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Technology

5 signs it’s time to update your law firm’s technology

Millennials are making partner, and GenZers are getting hired as associates. It’s quite likely that law firms are noticing a disconnect between the way their lawyers want to work and the tools available to support them. Here are five signs it’s time to update your legal technology toolkit.

1. The only way lawyers can get started on a new project is by asking the lawyer down the hall

Attorneys have long relied on search engines and colleagues to help them tackle new challenges. But these days, the colleagues who were once down the hall might be remote or buried in their own work.

Some legal tech providers anticipated these challenges. They have developed tools like Practical Law that work as easily as asking a question of a colleague or search engine. Except these tools deliver much more powerful answers. Answers you know you can trust.

New attorneys will benefit from tech that delivers highly curated wisdom from seasoned attorneys. More experienced attorneys can confidently take on new types of matters and continue to deliver exceptional service.

2. You have to turn away new work because you don’t have the capacity or capability

It’s hard to predict spikes in demand, but when they happen, clients want quick support. FindLaw’s 2021 U.S. Consumer Legal Needs Survey showed that 56% of consumers with a legal need act on their issue within a week.

Having easy access to know-how and wisdom from seasoned legal professionals helps attorneys say yes to more matters, even when they are outside their specialties. With tools like Practical Law, firms have the resources to instill confidence in a client even when the matter presents some unknowns.

3. Retirements and lateral moves are looming, and you don’t have a good handoff plan for institutional knowledge

Law students learn how to think like a lawyer. New associates learn how to lawyer from their colleagues. They may even learn specific steps and tools needed to complete each matter efficiently and consistently.

But what if all that knowledge isn’t captured anywhere and people still learn new skills only by talking to a senior lawyer? That can be a problem for firms in transition.

Turnover is less disruptive when wisdom and processes are documented and mapped out. New legal tech tools such as interactive matter maps help attorneys walk through new tasks rather than making it up as they go along.

4. Your clients are still pushing back on billing costs

With fewer 2020-related crises to address in-house, corporate clients are looking at strategic legal matters again, matters that are more likely to include outside counsel. But they’re still closely scrutinizing invoices for work they don’t think they should have to pay for.

When associates are trying to get up to speed, it takes them longer to do the same work as more senior level attorneys. This is generally considered part of their training, but billing that time as “research” will no longer go without notice.

In this environment, law firms will want tools that help them rise to new challenges quickly and deliver exceptional value with every billable minute.

Tech-driven tools can help new associates get off on the right foot and start delivering billable work more quickly. In turn, this saves money for the clients, which keeps them happy.

5. Your attorneys need more flexibility, but your systems rely on too much manual effort

The number of attorneys who want to work remotely at least one day a week has doubled since the start of the pandemic, going from 37% to 76%, according to the 2021 Report on the State of the Legal Market.

Firms that want to retain their talent and attract new hires will certainly offer at least hybrid, if not fully remote, working options.

Legal technology can help enable this ongoing remote work, with cloud-based solutions and AI-driven research and collaboration tools reducing manual effort.

It’s time for a legal tech update

Legal tech isn’t just for lawyers who want to code anymore – it’s critical to the success of your firm and your attorneys. Download our white paper, How technology drives law firm modernization, to see how new, user-friendly technology can benefit your firm.

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