The Best Legal Technology Products for Law Firms
In this Legal Technology trilogy we will take you from the very basics of legal tech, passing through the best performing legal technology products by practice area, to a case study of one of our most successful legal products and how it’s helping our clients grow their practice. Legal technology products can help lawyers offer their services to clients efficiently and affordably while saving paper and maintaining social distancing.
The COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating effects on the U.S. economy do not appear to be going away anytime soon, and you, as a lawyer, are looking for ways to keep your law firm afloat financially. Investing in fancy new gadgets and software for your law firm might be the farthest thing from your mind in an age when you worry about whether clients will be able to afford your services. However, now is actually the best time to adopt new legal technology. Choosing the right technology for your law firm will help you serve your clients more efficiently and save on overhead costs which ultimately increase your margins. In fact, tech products make it easier to offer your services to a broader range of clients at affordable prices instead of more difficult.
How is Legal Technology Different From Any Other Business Technology?
Many of the technologies that were considered state-of-the-art 30 years ago are now standard in law firms as well as in other types of businesses. Your law firm probably has a photocopy machine, a PDF scanner, word processing software, and a voicemail service, but so does every office. Today, many of the tech products that are most useful to lawyers are also useful in other industries. Lawyers need scanners, VPNs, and cloud storage, as do professionals in many other industries. When it comes to software, applications that are specific to the legal profession are even more helpful than generic business software. While simple, inexpensive bookkeeping software works for any small business, some technology products made just for law firms can help your law firm function more effectively. These are some technology products especially for law firms:
- Law Practice Management Software: These are comprehensive software packages that help you organize every aspect of your law firm and automate the parts that can be automated. They cover everything from billing to scheduling appointments to bookkeeping and document management. Some popular law practice management software packages include Clio Manage, CosmoLex, MyCase, and PracticePanther.
- eDiscovery Software: Electronic discovery software makes the process of examining and storing electronic documents much faster and more manageable. Although eDiscovery software applications such as Logikcull were originally designed for litigation, they are also useful for early case assessment, internal investigations, and public records requests.
- Client Relationship Management (CRM) Software: CRM software packages like Lawmatics, Freshsales, Clio Grow, and Captorra can help you communicate more effectively with clients while saving time. Think of them as “smart” contact lists, but with a genius level of intelligence. Their client intake features can make your initial consultations with prospective clients much more fruitful, and the software can even provide useful information to help you focus your marketing efforts.
Better Legal Representation Through Technology
Investing in legal technology is not about buying the newest and finest products to show off, the way that some lawyers wear expensive suits and drive expensive cars in order to impress prospective clients. You should only buy the tech products you need, namely the ones that will help you serve your clients better. These are some examples of technology products and services that could enable you to do your job more effectively and help you avoid the problems that are the source of many clients’ complaints about their attorneys:
- Cloud storage: Solves the problem of clients having to wait for lawyers to retrieve physical documents or electronic files stored on the hard drives of computers locked in buildings that are only accessible during business hours.
- Electronic payment processing: Makes it much more convenient for clients to submit payment.
- Billing and invoicing software: Removes ambiguities about how much clients owe and avoids the awkwardness of having to compose emails asking for money.
- eDiscovery software: Saves time, which is convenient for you and for your clients.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, even the most tech-phobic lawyers must embrace legal technology. Video conferencing apps, document scanners built into mobile phones, and documents exchanged securely with clients are no longer just for lawyers who go out of their way to cultivate a futuristic tech geek image. It is more important than ever to have reliable ways to meet with clients virtually and to maintain confidentiality when being alone in a physical room with a client is not an option. Even when it is safe to meet with clients in person again, a legal profession in which lawyers conduct large portions of their work online is here to stay. It is important to build and maintain a paperless law office where clients can be confident that their information is safe from security breaches.
Which Legal Technology Products and Services Does Your Law Firm Need?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer about which legal technology products are the best. Every law firm has different needs. Which products you will want to invest in first depends on a variety of factors, such as the size of your law firm, your practice areas, and which legal technology products you already have. For example, if before the pandemic, you kept most of your work-related files on a desktop computer in your office, then your priority should be buying a laptop computer that you can use for working at home and a cloud storage subscription or practice management software so that you can access your files from anywhere. Meanwhile, if you are already used to communicating with your clients, colleagues, and office staff remotely, the logical next step might be to upgrade to a better CRM software or law practice management software or video conference technology to keep the social distance requirements feeling so impersonal.
In summary, legal technology is for all lawyers, especially now that social distancing is the new normal. Choosing the legal tech products, whether they are hardware or software, that work best for your law firm can help your law firm stay competitive and successful in the current circumstances and provide the best possible services for your clients. From cloud storage subscriptions to comprehensive law practice management software packages, there are many ways that technology can help lawyers do their jobs successfully during these challenging times.
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