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Why Should Lawyers Adopt Technology for Their Legal Practice?
The legal sector has changed significantly in the last few decades. It has now become a global enterprise market which is projected to reach the worth of $1,011 billion by 2021.
But how did this happen?
The answer is technological disruption. Before we go any deeper into legal tech, let’s read some experts’ opinions on the importance of technology in legal practice. Read through this blog.
We have compiled a round-up post of law firm owners’ sharing their views on what things motivate them to adopt technology in their practices and its impact on their legal profession.
Christine J. Kuntz, Attorney at Concerto Law
Having operated a virtual law practice since 2012, I rarely meet my clients face-to-face. Frustrated with wasting time on administrative tasks and repetitious communications, I found my solution with the CLIO practice management suite and LawPay.At that time, I was just entering the taxi-service phase of motherhood and needed to have a truly mobile practice. With CLIO, an internet connection, and a VPN I can now work while my kids are at gymnastics and swim lessons.
Almost immediately after my initial client contact, I send an engagement letter for e-signature, online intake forms, and automated communications specific to their matter.
I no longer have to repeatedly cut, paste, and copy the same e-mail or form. The automated invoicing function allows me to quickly create and e-mail a bill. My clients enjoy the connivence of credit card payments through LawPay and pay more quickly than they did when I used paper invoices.
Overall, technology allows me to work from any location, automate repetitive tasks, and reduce the time spent on administrative tasks so I can spend more time on my clients’ matters.
Jacob Sapochnick, Owner of Law Offices Jacob J. Sapochnick
Technologies can indeed make everything better. This improves the way of life of the society and it gives great development in different fields.This goes the same with lawyers. As a lawyer myself, the main reason why.
I’m investing in legal technologies is because of the innovations that will deliver a great client experience and better handling of cases. This includes the software and other technologies that help lawyers to do their work better.
Todd Mosley, Owner of Mosley Law
I was fortunate that I was an early adopter of technology for my practice, switching to web-based apps, VOIP phones, etc.
I had made the switch to web-based apps years prior because I had the main office, a satellite office, and I also worked from home. Web-based apps allowed me to do that without investing in servers, VPNs, etc.When the pandemic shut down hit, Zoom and a webcam was the only technology I had to implement.Bankruptcy filings are down 30% this year for my jurisdiction, but my case filings are near equal to 2019 and 2018. I think my early adoption of technology played a huge factor in my ability to deliver my services to the clients because I had very little new technology to adopt.
My advice for others is don’t be penny wise and pound foolish when it comes to technology. In theory, that is simple. But in practice, I think many lawyers struggle with technology and won’t embrace changes until they are forced to . The pandemic forced many lawyers to change, but they probably had considerable operation downtime when implementing that change. And time is money.
Amira Hasenbush, Owner of Law office of AmiraHasenbush
Lawyers, like everyone else, vary in their ease of use and adoption of technology. However, lawyers tend to be older and lag behind other demographics in picking up on new software and technology (I am still yelling at my mentor to stop using Word Perfect!).
I think two things tend to push the more hesitant lawyers into adopting new tech:
1) Being forced to – when courts require that we e-file and that everything be filed in an OCRed PDF with bookmarks, well, then we have no choice but to use the software and get on board with the court’s requirements.
2) Being shown that the benefit of the technology outweighs the time and energy it takes to learn to use it. The more user friendly and intuitive the tech, and the more it saves lawyers time on tasks that can otherwise be automated/simplified, the more likely they will be willing to put in the energy to learn it.
Since most lawyers are still old school, tech companies that want to appeal to them should have phone support lines in addition to chat and email support. And customer service/tech support should be fast and helpful (Gusto payroll does a great job with this) -lawyers don’t have the patience or time to sit around on hold for a software that they might not even find absolutely necessary.
ElizabethRicci, Managing Partner, Rambana& Ricci, PLLC Tallahassee FL
Hi there. The ultimate cause for me to adopt legal technology in my practice is twofold-being more efficient and changing with my clients. When I first started practicing immigration law 20 years ago, clients wanted to come into my office in person.
