It is fair to say that since 2020, the only constant has been change. Legal professionals everywhere have found themselves transitioning to using virtual platforms with the arrival, persistence, and devastating presence of COVID-19.
No matter what position you hold in the legal field, having the technology in place to be able to thrive in this tech-dependent era is important to the survival of your law firm. You can leverage the following tools to help keep your team protected, ease the stress of client management, and increase productivity, while working from home now and when returning to the office in the future.
#1: Practice management software
According to the ABA, only around 43% of small to medium-sized law firms use practice management software to organize their cases. While more piecemeal approaches might have been workable in past years, as online functionality and remote work increase, so will the need to manage cases more centrally.
#2: Scanning and fax apps
Despite being practices that fade in usage more every year, there is still sometimes a need to scan a document that is only available in print or send files via fax. The good news is that there’s no need to cart clunky hardware into your office space. There are a variety of apps that allow you to turn printed documents into PDF and fax documents all from your phone.
#3: Video conferencing platforms
If you haven’t already, legal professionals should take the time to get familiar with a variety of video conferencing tools. These days everything from internal meetings to high-profile court cases are conducted via remote video technology.
The most popular video conferencing platforms for remote legal teams are:
These platforms provide varying degrees of encrypted call security. Choose the platform that is most comfortable for your team and stick with it. Having a handle on your communication software before you take a meeting is necessary for the best results.
#4: Electronic signature tools
While eFiled documents don’t typically need to be submitted with signatures, you’ll still need to obtain signatures from parties and attorneys to keep on file. Ditch the onerous back and forth via email and use an eSignature solution to help you gather signatures with only a few clicks on either side.
#5: Team communication platforms
Beyond video conferencing platforms, you need to be comfortable interacting via team management platforms. This is especially true for larger firms that are moving their employees online. Legal teams can collaboratively work on cases, share documentation, track progress, and review data. Some noteworthy team management platform examples are:
#6: Document management software
We’ve moved past the filing cabinets, now it’s time to get beyond the hard drives when it comes to storing documents. Even if you’re not yet using a practice management software, storing documents in the cloud improves collaboration, enables better version control, and enhances sharing capabilities. Never wonder who has the latest copy of which complaint when you’re using document management software designed for legal professionals.
#7: Rules-based calendaring
Juggling deadlines and tracking events can be complicated, especially when managing multiple cases. Leverage existing tools to compile jurisdiction-specific rules and assign actions and timelines that best align with case-specific requirements without sacrificing any internal projects.
#8: Voice recognition software
Dictation software allows legal professionals to turn a three-step process into one. The most successful firms understand that efficiency is a priority, so eliminating time-consuming tasks can save both time and money. Some leading voice recognition software for dictation used in the legal industry are:
#9: eFiling and eService
If you’re reading this now then there’s already a good chance you’re an eFiling rockstar. But with the changes and shifts in court rules, there are always ways to improve your understanding. Here are some places to get started on turning your eFiling from beginning to advanced:
- Key eService details in the age of Emergency Rule 12
- 7 steps to becoming an eFiling super-user
- Checklist: How to file court-friendly documents in California
#10: Scheduling software
Tired of going back and forth comparing schedules with clients? Use a tool that connects with your personal and professional calendars to calculate and share your availability automatically. You control which times are shown and they can easily save time on your calendar without unnecessary messaging.
Having the right tools to support your team’s transition to the new age of contactless communication will ensure your success through this tough time. Start to explore which tools would help your firm push itself into greater efficiency through better technology.