IT Services for Law Firms: Helping Attorneys Get Their Tech Squared Away

Technology has been steadily speeding ahead, taking most industry sectors with it. We now keep applications as well as data in the cloud, and A.I. has found its way into messenger platforms and websites. The business of law and I.T. services for law firms is playing catch-up just to stay in the game. 

Legal firms and departments need to look for new ways to improve their performance and drive productivity. Yet, many law firms don't have an employee tasked to drive innovative technology. Technology has changed the world in uncountable ways. 

How can they keep up with their competitors in the business market? Attorneys must find new ways to deal with these challenges, for starters. One for legal services to do this is by using innovative, ever-changing technologies.

Moving Away From Tradition

The legal trade is awash in new "legal tech," which includes everything from SaaS to messaging and chat platforms. Tech start-ups are popping up like Taco Bells. Legal tech conventions and hackathons are all over the place. The investment in legal tech is at a record high—up an astonishing 713% in 2018.

There's no way to deny that technology has inundated business across the board, and the legal services sector is no exception. The industry now faces the daunting task of implementing legal tech into its practices. 

How Legal Tech Can Change the Legal Sector for the Better

Traditional law firms face a significant challenge in the market.

Seeing how new tech entrepreneurs will affect the way these services are provided is a looming question. Will lawyers' work environments or methods change due to the impact of new technology? There is tremendous pressure on these firms to do that.

Adapting to more technology at work can be challenging in traditional industries. Lawyers must adjust and be at ease with the changes in their employees' work processes. I

f law firms want to keep talent, increase employee engagement, and assure a high amount of work, this should be a priority. Reforms like these will lead to happier and more motivated employees, satisfied with their job and healthy work-life balance.

Change is a good thing, and consumers of legal services stand to reap the benefits. Anything that makes legal services more available, more efficient, or more transparent at less cost is going to be helpful to the client. 

Areas to Put Legal Tech in Place

An overwhelming selection of products and methods are available for law firms looking to streamline their business processes. Implementing automation aids lawyers and staff in many ways and saves their valuable time. Finding the best solutions that add value to your firm or legal department is vital.

(Artificial Intelligence) A.I. has even found its way into the offices of law firms, but don't worry—it isn't replacing people. 

Automation

Countless ordinary processes are necessary but still use a large part of a lawyer's billable time. An example is the monthly bills that come with a sigh and may be followed by thoughts like, "I can't believe this is what I went to law school for!" Automation is a valuable solution for these lost hours.

Some automatable functions include:

  • Time and expense record entry
  • The client intake procedure
  • Budgeting
  • UTMBS or "LEDES" coding
  • Invoice submissions and file format conversions
  • Document review

Although the idea of automation and artificial intelligence (A.I.) can be stressful, we are not imagining people being replaced by robots. Artificial intelligence tools have been proven to increase human efficiency and productivity significantly.

Cloud Technologies

Today's law firms are moving to the "cloud." With attractive incentives like scalability and cost savings, it's not very surprising.

Cloud technologies have shown the possibilities to improve a law firm's productivity and the organization of the firm. Many firms are also using cloud services for data security, document management, and workflow improvement. 

Since law firms tend to use a lot of paper, embracing cloud computing can cut some of the associated costs. It reduces the nuisance of sifting through files, allows the storage of large amounts of data, gives the ability to share relevant information in real-time, and contributes to a "green" climate.

Software-As-A-Service

The explosion of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), which utilizes cloud computing, is also growing in the legal field.

Many law firms have begun using secure SaaS tools. With them, they can manage general billing and accounting functions, back up and store documents in digital formats, sign documents from mobile apps, and manage projects and workflow. SaaS allows lawyers to access relevant documents and files through a secure portal on the go and from anywhere in the world. 

This access increases the mobility of lawyers. According to a recent survey on mobile phone use, more than 95% of lawyers use a smartphone to get work done outside of the office.

When asked which technology they travel with most often, and which one they require to access their business data, "smartphone" was the answer. Besides, they utilize mobile technologies almost on an exclusive basis to present to judges and juries.

True, there are possible pitfalls to all technology. Still, lawyers in today's age will have a hard time advancing their careers without the use of information technology tools. Lawyers must have law firm I.T. support that will help them with their technology needs.

Financial Management

Law firms used to use paper to keep track of their finances. With so many software packages available for attorneys to track every transaction today, most have made a move.

The most apparent benefit of financial management software is budgeting. With business management software, law firms have the tools to create and manage a budget effectively.

Short-term and long-term planning is another benefit of using financial management software. It is unfortunate to see so many people not thinking about the future, especially businesses. Most financial management software packages include planning tools that allow users to evaluate and align their current status with their future goals.

Case Management

Case management software unifies a lawyer's desktop calendar, contacts, filing system, and task systems collectively in a single package. It's great for organizing, managing deadlines, storing client information, and coordinating communications.

Not to mention, case management software provides them with proactive guidance on how to efficiently manage their practice. It gives timely feedback on how they're progressing in all aspects of the business.

Some case management software packages provide great automation benefits, as well. 

Data and Email Encryption

Attorneys and their staff need to understand the intent of encryption strategies. They have legal as well as ethical duties to protect a great deal of sensitive information relating to their clients and cases. To address these duties, they must encrypt both emails and data to ensure the security of this confidential data. 

It is essential to use encryption to protect data at rest, like that on laptops or portable servers. Also, data in motion (such as emails) moving over wireless networks or the Internet must be protected.

Data Backup

Replacing computer systems is simple, however, replacing the intellectual property and sensitive data stored on them is not. Computer hard drives can crash, laptops may be stolen or lost, and data can accidentally be erased or infected with viruses. A data backup system is vital for law firms to keep their data safe and to avoid data loss.

If you've chosen the cloud for your services, it's likely your provider is taking care of the data stored there. 

Measuring Metrics

Knowing what happened, when it happened, and how it happened helps in I.T. planning and recommendations. Yet, many law firms and legal sections don't measure their activities or expenses, if they measure at all. 

Whether its litigation management, new billing structures, or anything else. According to research from Accudata, law firms saw an apparent revenue increase of 66% by adding data quality to their best practices.

Actionable data, when given to management or law firm partners, places the firm where it can succeed due to having a clear understanding of the actual or observational data. Decisions made on conceptions or beliefs alone can have a tumbling effect on negative performance. 

ERP Advantages for Law Firms

Getting automated comes with many advantages, including tying all your departments together under an enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform. From client induction to billing, all your processes are connected in real-time. 

Taking your firm out of its traditional framework may seem like an overwhelming task. While you weigh in the positives and negatives, remember that there are legal tech firms out there to help you through the process and support your firm afterward, as well. Investing in your legal tech is what many firms are doing according to a recent survey by Business Wire

Choosing the Best I.T. Services for Law Firms

Technology has taken firms in every sector out of the dark ages, and it is time that the business of law joins the rest of the world. Scrolling down the list of primary benefits should be more than enough to motivate any business to begin their transition. When you embrace the new experience from working while traveling without needing documents faxed right from your phone, you will wonder why you waited so long. 

Herrod Tech has helped many law firms maximize the benefits of technology without experiencing many pitfalls at all. They have the experience and knowledge to provide your firm with the I.T. service it needs through every phase of its growth. 

Herrod Tech has been providing I.T. services for law firms and others for over 19 years. Need help or want to know more? Get in touch.

Solve your I.T. problems by outsourcing to Herrod Tech.

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