Are you on trend?
Here at Fusion I like to keep my eye on the latest trends and research reports with reference to the use of IT in the Legal Sector. Following previous posts on IT solutions bring major changes to the way the legal sector operates and Legal Tech Trends 2023 , I came across some US-based 2023 research this week which although conducted by ‘our friends across the pond’ is worth relaying.
The survey was sponsored by a developer of cloud-based Case and Practice Management software and conducted with 242 qualified individuals in a mix of firm sizes and legal practice areas in the United States and consisted of legal staff (lawyers and paralegals) as well as administrative support roles (practice managers, firm administrators, IT, finance, operations, HR, and other support functions).
According to the research, professionals working in midsize law firms are facing various challenges such as: –
- balancing billable and non-billable tasks
- ensuring consistent quality of work, and more.
However, for law firms experiencing these issues, the research suggested a number of solutions to empower their teams and ensure their clients receive the best possible care.
One effective solution is to assess their tech ecosystem. Evaluate the tech tools their team and clients require, and analyse how efficiently the firm is using the existing tools. Technology is intended to streamline workflows and save time, but if it’s not utilised effectively, it can lead to wasted time, disjointed systems, lost data, and negative client experiences. In fact, the research found that 37% of law firm professionals spend the most time on non-billable tasks such as entering data in multiple systems.
To combat this problem, it’s recommended to streamline the firm’s tech ecosystems around one core platform that offers most of the required functionality. Complementary tools can be integrated to perform specific functions based on the firm’s unique needs. This approach helps reduce switching between platforms, provides a common dataset across tools, and a cohesive set of tools to connect the entire law firm. By working together in one organised system, staff can better manage their time, collaborate effectively, and deliver the best possible service to clients.
In addition, it’s essential to consider workflow. The research revealed legal professionals are expected to do more with less, and lack of staff or resources has affected 92% of survey respondents in the past year. To alleviate this pressure, firms need to examine how work gets done on their teams and identify any bottlenecks or missing steps that could streamline the matter’s progress. Automation can also be utilised to reduce time and workloads, such as document creation, routing, calendaring, invoicing, matter management, and more. By implementing these solutions, your team can gain back hours and focus on delivering quality work to clients.
The past few years have brought about significant changes in how people work, and the legal industry is no exception. As a result, legal professionals have come to expect flexible options, such as remote work. In fact, the research suggests that remote work can have a positive impact on stress levels among law firm employees. To support flexibility for legal teams and clients, it’s important to define what flexibility means in practice and create work-from-home policies that set clear expectations. Additionally, managers should ensure that goals, roles, and tasks are clearly defined for all team members, regardless of where they work. Providing the right accessible, collaborative tools is also crucial for enabling flexibility, as staff and clients need cloud-based tools to collaborate effectively from anywhere.
To unlock growth for law firms the research stated it is important to invest in technology. While some firms may be tempted to add more people to drive growth, resource constraints make this difficult. Instead, having modern systems and clear client processes can be a significant asset in attracting and retaining top talent. Furthermore, technology can enable law firms to innovate and create the business model they want without having to hire additional resources. By embracing technology that underpins their legal processes, administrative processes, and day-to-day work experience, law firms can scale efficiently and improve work quality, while remaining nimble and adaptable to changes in the legal industry.
If you or your law firm would like any advice on how to leverage IT to the benefit of staff and clients, please do get in touch.