They had cell phones, but not nearly with the kind of capabilities as today. Now, especially with COVID, clients want to Zoom, e-sign, and even submit their documents online.
Doing so keeps my costs down and clients happy. It’s a win-win.I try to stay on top of technology. Even though the Florida Bar only requires three tech credits every three years. I already have 18 and just started by three-year CLE cycle. I recommend Productive Power and Legal Fuel as great ways to learn what’s new in tech in the legal field and for CLE credits.
Kimberly DeCarrera, Founder of DeCarrera Law LLC
The practice of law is so much of looking backward at what has been done in the past. That makes lawyers often hesitant to change, even or especially when it comes to technology.
In my experience, most of what drives lawyers to adapt to technology is when it is mandated on them by outsiders – the court system, laws such as privacy or data protection, and state bar rules. But I would say the biggest driver is the needs of our clients.
By and far, every major leap in a law firm’s technology is from a client requiring it to maintain the relationship or to establish a new relationship. I’ve seen firms update billing systems and IT security, implement new document sharing both internally and externally, begin e-discovery, and, of course this year, make giant leaps in video conferencing, all because of client requirements. Some solo and small firm lawyers are able to make improvements based on sales pitches or their own desires, but that is a rarity among the industry.
Jordan Peagler, Partner at MKP Law Group, LLP
Our firm is dedicated to the personalized and attentive care of our clients and their cases. So, our use of technology is selective in that it should help us have more time to dedicate to clients, allow us to offer better service to our clients, and be a tool for us to operate more efficiently.
For example, we use case management software that helps us stay organized, share case information with our clients easily, and ultimately save time. It’s a win on every front so it’s exactly the type of technology investment we are excited to add to our toolset.
Melissa Breyer, Owner of The Hive Law
We adopt new technologies that allow us to be more competitive. If we can take our average billable hours on divorce from 40 hours down to 30 hours, then we can save divorce clients $3,000 per divorce.
That makes us more competitive in the marketplace.
If we wanted to, we could increase our hourly rates and still be cheaper than our competition.This would make us more profitable per divorce, allowing us to spend more on marketing and employees to scale our company.
Evan W.Walker, Owner of The Law Office of Evan W. Walker
External disruptions are the ultimate cause because law is conservative. Law is resistant to change and proceeds as it has in the past. There is little to no room for innovation or change. For example, the legal profession follows stare decisis, or precedent.
The profession follows codified law or law that has been previously enacted. Law’s traditional nature is the main reason that the legal professional is resistant to change.
Another reason is that most practicing lawyers are older, a demographic resistant to change. A final reason is that the legal profession has vested interests for which it does not want changed.
External disruptions force change. We’re seeing this play out in real-time due to covid-19. The pandemic has upended the legal profession. In-person depositions are almost ruled out, so remote depositions are the rule.
Most lawyers work from home, so cloud computing and paperless offices become necessary. Service by email, not by postage, is quickly becoming the norm.
Without the external distribution of covid-19, the legal profession would likely continue as it had. Covid-19, however, will continue to fundamentally alter the legal profession. That’s a good thing.
Stephen J. Kontos, Attorney / Owner of PATENTXP pllc
When considering whether to adopt new legal technology, our firm considers whether the technology reduces our costs, increases our efficiency, or provides more value to our clients.
We also consider privacy and security. For example, given the nature of our work with innovative technology, we have to make sure information uploaded to any cloud-based systems doesn’t violate export restrictions.
For that reason, using legal technology with only US-based servers is helpful.
Dan Mellen, Owner of Dan Mellen Attorney At Law
The main reason I use technology is for researching case law. The Westlaw database compiles all the cases in the history of our legal system so I use it all the time because I want to know what the law is and the law changes very quickly.
Being able to consult a database that is constantly updated allows me to do that. But of course, that’s not the only way I use technology.
