Collaboration tools

Collaboration Tools To Boost Communication

Attorneys spend much of their time on the go, often moving between the office, client meetings, and the courthouse throughout the week. Thanks to mobile technology, they can now stay in touch with their fellow attorneys and paralegals from wherever they are. Often this means replying to emails or phone calls while rushing from one place to the next.

As great as this mobility is, it can become difficult to collaborate across the firm. Since everyone isn’t in the office, a series of emails may fire back and forth between various team members before someone gets the necessary information. Even if all applicable parties are copied on the email, you may find that you have a reply-to-all situation, where everyone involved receives numerous emails throughout the day. The entire process can be a drain on productivity.

More Effective Collaboration

The most efficient way to communicate as a team is by setting up a central meeting place where team members can provide updates and share files. Today’s collaboration tools can be accessed on a mobile device, which keeps everyone in contact whether they’re in the office or on the road. In one app, team members can get a status update on a particular case or simply find out what’s going on in the office as a whole. If they have something to share, they can add it and ensure everyone who needs to see it does.

In addition to sharing files and information, some collaboration tools allow you to maintain a calendar with everyone’s information. To schedule a meeting, team members merely look at the calendar to check availability and request an appointment at the desired time. You can also assign tasks to various team members and check in on progress to make delegation much easier.

Resources for Law Firms

In a 2015 survey, 93% of enterprises reported using at least some form of cloud computing. However, adoption in the legal field is much slower, with only 31% of those surveyed saying they have used cloud services. This could partly be due to a misunderstanding as to what “cloud services” actually means, since some legal field respondents may not realize services like Gmail and Dropbox are cloud based.

Despite slow adoption, however, there are many cloud resources geared specifically toward law firms and each of these tools can make life easier for employees. In addition to productivity tools and other types of software, here are a few cloud-based collaboration tools that could boost communication in your law firm:

  • SharePoint: While this Microsoft application is more expensive than some of the others, it works well with Office 365.
  • Basecamp: The social media-style setup makes this one popular with millennials.
  • Slack: For firms looking for a simpler interface, Slack may be a good option. Teams can communicate and share files in one central location.
  • MyCase: For managing multiple cases, a tool like MyCase can help. This CRM is designed specifically for law firms and allows attorneys to send emails to clients through the portal, with each communication tracked.

Maintain Security

Security is an important consideration when choosing a solution, whether you’re maintaining equipment and software yourself or you’re sending it to the cloud. A data breach can lead to regulatory issues, as well as serious reputation damage for your firm. Small and midsized businesses also tend to be more vulnerable to attacks, since criminals are well aware that smaller organizations lack the resources necessary to protect their systems.

“The biggest concern for law firms is security,” says attorney Robert Hamparyan. “While every business needs to worry about a data breach, it can be especially devastating to a law firm that promises confidentiality to each client.”

For law firms delaying cloud adoption due to security concerns, it’s important to note recent data that reveals cloud technology is actually safer than an on-premise solution. Cloud providers can attract some of the best security professionals in the industry, along with using the best technology available to secure systems against hackers.

Even small law firms have multiple cases to track, often with more than one employee working each of those cases. With the right tools, teams can share information in one place and track case progress, all in a way that is highly productive and effective.

About Dan Steiner

Dan Steiner
I first got into the web design industry at about 12 years old, when I taught myself basic coding practices, and designed my first (incredibly ugly) website. I’ve been fortunate enough to watch the web design and marketing industry completely change, going from incredibly limited site designs, to complex mobile-friendly interfaces that are now faster and more capable than ever. My first encounter in the legal web and marketing industry was through my old man, who was an IP/Patent attorney. I started Online Virus Repair Inc, where I served as CEO and head of marketing. I have worked alongside some of the brightest search engine marketing minds in the industry, including Brian Dean, Ann Smarty, and many others. Have written for some of the most respected publications online, including The Huffington Post, Inc, Entrepreneur, Forbes, Yahoo, and many others. Have worked with numerous law firms over the years and have brought in millions of dollars’ worth of cases. Have designed and managed over 200 different websites. Extremely talented content marketer. Have published with over 40 different brands, and counting.

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  • Gordon Vala-Webb

    There is another vendor that firms should consider: ThreadKM (I am a referral and implementation partner with them).

    ThreadKM is available both on-premise or (secure) SaaS and has been rolled out by, among others, Dentons (Canada). It combines matter-centric team chat with “lean” kanban boards (for organizing the work visually) while being integrated with a firm’s DMS (and has enterprise-quality search).

  • The number of tools available these days can be overwhelming (check this list for an overview of the types of communication tools for example): https://www.elcomcms.com/resources/blog/communication-tools-used-in-modern-day-business). Personally I love Slack and glad you mentioned it. Although I love the look and feel of Basecamp, we’ve moved over to Teamwork for most project management work these days.