Each day, computers evolve, new software develops, and technology further ingrains itself into our society.
Before 2020, the world was already technology-driven, but the pandemic accelerated that ten-fold as everyone transitioned to remote settings. Using computers, cloud-based applications, or digital software became the norm in a work-from-home setting. However, that does not mean that all lawyers are on the same track with these advancements.
If you are a new lawyer trying to get your firm started, it may be intimidating to determine what online tools to use. On the other hand, if you have been in the game for a while, adjusting to the digital landscape can seem like an enormous hurdle. No matter your situation, embracing technology as a lawyer is an opportunity for growth and a chance to be a more competitive law practice.
When we discuss how technology helps legal staff enhance their law firm, we simultaneously answer the question: Why is technology so vital in a law firm?
While handling cases comes with its own unique challenges, the overall procedures tend to remain the same, and technology makes those processes easier. Here is how and why:
1. Productivity and efficiency skyrocket
Gone are the days where we must calculate child support and fill out the paperwork on our own. There is software like CS Suite, SupportCalc, and FamilySoft for that. Vigilantly keeping our eyes peeled on the clock’s hands to track our billable hours is a thing of the past. There are applications like TimeSolv or Tabs3 for that, too. Automation tools free up our time and allow us to work more efficiently with less stress on human error. Electronic document signing services like HelloSign or DocuSign let you and your clients avoid extra trips to the office, saving you both time and resources. Overall, when lawyers have more time, that equates to more completed tasks and even greater efficiency.
2. Organization becomes easier
We all know that case files can get huge, and inhabiting an office that is drowning in documents can be a stressful fire hazard. Keeping your files organized in a cloud service like Google Drive or Dropbox minimizes headaches, and with the help of the search tool, you can instantly pull up documents instead of digging through piles of paper.
However, technology is not just limited to organizing our physical belongings, it can also manage our deadlines and to-do lists, generating an optimized workflow. Whenever we implement task trackers like Trello or manage electronic calendars like Outlook or Google Calendar, we keep ourselves accountable in completing our work and in reaching our goals. Thus, technology makes organization and efficiency go hand-in-hand.
3. Communication is streamlined
After switching to remote work, many companies, not just law practices, saw their communication faults come to a head. Technology offered, and continues to offer, a solution to those issues. For example, using chat applications like Microsoft Teams or Slack to readily contact fellow law staff keeps everyone connected. Starting and maintaining group chats with lawyers or paralegals helps with staying on task and encourages collaboration. Of course, email is always an option, but chat applications present more immediacy.
Additionally, video calls are another great medium for communication. Facilitating legal staff meetings on apps like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or LifeSize can be done with ease, and conducting interviews with potential or current clients makes your law firm even more accessible. Whether your law firm is remote, hybrid, or in-person, the significance of solid communication with fellow legal staff and clients cannot be understated.
4. Client satisfaction increases
Keeping clients happy, well-informed, and feeling confident should always be our main objective. Ultimately, any technological implementations have an impact on the clients we represent, and that can be an enormous asset. As previously mentioned, taking advantage of automation tools free up time for lawyers to work on cases, which is certainly a win in any client’s eyes. Moreover, utilizing communicative technologies like video call services, emails, and text applications makes clients feel more involved in their case, especially in pandemic times where most law offices are not open to the public.
As you can see, the advantages of technology often intertwine: One aspect augments another, then another, and so on.
Whenever lawyers become more organized, they are usually more productive and get more work done. If attorneys communicate with their fellow staff better, they can again, improve efficiency and grow client satisfaction. Amongst all these benefits, the result is a law firm that runs more smoothly. We see that firsthand at Divorce Lawyers for Men.
However, that is not to say that you should race to employ new digital and technological strategies all at once. As a lawyer, examine your law firm’s needs, abilities, and current limitations and decide what will work best for everyone. Try to avoid circumstances where individual staff members find and use their own solutions so that there is consistency and control over the tools being used in your office.
Be mindful of security and confidentiality issues and opportunities to document your files when making software selections. Set up systems that employ safety nets for your firm and your clients. Strategize a plan for applying new software or programs, and ensure that proper training will be given to all legal staff. If the program is interactive with clients, also make sure that they are familiar with how to use and reap the benefits of the new tool. In the end, technology is meant to make our lives easier, and it can make our law firms thrive if we, as lawyers, embrace it.
Emily Nelissen is the Marketing Administrative Assistant for Morris Sockle Posadas, PLLC, an operation that includes Divorce Lawyers for Men® and Divorce Lawyers for Military. As an avid writer and digital designer, she embraces creativity and empathy when contributing to any marketing efforts.