It’s one thing to know the power of the internet can improve your legal life. But implementation is another matter entirely.
Consider the fact that most practicing attorneys never grew up with a computer. By the time Windows 98’ was released, for instance, the average attorney today was already 25 years old.
And yet, many have adapted. The American Bar Association reports 70% of all lawyers use a smartphone as the primary way they access emails outside the office. Considering smartphones became ubiquitous only ten years ago, that’s an incredible sea change.
But there continues to be much catching-up to do for the legal field. Customer expectations are changing as their lives become more web-based. And the legal workforce’s skill set is becoming more tech-driven by the day. Law firms that integrate their ecosystem into the online world, at least partially, simply have a competitive advantage.
The question, however, remains: How do you prepare your firm for a web-based solution or internal tech upgrade? Here are some tips:
Be problem-focused, first and foremost.
Many professionals dive headfirst into tech solutions before truly considering their needs. What could be improved to maximize caseloads? What is preventing your firm from more accurately tracking time to bill?
Many E-Typist clients, for instance, have found administrative legwork, such as legal transcription, is bogging their firm down and minimizing returns in other areas. They ended up using E-Typist’s online platform to outsource their transcription, but it wasn’t before looking inward at their operations. Consider your own pain points in your day-to-day tasks and processes before jumping into a virtual solution.
Do your own cost-benefit analysis.
Many practices invest in systems like Clio or PracticePanther for cloud-based case management, billing and CRM software needs. For these firms, the features and automation are often worth the costs of the platforms.
But there are plenty of inexpensive (and free) online solutions as well. Many solo attorneys get by with Google Workspace, leveraging Gmail, Drive, Calendars and Google Docs for a mere $6 per month.
The point: When you’re solving problems with tech, be smart about ROI. Find a product that scales to you (not the other way around).
The importance of buy-in when introducing new tools.
Tools are only as helpful as the people willing to use them. For many reasons, staff can be resistant to change and new systems. That’s natural. But it can also create headaches.
Anticipate the worries and sticking points your team may have as you introduce something new. Consider issues and complaints as they arise and work through them. A new system requires the whole team to be on board before launch day.
Being in control of timeline and project management.
A project manager understands the schedule, plan, and communication channels to help your firm through a tech transition. Whether you wear this hat yourself or ordain someone else within the firm, make a plan with clear objectives and timeline led by a specific person.
Understand, however, the external company you choose will also be a key player in rollout success.
E-Typist makes timeline and project management easy with consulting and onboarding. Setting up our clients for success is just part of our process. But companies can also be hands-off, with varying degrees of tech support.
Putting it all together.
It’s becoming more clear by the day that tomorrow’s law firm must embrace the online world to stay afloat in an exceedingly competitive market. Ensure your legal team (and clients) have access to the right solutions and you’ll be better poised for growth and success.