity and help to make daily tasks much easier. Take a look at some of the areas that it can help:
1. Serving your clients more efficiently
As a lawyer, your job is to provide services to your clients in the most effective and efficient way possible. One can do that on their own, but technology can drastically aid in doing that faster. Apps and technology are advancing everyday and the legal industry is definitely no exception to this trend. If you haven’t started using some of the tools it’s time that you jump on the train so you can spend your precious time focused on what you are doing and not how you are going to do it.
2. Increased Productivity
Just being efficient doesn’t necessarily make you a better lawyer, it is about the boost in productivity, or in simple terms, how you use the extra time. I’m sure you know that an incredible amount of time is lost due to administrative tasks like billing, client intake, data entry, following up, etc. Those are clearly necessary activities to stay in business, but aren’t driving forces to moving your firm to the next level. Using technology to automate those processes frees up time every single day to help you be more productive and focus on what is really going to help your business.
3. The ability to do things you couldn’t do otherwise
If you are out of the office and a problem occurs, you have the ability with mobile ready applications and software to access that information. Almost everything you need is backed up in multiple places that happen to take up a lot less physical space and is much quicker to sort through versus filing cabinets. Paperless tasks that previously took up a massive amount of time are now something so simple you don’t even have to think about it.
Now that you know what technology can do to help move your firm forward and stay ahead of the curve, you may be wondering what some of that software looks like? As mentioned, technology always changes, new software comes out and advancements occur, but this is a snapshot as of October 2017: Document Management Systems, Business Intelligence, and Dictation Software. Clearly, it is nowhere near all of the applications available to help a lawyer stay efficient and productive, but it gives you a little insight into a few of the tools that are available. Some other noteworthy options include online calendars, tasks, and reminders, note taking software, time and billing systems, online client portal, video conferencing software, law practice management software, matter pricing and planning, and CRM. To give you an idea of what some of these applications can do to help your firm we chose three to explain a little bit more in depth.
A legal document management system, DMS, brings document organization as well as management to your firm. It provides more to the user than the basic document storage system that you may be thinking about (hard drive, file server, cloud based storage). Those help to keep documents in one place saved and safe while a DMS gives your firm the tools to manage, organize and make the documents useful for the firm. Some of the features it provides are version management, document check in/out, index and search, automatic OCR, scan and fax integrations. In addition to these features the functionality is really what sets it apart and makes this technology so useful for law firms. Three main features are matter-centricity, email management, and document tagging and types. By taking advantage of a DMS your firm will be able to easily organize, access, and work with their documents day-to-day in a much more effective way.
Business Intelligence is a basic term and can be used in many different industries, but law firms are interested in how it can help them to be more productive. “Basically, firms are leveraging their data through reports, online analytical processing, and predictive analytics. This equips them with the information to better understand their economics, which translates to better decisions, additional opportunities, and more money for the firm.” This is an excerpt from our recent blog post, a recap of the ILTA Conference, and it helps to explain the future of legal tech in the BI realm. Data-driven decisions based on reliable business intelligence (BI) can provide law firms with the quick, accurate answers they need to increase their productivity and ultimately achieve success. This case study explains how Crowell & Moring saved incredible amounts of time while increasing productivity and profitability.
Technology is constantly changing, and dictation may be one of the most traditional ways to help lawyers deal with the time crunch the face everyday. Gone are the days of recording on a cassette and giving the tape to your secretary. New dictation technology gives lawyers the ability to do things they could never dream of before. A mobile office with limited tools- not a problem. Just some of the most popular ways lawyers are making their lives easier are dictating memorandums, blog posts, pleadings, notes, memos, faxes, and even emails. When lawyers take advantage of dictation software it allows them to save time drafting documents, reduce lengthy meetings, or simply just organize their thoughts as they jump from matter to matter through their busy work day.
This quote from Greg Baumgartner in an Above The Law article gives a great perspective on technology in the law firm sector. “Many people choose not to try new technology because of fear of the unknown. Take the leap and if it works out, great, and if it doesn’t, at least you have tried to expand your horizons. There’s an old saying, ‘you can build a house with a hammer or nail gun.’ Why not choose the nail gun?”
There is no app or software program that will do your job and present an opening statement, but adapting to technology will certainly give you a competitive advantage. Technology is neither good nor bad, but it is powerful. It’s time for lawyers to embrace it and utilize it to their advantage because it is truly a great way to set up your firm for a successful future.