Legal technology solutions across the world are promising to increase law firm efficiency. They say that while fee earners at traditional law firms are buried under piles of paper and an avalanche of administrative duties, digital firms are experiencing higher rates of efficiency than ever before.
But when you talk to colleagues in the legal industry you find that this isn’t always the case. Fee earners are scratching their heads wondering how to use this new technology and attorneys are relentlessly holding onto old workflows.
While “efficiency” is often thought of as the time it takes to complete a given task, in law firms the concept of efficiency focuses on the time and effort required to take a matter from new client intake to paid invoice.
Historically the process to carry a matter through that lifecycle has lacked automation, collaboration, and solutions that make searching and delivery easier on attorneys and clients alike.
Let’s take a look at how law firms can increase operational efficiency by helping fee earners feel comfortable adopting digital processes without completely disrupting day-to-day legal work.
The first step in leveling up your efficiency is the foundation all other steps rest on: documenting core processes.
Moving a matter through your firm can seem complex on the surface, but when boiled down, can be simplified into a series of processes and tasks. Once those core tasks are understood and agreed upon by stakeholders, it’s easier to identify and understand where legal tech may be used to help.
Perhaps the most important part of the documentation & technology identification process is socializing the benefits of tech with the team. At the end of the day, your legal teams want to know why you’re moving their metaphorical “cheese” and what they can expect in return.
Tell legal teams what’s in it for them as they implement new legal technology and you'll likely see an uptick in usage.
One of the largest killers of efficiency in legal practices is the amount of time it takes to find and gather documents. This is especially true for firms resisting the digital age.
By using a document management system for law firms, you can create a single source of truth for every matter flowing through your firm. Having anywhere access to everything they’re working on, fee earners will be able to find what they need quickly and spend less time searching through files.
It’s important to note that robust document management tools like NetDocuments integrate with popular practice management software. NetDocuments document management system also works within attorneys’ favorite apps and tools, like Microsoft Office, so as to not disrupt core workflows and encourage higher adoption rates.
Lawyer or not, most professionals are inundated with emails in today’s digital world. To stay productive and keep focused, it’s imperative for forward-thinking firms to give fee-earners a way to manage their inboxes.
Law firms using tools like ndMail have the ability to connect with Outlook to automatically file correspondence at a matter or project level, essentially building a complete client file in real-time.
This saves several steps as, once again, you can rely on NetDocuments as a single source of truth and get out of your inbox.
It’s no secret that clients expect work products to be delivered to them digitally and to always have access to the most up-to-date document versions.
These expectations make tasks such as compiling closing binders or sharing large amounts of documents for feedback cumbersome and time-consuming for many legal professionals.
This is why many firms are turning to tools like SetBuilder and CollabSpaces to meet and exceed client expectations. SetBuilder allows legal teams to build closing documentation in real-time as documents are completed, while CollabSpaces gives teams a simple way to share matters with clients directly within their single source of truth – the DMS.
Your law firm’s productivity and success depends on the ability to make the most of your time and resources. Wasting time with repetitive, administrative tasks ends up costing you billable time and draining profits.
Emphasize these tips to increase law firm efficiency and make life simpler for all the attorneys in your firm.
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