Raquel Gomes, Founder & CEO — Stafi.
Like any business, a law firm’s success depends on several key components. I consider developing depth and expertise in key practice areas to be at the top of the list, with providing excellent client service a close second. Rounding out the top three would most likely be hiring and retaining top talent.
However, in recent years, law firms have been forced to add a new ingredient to their recipe for success: investing in technology and innovation. To succeed, a modern firm needs modern technology that will boost its efficiency.
The most effective technology tools are those that can help your firm streamline its processes, enhance the service it provides to your clients and remove and lower unnecessary expenses. Based on my experience working with firms and legal assistants, here are three types of modern technology that I believe can contribute to a law firm’s success.
1. Cloud-Based Case Management
Cloud-based technology solutions have dramatically increased efficiency across much of the business landscape. By shifting software and services to platforms that are hosted and delivered via the internet—rather than via onsite servers—many organizations have achieved greater flexibility, scalability and accessibility.
Cloud-based applications can assist firms with opening new case files, organizing documents, timekeeping, deadline tracking and more. Because these services can be accessed remotely, they allow your firm and its lawyers to provide and review the latest updates on cases from any location.
Shifting to a cloud-based platform can also allow your firm to take advantage of cloud-based analytics, gaining access to insights that may be left uncovered in data kept on local servers. For example, cloud analytics can be applied in the legal industry to uncover trends in billing data that can help your firm optimize its rates. It can also be used to generate insights into attorney productivity and efficiency by analyzing data related to the time your attorneys spend on cases.
I’ve seen the usefulness of this technology in my own company; we now keep everything stored in the cloud so our information is protected and accessible to all of our authorized employees. Moreover, in case of an emergency, anyone with authorization is able to take over a particular sales opportunity or task, since they all have the information they need. As a business owner, you and your staff should be able to access needed information at all times. Storing information in the cloud makes it possible to determine who is allowed to see and retrieve data, ensuring all your records are secure.
2. Digital Signature Tools
Digital signature tools are another modern technology solution that can be widely applied in the legal field. Essentially, these tools eliminate paper handling by allowing documents to be digitally sent, signed, returned and stored from anywhere. This can cut down on the time required to obtain signatures by doing away with the need for mailing hard copies and attending in-person signings, allowing signatures to be obtained in minutes rather than days. Signing platforms can also allow your firm to automatically track documents throughout the signature process, receiving notifications when documents reach each stage of the process.
I’ve seen the benefits of this technology in my own company, as we have clients all over the country and must ensure that the process for signing documents is easy and quick. Our clients are busy business owners themselves, who need a quick and uncomplicated signature process. Moreover, digital signatures allow for our digital documents to be stored and retrieved easily, with the added benefit of contributing to environmental care by reducing our paper usage.
One other benefit I have experienced is how combining online client portals and digital signatures can help expand your business to work remotely with anyone in the world who has access to the internet. Connecting experienced employees outside the U.S. with companies inside it is even more possible because of technologies like this one.
3. Remote Access Platforms
The Covid-19 pandemic prompted many law firms to establish remote access platforms for their staff, allowing attorneys to connect remotely and access messages, calendars and other key documents and allowing secure meetings to take place remotely. As pandemic-inspired controls have been lifted, most firms have called lawyers back to the office. However, these remote access platforms continue to be used to increase efficiency and effectiveness.
For example, if your firm uses remote access platforms to continue to facilitate remote work opportunities for its attorneys, hybrid employees and virtual assistants, you could gain access to higher-quality recruits and improve your staff retention rates. Recent reports have shown that 44% of attorneys who have been practicing for 10 years or less value remote work to such a degree that they are willing to leave their current firm to obtain a position that offers remote opportunities.
It is important to acknowledge that the majority of today’s clients and employees have come to expect the efficiency and convenience that technology solutions empower. As your firm invests time and resources in technology solutions, I believe you will see results in the form of more efficient employees who provide more effective services in a way that drives greater client satisfaction.