We also use it to investigate the cases themselves. I mean, cameras, recording devices, etc. These play a huge role in keeping track of evidence.
I’ve also used technology to try to generate evidence on a few occasions. Particularly phone records and email records. I’ve even had a couple of cases where cell phone pinging was used against my clients, though that isn’t used very often.
Marina Shepelsky, Founder of Shepelsky Law Group
When it saves time, improves client communications, and helps with ethical considerations of practicing law, our firm adopts legal technology into our practice.
A few examples of situations where we would enact this include:
- Quickly sending a retainer and having the client sign it electronically.
- Setting up a client portal so that our clients can see the latest updates on their cases.
- Providing a platform for clients to upload documents right into the firm’s folder for easy access. This takes out the extra step of emailing or dropping off physical documents to the lawyer.
These practices make for better CUSTOMER SERVICE, save time, improve the client’s experience, and allows the lawyer to get *faster and better results. * Instead of feeling bogged down by logistics, we can concentrate on law work.
Tim Billick, Owner of T Billick Law PLLC
Every lawyer should be looking out for technology that will help them do their job better. In fact, in connection with a lawyer’s ethical duty of competence (which all states have), a majority of states have some form of
the ethical obligation to be well-versed in relevant legal technology.
The ethical obligation should be the *starting* point for all lawyers when assessing what technologies should be implemented in practice.
Beyond the ethical obligation, savvy lawyers should always look for tools to make workflows more efficient, obtain better data to advise clients, and streamline administrative processes.
Michael E. Duffy, Managing Partner, Duffy & Duffy, PLLC
Today’s legal technology has become more prevalent in law firms, especially at a time when everyone needs it by yesterday, and now is too late.
The COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on our court system in New York State as dockets were put on hold and our personal injury and medical malpractice victims had to wait months to receive justice.
Thankfully, the technology has allowed us to stay in touch with other attorneys in the firm and their clients.The pandemic has also changed the way we work.
Our homes have turned into our personal offices and our typical workdays are no longer 9-to-5. We can be eating dinner or getting out of bed when we find out about a deposition being filed or are being notified of an upcoming court date.
Filing electronic documents over a secure server save attorneys time, money, and stress. They can be sent over to opposing counsel, judges, or clients in a matter of minutes, without the need of having to physically be in court.
It’s vital that law firms up their game by modernizing their procedures, their software, and their practice. If you’re not equipped, you’re not in business anymore.
Benjamin L. Luftman, Founding partner at Luftman, Heck & Associates
My firm adopted legal technology, in the form of Salesforce a number of years ago. Salesforce is a customer relationship management (CRM) software. Given the growth of my firm and the volume of clients we service, there is time involved and allotted for everything during the workday. Time is a precious commodity. Being as efficient as we could with our time was the primary motivator.
A perfect example of this would be court filings. It takes time to type in a client’s name, court information, etc. Multiply this by numerous clients daily and a great deal of time was spent on that particular task. Salesforce has apps that you can add to it. One of which is a conga composer.
By adding conga composer and all of the courts in Ohio we service, as soon as we initially enter our client’s information and court/case information into salesforce, it allows us to automatically populate all of the normal court filings.
Instead of taking ten to fifteen minutes to generate these documents, the process now takes ten to fifteen seconds. The time saved is tremendous and allows us to spend more time communicating with our clients, which makes them happy and provides a better overall service.”
The above-shared opinions must have helped you understand why legal technology is vital for lawyers and law firms in today’s digital-driven world. There are many factors and challenges associated with technology adoption. So the key to success is making a balance between legal expertise and technological skills.
Many times, law firms and corporate legal departments do have exceptional legal knowledge but lack technical expertise. In such situations, they mostly prefer obtaining legal support services from reliable providers.
At Cogneesol, we are one of the leading legal support services firms, providing quality and round-the-clock support to lawyers, law firms, and corporate legal departments across the globe since 2008. To learn more about our services, call us today- :1 646 688 2821 or Email at – [email protected]
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