When people think of lawyers, they generally picture them in a courtroom arguing a case or sitting across the table from client. But those that actually work in law firms know that a lot of their time is spent in front of computers, researching, writing briefs, billing clients, and filling out paperwork.
Law practices, just like other industries, have been significantly impacted by technology. Those that are able to adapt and use tech to streamline their operations will be the ones that pull ahead this decade and beyond.
How important is technology to law firms? Very, according to the 2018 Aderant Business of Law and Legal Technology Survey. Respondents listed cybersecurity as their #2 challenge, right behind pricing. Here are the top five challenges that law firms have:
- Pricing (36%)
- Cybersecurity (22%)
- Operational efficiency (32%)
- Technology adoption (30%)
- Competition (26%)
The IT requirements for the legal industry are typically among the most strict with security and protection of client data being of the utmost importance. Which means law firms have to balance operational efficiency with information security when adopting technology at their office.
Whether you want to reduce the time it takes to bill clients or need a secure way to share discovery with colleagues, here are some technologies that can improve efficiency while also meeting the stringent requirements of law practices.
Technology for Law Firms
90% of law firms said that document management is an area where technology has a high impact and 88% noted time and billing management. For many firms, managed IT services give them a worry-free technology infrastructure.
There are multiple areas of a law practice where automating processes can free up staff time from data entry tasks and help tasks get done faster. Here are some of the key areas and technologies that can help streamline your law firm.
Nearly half (48%) of law firms surveyed say their firm almost always takes too long to edit and review pre-bills. Long billing processes can mean more time spent on administrative, non-revenue producing, activities and also a longer time before a firm is paid by the client.
One software that can help automate the billing and collection process is PracticePanther. It can be used to generate multiple bills in one click and allows clients to pay via credit card right from the invoice.
Not all accounting programs offer the ability to bill hourly, flat rate, or contingency, and this application fills in the gap and syncs with QuickBooks. It also has 256-bit military grade encryption and custom security settings.
Law practice billing applications are designed to make invoicing much faster and less time-consuming.
The number one area that law offices say technology helps them is in the handling of digital documents. Being able to store, share, and control access of documents in a secure format is a must for any office and especially law offices.
One of the multi-faceted law practice applications is Zola Suite, and one of the modules includes cloud-based document management designed specifically for law firms.
With cases involving hundreds or thousands of documents each, including multiple iterations, being able to manage them so they’re instantly searchable, able to be digitally locked, and with automated versioning can significantly reduce workload and improve cybersecurity.
It’s common to feel like there’s never enough time to work on the important aspects of a case when you’re spending too much time doing paperwork or administrative tasks. Software that helps with case management, like Filevine or CloudLe, can significantly reduce those administrative tasks and make collaboration and client communications much easier.
Here are some of the key benefits of a case management software:
- Share and edit documents with your team
- Assign tasks and connect calendars
- Send and receive client texts directly from their file
- Collect e-signatures in a secure format
- Visualize data with custom reports
- Work from any device
What all off these and other cloud-based applications have in common is that they free up lawyers, paralegals, and other law office staff from having to be at a single workstation to get to their work. Cloud applications can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection and from any device, desktop, laptop, or mobile.
There are already 43% of Americans that work remotely at least part of each week, and law firms are also following this trend by allowing more flexibility to work remotely, which has been shown to improve productivity. Some law firms are also going “virtual” all together, using VoIP phone systems and video conferencing software like Skype for virtual meetings.
Get a Free IT Consultation for Your Law Firm
Our team at Neuron Computers are experts at working with law practices to help them improve data security and take advantage of the efficiency-boosting benefits of technology. We’re familiar with all the popular legal industry applications and can help you identify the ones that best fit your firm.
Schedule your free IT consultation today! Call us at 909.418.1410 or fill out our online form.