A lot of the work that we do on a day-to-day basis revolves around the technology we have, and it’s ability to keep up with our workflows. Paralegals and other legal professionals rely on the software their firm provides, and when this is slow and outdated, it can be a major headache. You can’t guarantee top of the line security for your clients’ personal information. It takes much longer to access the things you need on a computer running at a fraction of its maximum speed. Is your law firm’s technology outdated? Here are the key signs:
Sign 1: Your Profits Are Steadily Declining Year After Year
Clients are consistently putting pressure on your firm’s overall revenue, whether that’s through demanding alternate billing options or refusing to pay for administrative costs. If your firm is absorbing costs that clients refuse to pay, you have likely seen a decline in your overall profitability. This means you might be more hesitant to spend money on even more systems that you might not be able to recover from.
However, if your expenses are increasing and your profits are declining, the best solution is to improve the efficiency of your work. Outdated software puts a strain on paralegal teams, but with newer and faster legal tools, paralegals can focus on higher-value tasks. Entity management platforms such as Athennian have several resources to help improve your workflows, including client portals to make communication and collaboration more efficient; improved task tracking and document automation tools; reporting dashboards that allow you to view client information in one place rather than wasting time searching, and more.
Sign 2: You Still Have Large Blocks of Filing Cabinets
Think about how difficult and time-consuming it can be to locate that one document you need when you have to search through a filing cabinet in the office. And, what about when you need that document when you’re out of the office, or when you’re working remotely as was the case during COVID-19?
Paper files pose significant security risks when compared to digital files. It is scarily simple to misappropriate paper documents and files whether by theft, photocopying, or just taking a picture. Firms must consider whether paper filing still complies with a lawyer’s ethical obligations.
Lastly, paper filing is expensive. It takes up very costly real estate in an office. Firms are reducing their overall space to accommodate remote workers, and therefore, decreasing the physical size of your office can more than offset the cost of going digital.
Sign 3: Your Existing Systems Don’t Talk to Each Other
Consider your day-to-day workflow. Do you frequently have to go into one system (or filing cabinet) to get documents for a client, copy them over to your email so you can discuss them with the client, upload the document to another program to edit it, email the client back and forth until you have a final copy, then go into another system to upload the final document and file it? If so, you are not putting your skill and experience to good use. Properly integrated entity management tools can help streamline your entire workflow, end to end.
Many firms have purchased three or four different systems to accomplish different pieces of their workflows. Digital entity management tools are designed to provide exactly what your firm needs, without a puzzle-piece approach. By integrating solutions like Athennian into your practice, you’re connecting all the dots in one system that can be customized to your firm’s needs.
Sign 4: Your Team Needs More Flexibility, But Your Systems Rely on Too Much Manual Effort
Repetitive and duplicative work is usually a symptom of either poor system integrations, or outdated procedures. When you have systems that can talk to each other and share critical data, you can reduce the amount of time you spend searching for documents and entering data.
Manual processes make the work day hard and they increase risk in more ways than one. For example, they can delay documents from being created due to missing data, therefore increasing the time taken for documents to be signed by the appropriate stakeholders. Not only do manual processes increase the risk of missing deadlines, but this can also have a costly effect on compliance.
New, cloud-based digital systems can automatically populate data with the click of a button, facilitate e-signatures, and file documents with the government in a fraction of the time. Without the need to go through multiple manual steps, legal solutions like Athennian simplify the process and deliver a key advantage to your firm.
Sign 5: You Frequently Deal With Tech Support Problems
So much so, that team members would rather use their own devices. In many cases, outdated software requires at least one IT professional to be fully dedicated to maintaining it - whether that’s adding new users, fixing glitches, manually updating the system on the server, and more. In some law firms, it is also possible that the software is obsolete, and current approaches can’t solve the problem.
It may cost more to attempt to salvage what you have than it would be to purchase a new piece of technology. Opting for newer technology will allow you to receive quick and accurate help when you need it. This allows IT resources to be proactive and plan for future initiatives, rather than trying to fix the same old problems.
Is it Time for a Legal Tech Update?
Solid legal technology is critical to the growth and success of your firm. Updating the technology you have available may be necessary in order to continue providing the highest quality of service to your clients. Athennian can migrate your business data to the cloud easily, efficiently, and cost-effectively. Read our free Entity Management Starter Kit for a high level overview of how we do this.