Three Ways to Deliver Better Legal Services
In this guest post, Chad Burton, Founder of Burton Law, and Nitin Gupta, former co-founder of LawPivot and Legal Industry Lead at Box, describe how lawyers can embrace “post PC” technologies to more effectively deliver legal services. They look at three key areas: (1) internal law firm collaboration; (2) external collaboration; and (3) mobile lawyering.
The delivery of legal services is changing, and the underlying technology that helps facilitate the delivery of legal services is becoming more and more important each and every day. In today’s “post PC” environment, lawyers need to begin learning how to use innovative new technologies like cloud and mobile apps to keep their competitive edge.
Internal Law Firm Collaboration
The better lawyers within a firm are able to collaborate, the better their clients are served. Yet, legacy document management and content management systems are difficult, if not impossible, to access on mobile devices. Lawyers at Burton Law have solved this problem using secure cloud collaboration to store and access files from any device. Each lawyer can upload and access client files at any given time. Tagging and task assignment features let them more effectively share information quickly with their paralegal staff. They are able to store and access multiple versions of documents and track changes and updates to pleadings, briefs, and legal memos. Lawyers can set up shared-client folders where their clients can download and upload documents related to their matter instead of sifting through countless emails or dealing with large paper files. Burton Law is seeing a positive impact on productivity, as well as greater agility in working with clients.
Some firms are integrating their secure cloud DMS with other important technologies such as billing software, practice management software, etc. For example, if a law firm’s DMS integrates with a practice management software, every document that a lawyer saves can be tied automatically to client matters. By integrating with Clio, for example, which is a practice management platform, lawyers can see all pertinent matter data, including documents stored in the secure cloud.
In addition to collaborating with internal teams, it’s critical to be able to securely collaborate with external parties including opposing counsel or co-counsel. Often times, during requests for document production, massive sets of legal files are requested and the process of collecting and producing data is cumbersome. Paralegals and lawyers face unwieldy document searches. Once documents are located, they then need to be organized into specific folders. Many documents are too large to be sent via email, so data needs to be burned on a CD or printed and sent via mail. This process is time consuming, burdensome, and inefficient.
With secure cloud collaboration technologies, documents can be sent back and forth through shared folders and links with granular permissions and controls. Documents can be immediately produced to opposing counsel in a confidential and cost efficient manner. This is the scenario at Burton Law, where lawyers use the cloud to send documents and folders via links instead of attachments. Links can be disabled at any time and also password protected. Access stats for the link demonstrate whether the documents have been previewed or downloaded by the recipient. Lawyers are able to spend more time providing counsel to their clients, and less time on administrative matters.
The 2012 ABA Legal Technology Survey Report found that 89% of lawyers delivered legal services using a smart phone. Mobility for lawyers is now essential to better service clients, and document access and editing is critical. The easier a lawyer can access and edit a document on the go, the quicker he or she can respond to a client.
Lawyers at Burton Law are using a host of mobile apps and secure cloud collaboration to access and revise legal documents such as contracts, motions, and legal memos while they are away from the office in court and client meetings.
Which apps are the most effective to their day? Join Chad and Nitin to learn more about mobile lawyering and collaboration in today’s post PC world during the LTRC’s next free webinar: Secure Collaboration in the Cloud.