Today’s digitally savvy lawyers have high expectations when it comes to the software applications they use. This is because they grew up using consumer applications like Google, Facebook, and Amazon—in other words, applications that provide a consistent user interface across computers, mobile phones, tablets and other devices along with an intuitive experience that requires little to no training. At the same time, these applications also include sophisticated features that seem to anticipate their needs, like Amazon suggesting another purchase to complement a product you just added to your cart, or Netflix recommending other shows to watch based on your viewing activity. Finally, many of these applications are highly collaborative, allowing for seamless sharing with trusted friends, as well as the ability to work with others to create and edit content, such as on Google Docs.
Given all of this, it is no wonder that when new digitally savvy lawyers join law firms today, getting them to adopt many of these firms’ existing document management systems (DMS) or other applications can be a struggle. Unless the applications provide the same mobile, intuitive, smart and collaborative user experience of the consumer applications today’s legal professionals have grown up with, they will most likely be hesitant to use them to their full potential, if at all.
As law firms decide what DMS or other applications to invest in, here are three application capabilities they should consider as they try to determine if the application will be rapidly adopted by both their digitally savvy and less digitally sophisticated lawyers, as well as if it will help make these lawyers happier and more productive.
Anywhere, anytime access to critical work product is crucial. Today’s lawyers, whether working on-the-go, in the office or remotely, expect seamless mobile access to applications across all their devices. This includes having a user interface that is optimized for working on a mobile device, and that allows for speedy search and location of critical documents, taking fewer clicks to get to the information one wants.
Intuitive and Smart
Legal professionals expect operating a firm’s DMS or other applications to be no different than shopping with Amazon or using Facebook. They look for their digital tools to be intuitive and reliable, and able to anticipate their needs, while at the same time delivering powerful capabilities that maximize their productivity and allow them to work smarter. For example, DMS applications should remember previous search terms and suggest future queries based on that history, provide real-time tooltips relevant to the task at hand, or have other e-smart features that streamline work processes.
Collaborative, Yet Secure
Young professionals are used to collaborating every day through the apps they use—from working on Google docs to liking and sharing content on Facebook. They want their firm’s DMS and other applications to operate the same way in order to support cross-collaboration and easy file sharing. Beyond ease of use, these tools should support secure document sharing with the ability to enable different user permissions and restrict access to documents when needed. Collaboration that raises the risk of a malicious actor accessing a sensitive client document is not the collaboration your attorneys, your firm or your clients want.
If you haven’t already, make sure these three key capabilities are incorporated into your law firm’s DMS and other applications. Not only will these capabilities make your lawyers happier as they do their work, but they will also make them more productive—making your clients happier as well.