With an incredible 713% growth in legal tech investment in 2018, technology is clearly something that firms are confident can bring huge benefits to efficiency, profits and client satisfaction.
Tech is playing an important role within legal innovation by facilitating increased performance and automating high-volume, low-value tasks. And this, of course, frees up lawyers’ time.
But tech does not achieve this in isolation. To truly innovate and reap the rewards, law firms need people and workplace culture to change too.
Because of this, firms are increasingly looking to employ someone with a role dedicated to innovation – roughly 30% of firms, in fact. This could be crucial in making sure new systems and processes are optimised and have a positive impact.
But aside from dedicated staff, how can firms make the most out of their investments in both new and existing tech?
Identify which of your processes can be streamlined
With new tools entering the market at a rate of knots, you’ll need to identify which ones can help you streamline and enhance aspects of the legal process.
Not all firms (or technologies) are created equal, though. You’ll need to analyse current processes and work out where improvements can be made for your firm, before diving into an investment.
There are many entirely necessary day-to-day tasks that are also repetitive and time-consuming. These are the prime candidates for automation:
- Billing process
- Document review
- Time & expense entry
Improving and automating these back-office operations can help give your firm a competitive edge when it comes to costs and customer satisfaction.
Integrating tools and products will streamline processes that require multiple steps. This can remove the need to mould documents into different formats, potentially causing delays.
Streamlining the transfer of data or documentation between different platforms is all about saving time and increasing process efficiency, which brings us to the next key point.
Focus on your process efficiency
When you get the most out of your IT, it will help to drive process efficiency – getting the job done quicker.
This is a high priority for law firms, as legal tech provider Aderant showed when asking lawyers about the drivers behind their technology investments:
- 64% said automating routine tasks – which eliminates the need for human intervention, where possible.
- 54% said workflow automation – which tends to promote efficiency in teamwork and collaboration.
- 47% said analytics and 34% said integration of systems – which allows firms to get a more complete picture of data and integration across function to deliver better insights.
- 24% said mobility – enabling remote and flexible working, which allows people to access the documents they need, when they need them, wherever they are.
By focusing on how your IT can reduce inefficiencies, you’ll save time and money, and deliver for your clients quicker than ever before.
Maximise use of data and understand your key metrics
New tech is offering ever-greater visibility and access to data, making key metrics easier to track than ever.
This can enable your firm to tailor client experiences, measure procedures and processes and inform recommendations.
With less than 15% of survey respondents believing they are effectively using big data to deliver legal services, it’s clearly not an area being used optimally.
Data can be used to:
- Learn from the past to improve efficiency – data from previous cases used to recommend actions and strengthen plans.
- Provide quantitative facts – helping to influence key decisions from partners, as opposed to using conceptions and generalisations.
By getting to grips with the metrics, tech can help you to reduce costs, inform business strategy, minimise contract risk and deliver better services.
Invest in your biggest asset – people
As we mentioned earlier, new tech won’t achieve anything on its own. It takes people to make the most of your systems and processes.
Providing regular training is essential, and this is just as true for existing systems as new ones.
To make the most of your IT, your people have to be on board. Change can be a battle, and you want people fighting with the system, not against it.
With regular training, assessments and refreshers, they’ll find it much more rewarding and see the benefits clearly.
Some new tech can be intuitive and self-explanatory, and if so, great. But, that’s not always the case. Different people learn at different rates and in different ways, so alternatives such as webinars and video tutorials should also be considered.
Either way, support from colleagues and suppliers should always be available to ensure your people can make the most of the tools at their disposal.
With the abundance of Legal Tech options only set to increase, it’s essential any new IT serves a purpose in your firm – helping to solve a challenge worth solving.
Typically, law firms are already using a number of systems to manage various tasks. Optimising the use of these existing technologies would be a good place to start.
Then, the focus for key new technologies should be to streamline functions, increase process efficiency and agility, leverage data for better insights and offerings, and aim to keep the customer at the centre.
If new tech isn’t user-friendly, compatible and scalable, the chances of making the most of it are slim. And it’s for this reason that investment in tech should never come without investment in your staff and their training alongside it.
To get you started, watch our webinar on improving back-office efficiencies to identify methods of streamlining current processes.