What it takes to manage a successful law firm has shifted. A firm’s accolades and long-standing tradition are now just a drop in the bucket for prospective clients.
While some law firms still aren’t sold on the use of legal technology, the top-performing firms today embrace legal technology by aligning their business operations with the digital processes that influence their clients’ daily lives. By implementing modern processes these firms experience predictable cash flow, increased visibility, improved productivity, and increased client satisfaction, to name a few.
What is Legal Technology?
You’ve probably heard the phrase legal automation or legal technology used more frequently in the legal industry, but you may still be wondering what it means. Simply put, legal automation is the use of software to automate manual tasks in a lawyer’s workday.
While legal automation can fill gaps in your business operations, it is not a complete replacement for your law firm’s process. It should be used as an enhancement, simplifying your daily tasks so that they’re easier and faster to complete.
For example, lead generation and onboarding take a substantial amount of administrative work that often consists of routine tasks. This is where a streamlined process with automated intake forms will save your firm time. Automated intake forms virtually eliminate the backend administrative and manual paper processes typically needed to onboard a new client.
You and your staff are then free to give the client the attention they need and start working on their case much faster.
How Can My Law Firm Use Legal Technology?
The beauty of legal technology is that it is designed to meet the specific needs of law firms, no matter the practice area. If your firm is serious about implementing legal technology resources like law practice management software, you need to analyze your current processes to determine how the platform can best support your goals and relieve pain points.
A good place to start is with processes where your firm spends the most time. Common examples include trouble finding client files due to an unorganized or paper-first document management process. Your firm may also notice a high volume of late invoices that your staff is spending non-billable time following up on.
Once your firm has identified the areas of improvement in your business operations, you can start researching the best law practice management software that aligns with your goals. After you’ve narrowed the list of law practice management providers, you’ll want to schedule demos to see the platform’s functionality in action.
A few items to consider in your search:
The onboarding timeline
Ease of the migration process
Availability of support and training
Native features versus integrations
Client enhancement opportunities
Security and data management
While integrations to the platforms your law firm uses on daily basis like Outlook are beneficial, an all-in-one solution is more cost-effective and offers more visibility into the inner working of your firm.
A law practice management platform that requires more integrations or third-party subscriptions to function than native features will contribute to your firm’s overall monthly expenses.
Increase Law Firm Profitability with Legal Technology
We’ve covered how legal technology can improve your firm’s efficiency, and within this lies how these processes can improve overall profitability.
Law Firm Marketing and Client Intake
The easier it is for a prospective client to find and contact your law firm, the more likely they are to close. With a search engine-optimized website equipped with online intake forms, a client can submit a request for services or more information in a few seconds. This is typically the time, your firm has to capture their attention.
Once you’ve cast your net to attract the leads, it’s time to reel them in. Follow-up is a crucial touchpoint to closing new business but many firms struggle to find the time. Using communication features like 2-way business text messaging is a quick way to engage a lead without a huge time commitment.
Time is a luxury not always afforded to busy lawyers. Managing several clients at a time without a standardized process leaves room for human error and missteps.
Law Firm Billing and Invoicing
Billing and invoicing can eat up a large portion of your firm’s resources and staff bandwidth. This is especially true if you’re constantly chasing down late payments or running to the bank.
Having an automated billing and invoicing process will make your law firm more efficient, reduce billing errors and even get your firm paid faster.