If you take a close look at the legal industry, you will come across a potentially dangerous mismatch between the need for and the attitude towards I.T. integration into daily operations.
However, change is the need of the hour, and change is definitely afoot in the legal industry. As the historically conventional industry tackles major obstacles, such as tech-savvy competitors and reduced client budgets, there is growing realization regarding the need for an I.T. strategy.
Over the last three decades, I.T. has grown to form the backbone of the modern economy. A comprehensive I.T. strategy for your law practice ensures you have a road map to your desired I.T. objectives for this year.
I.T. Strategies Every Business Should Adopt in 2019
When devising an I.T. strategy for your law practice, you should make it a point to ensure that it reflects your organizational goals and aligns with them.
In addition to alignment, you should also look to document and further revise and update the I.T. strategy at regular intervals. As the technological landscape changes—and it does so every year—your I.T. department should reflect that change.
Here are a few critical components that should definitely form a part of your I.T. strategy for 2019:
1. Tap into the Possibilities of Cloud Computing
Even if you have just started out your law practice, you will be required to set up an I.T. infrastructure to facilitate the information and data that will come pouring in. Additionally, you have employees who need access to servers and client data that needs to be stored.
There are just too many extraneous variables involved that make maintaining an in-house I.T. structure a headache for most lawyers. There is the server hardware that needs to be bought, the cost of maintenance, market-competitive remuneration to the I.T. guy, and don’t forget the backup hardware!
The solution lies in cloud computing. Not only does cloud computing ensure you don’t have to worry about downtime that hinders work, but the ability to work remotely and have centralized access to information is a big plus.
Even for the mid-range law practice looking to open a new office in another county, cloud computing provides a much more streamlined and efficient computing system than managing two different I.T. servers.
2. Look to Invest in a Customer Resource Management (CRM) Tool
Going by Pareto’s Principle, 80 percent of your revenue will come from 20 percent of your cases. How will you identify that 20 percent? How will you tap into the potential of existing customers? How will you manage to restructure your client data?
For starters, keeping heaps of documentation piled up is unlikely to speed up the process. An efficient CRM system means all of your client data is stored in one secure place, speeding the process of information retrieval and streamlining your contact management.
The organization and smooth access to case details leads to informed and aware employees and attorneys. The insight into data that a CRM offers just isn’t possible when dealing with pen and paper.
Powerful CRM solutions geared to cater to the legal industry make it possible to follow up with prospective clients, check the details of an intricate case, and scrutinize which of your services and offerings are bringing the most clients.
If law firms are to undertake the precarious task of prioritizing their investment agenda, a powerful CRM should top the list.
3. Migrate to a Unified Communications (UC) Platform
You can invest in business development as much as you like, but what effectively matters is how efficient you are with the prospective leads coming in? The onus is on legal firms to provide high-value and personalized consumer solutions, and that entails prompt and effective communication—whenever and wherever needed.
Communication—that’s the key to building trust and return business. In a trust-intensive industry like the legal one, communication becomes all the more significant. A UC platform offers the prospect of having a secure and personalized communication channel with your employees and clients, irrespective of any geographical limitations that might hinder conventional communication methods.
As a great enabler of the remote workspace concept, a UC allows a meaningful conversation to be held minus the travel and meeting costs. The increased availability and client collaboration also adds to increased customer satisfaction and eventually more referrals.
The productivity offered by UC platforms, coupled with their all-channel access and enterprise-grade security, effectively trump any point in favor of conventional and outdated communication channels. If you’re going into 2019 without an effective UC platform integrated with your practice, you risk being left behind.
4. Secure Your Devices with Mobile Device Management
Digitalization has altered and modified every aspect of the world we live in, and the legal space is no different. An overwhelming majority of law firm employees use smartphones to carry out business tasks – without adequate security, your data is at risk.
This has not gone unnoticed in the industry. According to the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA), 67% of the respondents picked “security management” as one of their topmost concerns. The once dreaded BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend is the norm among law firms, and if anything, I.T. increases the risk of data theft.
With increased smartphones comes increased cyber-risk. Law practices traffic in sensitive information, and any compromise on data security will account for costly legal repercussions and irreparable damage inflicted on the firm’s reputation.
Securing any and every mobile phone that is connected to the firm’s server and the network is imperative to preserve the sanctity of your workplace and sensitive data. In line with the threats looming around are the American Bar Association’s Ethical Guidelines, which require law firms to make “reasonable efforts” to safeguard any client information and avert any unintentional disclosure. Any law firm lacking a mobile device management plan can be held guilty of negligence.
No two law firms are the same, and no single I.T. strategy is a fit for every law practice. However, what is important is to consider the possibilities of I.T. integration that exists within your law firm and actively pursue the implementation of your I.T. strategy.
Every I.T. strategy should be fitted and tailored according to your needs and the problems faced by your law firm.
JMARK has been helping lawyers in Springfield and Tulsa increase their success with the help of innovative I.T. solutions for thirty years. The driving force behind everything we do is to help our clients leverage technology to save money and achieve their goals. To learn more about how we can provide your firm with leading technology services and solutions, contact us today. Email [email protected] or call 844-44-JMARK.