Your law firm has undoubtedly felt the impact of technology on legal issues in some way. But are you fully taking advantage of it as a solution to common business problems? With the advent of automation, mobile apps, and cloud technology, the old way of doing things has turned into a real vacuum for profits. At the same time, you now have more and more ways of both discovering and remedying these issues.
1. Paper and Spreadsheet Overwhelm
While maintaining a traditional workflow with hard copies of files may feel comfortable, it is actually costing your firm in labor and clutter. Finding resource documents becomes a time-consuming exercise that takes lawyers and paralegals away from performing more valuable work. Importantly, paper documents lack version control and are difficult to share or modify easily. However, by using a digital document management solution, you make your files easier to access, modify, share and protect. And because some of the files you deal with are sensitive and/or irreplaceable, a document manager can back up all of your files to the cloud automatically.
Similarly, using spreadsheets to track information like time and expenses sets you up for failure. For example, if you track your time and expenses or invoicing with spreadsheets, you probably have disparate information, errors, and the same lack of version control that paper documents have. Plus, there's no automatic integration with any other software you may need. If you have to manually upload an Excel file to your accounting or billing software every day, you're wasting time. Instead, you should look for software that allows for easy data capture and automates different calculations and integrations for you.
2. Lack of Accessibility
The cloud can also provide a solution to another common law firm problem: the inability to work on the go. If you have to work from local files or are tethered to a desktop application, you've probably already encountered a problem with this. If you travel - even just to the courtroom - and fail to bring the right device, you will be unable to work. Leveraging cloud technology with a good mobile app will allow you to access both the software and information you need, regardless of your device or geographic location.
3. Software Struggles
The portfolio of software you are currently using could be costing you in lost productivity or data loss. For example, certain programs may no longer be supported by the developer, leaving them open to security flaws; software updates might cause frequently used programs to crash often; and your company may have grown, changing its technology needs. Legacy systems and poorly operating software waste employees' time and may result in data loss or theft.
Even if your software is regularly updated and secure, if your employees hate using it, it's causing an issue. Clunky, counter-intuitive user interfaces make employees dread the tasks they need to accomplish. If they procrastinate or spend time digging for information, your whole firm is losing out. This is particularly true for any system that many of your employees need to use regularly, such as your time and billing software.
Periodically evaluating your current software and making necessary upgrades can help your firm experience smoother workflows, better protect client information and achieve an immediate boost in efficiency.
4. Resource Inefficiency
Another way to increase efficiency is to ensure the right people are performing the right actions. Employees with billable hours should be managing cases or working on client development. Paralegals should be assisting the lawyer with legal work wherever possible. Administrative assistants or office managers should be managing the office, transcribing and filing as necessary.
Software can identify where waste is occurring in these areas. An integrated solution that encompasses employee hours, activities, documents, and other business data can provide you with a bird's-eye view of your operations that can help you identify and eliminate inefficiencies. For example, BQE Core is a cloud-based, comprehensive time-billing and accounting platform. It provides actionable insights about your firm while making life easy for your staff due to its automation, mobile apps, and straightforward user interface.
Upgrading your firm's software can result in less waste and greater productivity. It can help you realize your business goals, identify possible areas of growth and protect your data. Evaluate your current software tools to find the ways in which you can leverage technology to maximize the profitability and efficiency of your firm.