The legal industry has always been slow to innovate. Lawyers, perhaps too calculated and cautious for their own good at times, are often hesitant to hop on or be a part of anything that seems unfamiliar. Therefore they avoid doing anything potentially risky. As a result, lawyers have generally been late adopters when it comes to new technology. Lawyers’ changing views towards technology will improve the legal industry as a whole.
While lawyers may carry reputations for being stubborn and stuck in their ways, consumers can be encouraged by the significant change that has taken place in a few law firms over the past few years.
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According to data shared by Blueprint, an estimated 16% of law partners will retire in the next five years. An additional 38% are expected to retire in the next decade. The same site reports that jobs for recent law school graduates are slowly on the rise. What this means is that new young blood is starting to take over the legal workforce.
A generation of lawyers attached to their old school ways of serving clients, are gradually being aided and/or replaced by Millennial and Generation Z aged legal professionals with a stronger affinity for using technology. Even many lawyers in between their early and final practicing years are starting to realize that their firms must start embracing new technology or quickly fall behind new youthful competitors.
Why Is This Great News For Legal Consumers?
Simply put, an increased emphasis on technology should result in firms being able to better serve their clients, and provide them with a more enjoyable customer experience. Also, efficiently in law firms may put downward pressure on pricing.
Lawyers’ changing views towards technology typically leads to:
1- Firms staying more organized.
2- Firms experiencing more flexibility in their ability to serve clients.
3- Firms working more efficiently, leading to savings
Some legal practices are already successfully incorporating new technology into their firm. This provides clients a superior experience as a result. Other firms are still playing catch up, but the recent trends of lawyers embracing technology are still largely positive. So how exactly are legal professionals using new technology to improve their practices?
Firms Are Creating Virtual Workspaces
Family law cases typically involve a ton of paperwork. If law offices have a high number of cases, particularly larger cases that span over a long period of years, that can mean boxes and boxes of paperwork. This is less than ideal for a law office, as having to go through large piles of papers can slow down a lawyer’s ability to get work done. There’s also of course the risk of important files being lost or misplaced, which is simply unacceptable when it comes to life-altering legal matters. This is why our law firm went paperless with everything in Microsoft’s secure cloud.
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Lawyers will gradually start to become more computer savvy. There is a trend for lawyers’ changing views towards technology. They have shifted towards creating their paperwork in a digital format. They store that paperwork on a cloud based paperless office system. Doing so allows important files to be located in a matter of seconds. This guarantees that nothing relating to a client is ever lost. Documents can now be instantly transferred through cloud based systems between lawyers and their co-workers. This system also works between lawyers and their clients. This makes staying organized easier, and sharing of information simple.
Lawyers Have The Ability To Work Remotely
Clients would love if lawyers could be in their office all the time to answer client questions and work on cases. However, work circumstances and life circumstances always seem to get in the way. Attorneys will have days and sometimes weeks, where they need to be away from the office to represent a client. They might also go on vacation to de-stress. Lawyers are also human beings, and things like injuries, illnesses and pregnancies can result in them needing to take extended time away from the office, and work from home.
There was a lawyer that worked part time while travelling Europe and Peru!
Lawyers Are Using Softwares To Accomplish More
In the past, lawyers have struggled to serve clients while out of the office. New technology like smartphones, video conferencing, virtual networks and cloud storage has changed the legal industry. Law office employees can do a good percentage of their job from just about anywhere. The ability to speak with or get a message or document to a client from outside the office means lawyers never have to make one client a priority over another. Remote technology allows for law offices to always be running at their best. Clients are always get the attention they require (within 24 hours during work days.)
Growing in popularity are legal practice management softwares. There was a 2017 study conducted by the company Answering Legal on this topic. They found that two-thirds of our attorney customers were using at least one legal software. The main goal of these programs is to streamline a practice’s workflow. This helps them work more efficiently in some area of the job.
Lawyers’ Changing Views Towards Technology
Legal softwares of course vary in what they can do. Today, there are many examples of lawyers utilizing softwares to better manage cases. They use this to schedule appointments, process payments and improve their marketing campaigns. The end result is usually lawyers spending a lot less time performing administrative tasks. This leaves them more time to focus on the client and winning their case. Legal softwares can also help keep firm errors to a minimum, and decrease aggravation in lawyer-client interactions.
The old ways of getting work done don’t need to be completely abandoned. Butnew technology should always be embraced or at least looked into. At a few legal answering services, they have never been intimidated by new technology entering the attorney industry. Rather, they have encouraged their lawyer customers to take advantage of it. Lawyers being able to better serve clients, usually means more successful cases and more potential leads calling into their firm. Everybody wins!
Technology has the legal industry changing fast. We expect future innovation to bring nothing but good things for legal consumers. Lawyers on the other hand will have to adapt in a hurry or consider other employment.
Do you want to learn more about how lawyers’ changing views towards technology will improve the legal industry? Reach out to me on my Linkedin!