As remote and hybrid work continues to trend, there is no doubt law firms are growing acutely aware of their technology capabilities and deficiencies. Compared to other industries, law firms have historically struggled to keep up with the proliferation of technology and data due to security concerns, lack of technical resources, and a limited budget for necessary enhancements or proper software. Here are the common challenges and scenarios we see and hear:
- Keeping client data on-premises versus in the cloud is providing a false sense of information security
- Resisting technology budgeting and investments overtime is creating greater costs in the long run
- Running outdated or legacy solutions is increasing your firm’s exposure to data breaches and cyberattacks
These challenges can be resolved and leveraged as opportunities to define a technology adoption plan that meets the needs of your practice. As the workforce landscape continues to evolve, the pace of digital transformation will only accelerate. Do what’s in your power to get ahead of these challenges before they do harm and cost you time, money, and maybe even clients.
The security and control of client data is of the utmost importance in the professional services industry. Unfortunately, the legal industry has been one of the late adopters to fully migrate to the cloud and as a result, many legal-specific technology solutions are lagging when it comes to cloud offerings. For example, time and billing systems, CRMs, and document management systems can be very difficult and expensive to convert to provide secure and seamless remote access.
Potential Solution: Replacing legacy software with something new, as opposed to hoping the vendor will modernize the product, is likely the best approach to reaping maximum benefits. This allows for a more concerted effort aligned with your immediate needs as opposed to waiting around for vendor-initiated advancements. Learn how to build a business case and plan for migrating a legacy application to the cloud.
Cybersecurity is an ongoing concern when creating more remote capabilities within a firm. The key is to ensure the implemented security controls really do protect a mobile workforce. Many firms are set up to be highly secure within the office, but those protections do not extend to a home office or co-working space. Creating the same level of security assurance in remote work and cloud technology environments requires a different approach to implementing the same level of cybersecurity controls.
Potential Solution: Providing cybersecurity awareness training to your employees and enhancing your IT department with improved security protocols will help mitigate human error, reduce risk, and decrease your chances of a cybersecurity threat. Explore steps you can take to protect your business from inevitable threats.
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Software Solutions and Integrations
With digital work environments on the rise and the use of web meeting and video conferencing platforms like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Google Hangouts increasing, firms are realizing that their legacy or proprietary video teleconferencing (VTC) solutions don’t interoperate with these other more common services. It’s important to adapt existing technology to work harmoniously with these services so clients can seamlessly connect with attorneys irrespective of the conferencing technology they use.
Potential Solution: A technology roadmap assessment will identify a firm’s current capabilities, account for future plans, and help leadership answer three key questions:
- What is our firm trying to accomplish?
- What is our strategic plan and timing?
- What solutions do we need to successfully meet client and firm expectations?
This will lead to an actionable path forward that offers more security for less money and friction.
Information Technology Training
New technologies and evolving security practices require ongoing workforce training for sustainable success. Training can often be challenging, time-consuming, and costly given limited institutional knowledge. This can lead to lower participation rates, difficulty adapting new tools, and thus a negative impact on technology transformation initiatives.
Potential Solution: Develop a strategic training plan that occurs as soon as new technology is available (and implemented) to remain proactive, avoid downtime or future interruptions, and reduce the risk of security breaches. Training should take place on a regular basis to promote good habits and ensure security information remains top of mind.
Improve Remote Experiences to Attract and Retain Talent
The competition for talent in the legal space is fierce; so, differentiating your firm as being innovative and technologically advanced can help attract the best candidates and retain those you have. This can be accomplished by ensuring your remote work offerings and policies are desirable and more efficient, secure, and unique than your competitors. This requires confidence in the technology, tools, and processes your firm has implemented to foster effective collaboration, seamless communication, and high productivity.
As a result, your firm will likely achieve a higher ratio of staff-to-attorneys and save on administrative payroll. Furthermore, not only does this improve internal cooperation but it also improves the client experience by fostering more personalized, prompt, and digitally enhanced interactions.
Reduce Real Estate to Lower Overhead Costs
Implementing an effective remote work strategy creates opportunities for firms to establish smaller satellite offices in or around suburbs versus paying high overhead costs for large offices in downtown areas of cities. This cost-saving trend means lower rent(s), decreased commute times, increased attorney satisfaction, and greater convenience for clients. For your firm, this likely means you can adjust your rates to be more competitive, which creates an all-around win-win scenario.
Readily Comply with Client Security Requirements to Attract Leads
Historically, only very large clients required a legal firm to undergo a formal security audit as part of their vendor due diligence process. However, we are seeing more clients of all sizes, especially the middle market, hold their law firm to this expectation. Overhauling firm technology to improve remote capabilities and security is, in many ways, making it easier to comply with the increased number of security audits requested by clients and leading to new prospects.
As client expectations and the market for legal services evolve, firms providing innovative solutions will increasingly gain a competitive advantage. Now is the time to reevaluate your technology capabilities and implement the necessary changes to meet employee and client demands.