The legal industry has typically been slower to embrace new technology. But now it’s rapidly changing to meet the demands of the information age. Law firms in London are rolling out the red carpet for clients, providing customer concierges with free Wi-Fi and coffee. Another lawyer recently moved his entire firm to all-remote work.
So what trends will affect law firm technology the most over the coming years? Here’s our take on the five most important trends to watch, and what Jive programs and features can help you to meet that future with confidence.
1. Increased remote work
Lawyers of yesteryear were often expected to work 80 hours a week, but that’s no longer the case. Work-life balance is more important than ever to legal staff, and to employees nationwide. That’s partly why freelancers are expected to make up more than 40% of the US workforce by 2020. And as free legal advice becomes easier to obtain, both in-house and private practice law firms are expected to start switching to remote offices and doing more contingent work.
On the tech side, that kind of remote work is made possible through products like Hosted VoIP, which allow you to take client calls from your cell phone without sacrificing a professional appearance. Collaboration tools like Slack and Trellocan also help the remote workforce to stay connected. And tech wearables, like the Apple Watch, will help remote lawyers to prioritize their incoming calls and messages.
2. Emphasis on customer service
People now expect a VIP experience when selecting a professional service like law. Aside from free wi-fi and coffee, clients expect their lawyers to provide attentive customer care.
Jive’s intuitive Dial Plan Editor is one of the easiest ways to instantly lend your firm that “white glove” customer experience. By dropping a node onto our visual interface, you can route your calls to the right employees and provide the most updated information about your schedule. Call filters even allow you to screen the client, making sure that important accounts go directly to partners.
3. Online document management
Where law firms were once some of the top customers of paper manufacturers, now there’s a marked trend towards online content management. That means any software that makes it easier for forms, case files, and other important legal documents to be stored and shared electronically.
With Jive Video Pro, you can share documents like these instantly over video conference calls. Content can be shared effortlessly within the jive.group, making the collaboration process more efficient.
4. Automation of processes
Lawyers are known for being busy, and every minute counts. So in the interest of efficiency, many law firms are automating processes that previously would have been performed by an assistant. After all, automation is already helping professionals in other fields to focus on the revenue-generating activities that computers can’t do.
Jive Voice can take care of these details with intensive call analytics, available at the push of a button. And with features like auto attendants, call queues, and more already included, your phone system will be the last thing on your mind.
5. Data security
Security is of the utmost importance to lawyers. But with the shift to remote work, many law firms are encouraging employees to use their personal technology at work, which can present a number of security risks. At a recent webinar held by the American Bar Association, one panelist noted that “it’s unsettled what kind of security fallout will come from using personal devices.”
There are some key advantages to working within a cloud based system over a personal device. Most organizations have rigorous enterprise-grade security standards — standards which are not always shared by private systems. Additionally, a lone IT manager or individual might be more likely to ignore a small mistake, whereas a managed service must fix problems immediately and stay vigilant against security threats.
And there you have it: the top five tech trends that will affect law firms in the future. With Jive, you can get ahead of the curve, by getting a phone service that will maximize your time.