Whether you’re running a small law firm or a big one, technology is an integral part of the day-to-day operations. Almost every part of the legal field is now affected—or even enhanced—by the use of technology. Computers certainly make a lot of legal firms’ tasks easier, but the use of technology actually goes beyond computers and fax machines.
We’re seeing a lot of exciting new trends these past couple of years, with more firms adopting newer technologies to improve efficiency. Some of these new technologies are indeed interesting. When implemented correctly, these top three new technologies can help improve efficiency by a substantial margin.
Better Customer Relationship Management
Managing clients is one of the most important things—if not the most important task—a law firm must handle on a daily basis. It is important to keep track with communications to and from the clients. Good Customer Relationship Management (CRM) means you can save a lot of time and money while still being able to offer personalized services to every client at all times. Fortunately, there are a few great systems that can help you manage your clients better.
First, we have MyTime. MyTime started life as a software for managing appointments and schedules, but it now offers integrated customer relationship management features as well. You can schedule meetings, have clients confirm on appointments directly and even do private chats and track progress directly on the platform.
The marketing side of the software is even more interesting. It comes with automated email and SMS marketing. Paired with a good content marketing strategy, it would be very easy to keep clients—and potential clients—engaged. The platform can also manage your online advertisements and will work with ad networks such as Google AdWords and Facebook Ads.
SalesForce is another great CRM platform to look into according to Monetary Library. The platform is not specifically designed for law firms, but it is very flexible and can be easily adjusted to suit the workflow of your firm perfectly. On top of that, SalesForce runs from the cloud and does not require a lot of investment into hardware and supporting infrastructure.
Switch to the Cloud
We’ve talked about how SalesForce runs from the cloud above. This enables SalesForce to be accessible at all times as long as you’re connected to the internet. This also allows you to keep track of other tasks even when you’re in court or out of the office.
Other parts of your firm’s workflow can also be moved to the cloud. There are a lot of great solutions that can handle everything from teleconferences to document management and live streaming. It is even possible to have an entire groupware or intranet hosted in the cloud to enable all members of the firm to work together from remote places. The cloud is certainly the way to go if you want to push your law firm further.
That said, there are a few concerns surrounding the use of cloud computing in the legal field. Security is a big one to tackle before you start uploading important documents to the cloud. Access management and redundancies are also among the factors to consider. These concerns can be eliminated by choosing the right cloud solution provider to work with.
It is important that you choose a provider that works under strict security standards. You should also take your time and learn more about where the data is actually stored – and whether the provider runs a data center or outsource data storage to other providers. Lastly, read the terms of the service thoroughly before signing up.
Go Paperless and Integrate Everything
Now that you have a suitable cloud platform to support your firm’s day-to-day operations, it’s time to consider going paperless. This is the latest trend in law firm technology. Thanks to suites such as Office 365 and Google Apps, you no longer have to worry about printing drafts and other documents. You can share everything with strictly chosen coworkers and collaborate on the documents in real-time.
To make it even better, legal research is now easier to do than ever. Whether you need to find a particular regulation to support a case or you simply need to look at old documents, there are search and research tools that work well with document management suites.
You can even choose to digitalize old documents and save on storage space. There are ways to scan old documents in a timely manner, from automated scanning machines to dedicated services from companies that also follow strict information security standards. You can have your entire operation digitalized in as little as a few days.
Where are we going next? The answer to this question remains to be seen. What we know is that these three latest trends are transforming law firms—big and small—across the country. For a truly efficient and effective operations, be sure to consider these technological solutions.