How Law Firms Can Better Prepare for Digital Disruption and Transformation

According to the World Economic Forum, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is currently underway due to technology and digital innovation which is disrupting and transforming “almost every industry in every country”. (1)

This disruption is largely being driven by new patterns of consumer behavior (stemming from greater access to mobile networks and data) which are forcing companies, including law firms, to adapt and change how they design, market, and deliver their products and services.

Because of this, companies and law firms of all sizes must now look for more and better ways to:

  • Add more value to clients; Save them time and money.
  • Adopt and use more advanced technology to create and deliver their products and services.
  • Streamline their organization to operate in a more cost-effective and efficient manner.
  • Gain and maintain a competitive advantage.

Thus, below is a list of some specific things law firms can do to accomplish these goals as well as become more technology progressive, based on AirDesk Legal’s experience in working with hundreds of law firms over the years:

  • People
    • Client Relationships
      • Being able to assess, organize, prioritize, and manage client relationships in a way that positively influences the perception clients have of a law firm (e.g., its expertise, level of professionalism, and aptitude) is vital. A law firm’s success or failure in this area boils down to how it manages its client relationships.
      • Although many law firms use a practice or case management tool, a law firm’s customer relationship management (CRM) efforts, the efficiency and integration of a firm’s CRM platform into its work flow processes, and its staff’s ability to access its CRM platform anytime and from anywhere can all have a major impact (for better or for worse) on a client’s experience.
    • Employee Productivity – Providing employees with a way to:
      • Practice law and work anytime, anywhere, and on any device.
      • Do their job more productively, efficiently, and accurately (and also free them up to focus on more high-level work, wherever possible).
      • Collaborate on projects faster and more efficiently with others.
      • Work within a well-organized and efficient organizational structure.
  • Process
    • Streamlining and automating processes.
    • Creating and implementing more consistent processes.
    • Developing better workflows between lawyers and clients.
  • Technology
    • Utilizing transparent IT systems and more subscription-based services, so a law firm only pays for what it needs and uses (such as with outsourced cloud services and cloud datacenters) instead of buying, managing, and maintaining a large collection of costly and bulky hardware and software in-house. Industry powerhouses such as Microsoft, Dell, and others have all made it clear the future is services via the internet instead of traditional hardware products.
    • Deploying and using integrated, streamlined technology platforms which can quickly accommodate new technologies and tools long before a law firm’s competitors can, and thereby accelerate a law firm’s lead in the marketplace.
    • Incorporating more technology, mobile devices, and capabilities into both company and employee workflows, and product and service delivery processes.
    • Leveraging technology tools which can help facilitate more and better communication and collaboration between a law firm’s staff and clients. For example, using:
      • Staff-to-staff unified communication (with integrated voice, email, and instant messaging) integrated with CRM for client communication.
      • Centralized tools and templates for employees, as well as common software versions.
    • Establishing employee-friendly Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies and not weighing these policies down with too many technical limitations.
    • Establishing and maintaining security.
      • Implementing security best practices which help protect a law firm from viruses, malware, ransomware, and other potential security threats.
      • Preparing for upcoming security audits. (i.e., More and more law firms are being audited by banks and other institutions with whom they exchange financial and HIPAA-compliant information. These audits can be both complex and time consuming. However, cloud service providers such as AirDesk Legal can help make getting through the AICPA/SOC audit and certification process a breeze.)

By preparing for digital disruption and transformation now, not only will law firms be able to provide more value to and create more meaningful relationships with their clients, but they’ll also be better equipped to rapidly respond to continually changing and evolving client needs.