Here’s Why Technology Is Crucial For Your Law Firm

Technology is rapidly evolving and shaping the way of doing business. As more devices and innovations become available, offering to radically improve “business as usual”, traditional companies are now realizing the importance of embracing the technological movement and updating their businesses in order to to stay ahead in the digital world.

When it comes to building a successful business or law firm, it is important to embrace change so you can constantly adapt, keep up with the latest trends, and grow steadily.

The rise of technology has led to rapid changes in the way we communicate, live, and conduct business.

Some law firms are aware of it and have benefited from their effort to cooperate with those technological tools (software, artificial intelligence, apps, etc). This has significantly risen the level of competitiveness. What can your law firm do when your competitors have more advanced technology than you, and thus resolve cases much faster and even gain more clients rapidly?

Join the race and over-pass them. Become a technologically advanced law firm and benefit from all the brilliant features that technology can bring forward into your business.

Here are a few pointers to understand why technology is crucial for your law firm in the 21st century and will help you elevate to become the best.

1. Lawyers are realizing that computer analytics are not enemies but allies.

The warning bell came with the 2011 New York Times article, Armies of Expensive Lawyers, Replaced by Cheaper Software. Some lawyers started to believe that advances in artificial intelligence and computer analytics were a bad thing, threatening to displace lawyers from their jobs. Some still believe that, but these past years marked a turning point, from lawyers seeing “smart” computers as their enemies to understanding them to actually be their allies.

Computers cannot and will not replace lawyers. But they can make their lives much easier and help reduce the time and the cost of performing legal tasks.

2. Legal technology has a promising future and law schools are aware of it.

Graduates have naturally become tech savvy as the use of mobile technology is an intuitive part of their upbringing. Law schools have identified technology as a growing area of legal education need. Professor Tanina Rostainix introduced a Legal Innovation Coursex at Georgetown University in 2012 where students learn how to build Smart Apps. Every semester, groups of 3–4 students are assigned to a charity organisation with a specific legal advice challenge.

The students work with the charity to build a Smart App to solve a legal problem and then are required to present their Smart App in an ‘IronTech Lawyer‘xi competition at the end of the semester. The course has been so successful it has extended to other universities in the U.S. and also started recently at Melbourne University (see their recent ‘Bake Off’xii). Discussions are underway with UK universities.

3. The usefulness of cloud

Even just a year ago, lawyers remained wary about cloud computing. No doubt, some still are. For the most part, however, cloud-based platforms have become essential parts of our daily lives, and ethics opinions from 17 jurisdictions have unanimously said that cloud computing is ethical.

Earlier this year, the ABA Legal Technology Survey Report said that the percentage of lawyers who say they use cloud-based software and services increased 10% in a year. This number is highly expected to grow in the upcoming years.

4. Digital tools : a better experience for your customers

Customer service takes time and effort, and a lot of lawyers fall short in this category. However, once again, that’s where technology can really help you. Here are some great tech services that can improve your customer service and increase client satisfaction:

  • MadMimi, MailChimp — email marketing; keep clients engaged with you and your firm and create a sense of personal touch
  • Zopim or Olark — live chat for your website; proven method of increasing customer satisfaction as well as converting more website visitors into clients
  • Lexicata — seamless engagement letters intake forms; make it easy on clients to formalize an engagement with you

5. Go Mobile, Now

Mobile technology has dramatically changed the face of law practice.

We are connected 24/7, with the ability to work from anywhere and also being expected to respond immediately.

According to the most recent ABA Legal Technology Survey, 90 percent of lawyers are checking their work email from varied locations. About 90% of lawyers use smartphones and increasingly greater numbers use tablets. This is driving legal vendors to create new products and adapt old ones so that they work across platforms.

Having a website is good. But having a mobile version of your website is even better. It is important for your client to find you easily on his smartphone and access to your contact info, contents or news from your mobile website. Nowadays it is easy to develop a high quality website without bugs when a specialized web designing agency can do it for you.

If we can suggest one, Dynamite Network is a North American company specialized in creating websites, mobile apps for your business or law firm. The CEO of Dynamite Network has a solid background in law & technology and will understand your needs in terms of having a great law firm website.

6. Artificial Intelligence : The future of legal technology

One of the hottest topics in the legal community of late is the expected impact on their profession of super-fast computers with the capacity to simulate human intelligence and decision-making which we call “AI”, the Artificial Intelligence.

Ever since Queen’s Law Professor Hugh Lawford initiated the computerized database QUIC/LAW in the 1960s, AI has been creeping into the legal field. The latest example of this is Watson, an attempt by IBM to create a “cognitive computing system” for use in medicine, data analysis … and law.

The most significant form of AI for the legal industry today is Smart Apps, sometimes referred to as ‘Expert Systems’. With the advent of significantly more powerful computer processing power and better algorithms, they are now capable of addressing multiple legal challenges. Smart Apps are best described as technologies that connect complex content and expert analysis of that content to provide precise, immediate answers.

An example for the use of AI in law today is ComplianceHR, a self-service Smart App platform for HR questions powered by the expertise of Littler Mendelson, the USA’s largest HR law firm. In this platform there are a series of Smart Apps including an Independent Contractor App that assesses the users’ employment status in 51 jurisdictions by assessing some 1,400 cases and 80 weighting factors.

Are you ready for legal tech innovation ?

The tech revolution is here. It remains only for law firms to decide if they are choosing to keep their heads in the sand, or embrace the opportunity available to them.

Interested in innovating your law firm or discovering how technology can empower lawyers ? At North of 41 we create great tech events and we are launching Toronto’s most innovative legal tech hackathon coming up in June. RSVP here to attend:

Our networking events promotes North America as a dynamic place for business opportunity by highlighting digital media & technology companies.

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