How law firm technology has allowed lawyers to approach practice differently
In the not too distant past, lawyers had to conduct business in a central office in order to access files and meet clients. Today, law firm technology has allowed for greater flexibility in work flow. In fact, technology has dramatically changed the way many lawyers approach their practices.
For independent lawyers and small law firms in particular, these changes have allowed for innovation in a number of areas.
With the ability to access e-mail, files and more from almost anywhere, lawyers no longer need to feel chained to a desk or office all day. For independent lawyers, that allows for a better work-life balance as they manage work when and where it’s convenient.
That said, a professional office can be an asset for client meetings and for maintaining focus. Coworking spaces or shared offices allow for the flexibility many modern lawyers need. These spaces help give lawyers structure and professionalism, but with the ability to remain mobile and nimble when needed. They also eliminate a lot of the overhead associated with leasing office space.
Perhaps the biggest impact for lawyers, technology has streamlined legal processes. While it once took days or weeks to share documents or secure client signatures, many of these processes can now happen in a matter of minutes online. Technology has simplified billing, case management, research, discovery, marketing and many other day-to-day law office activities.
For independent lawyers, that means less time devoted to administrative tasks and the ability to work with a leaner staff. That efficiency allows new law firms to operate on a smaller budget, but with a bigger impact for clients.
Improvements in communication technology can become a double-edged sword for many lawyers. Email, text and other always-on communications channels make it easier to maintain client relationships. However, many lawyers also feel pressure to respond to communication more quickly and after hours.
As you take on new clients, set clear expectations and boundaries about how and when communication will occur. Let clients know your office hours – and hold yourself to responding only during those hours, except in extreme circumstances. You can deliver a high level of client service without responding to every email right away.
In fact, responding during office hours allows you to devote your attention to the matter at hand rather than dashing off a quick reply. Think quality communication rather than quick communication. Your clients will notice.
In addition, technology has opened up a variety of new communication methods that can help clients feel more confident in your expertise. Use a variety of marketing tools – from e-newsletters to social media – to maintain contact with your client base. Each piece of quality information from you and your firm helps to solidify the client relationship as they see you as the go-to source for legal information and advice.
The ability for independent lawyers and small law firms to collaborate, thanks to technology, has changed the game in the legal industry. Lawyers can now reach out within online networks to take on global cases and clients, allowing even small firms to compete for big projects.
With technology, small firms don’t need to add partners or permanent staff in order to grow a practice area. They can easily connect with other lawyers who have the experience they need to tackle a particular case.
Consider how technology can help you streamline your law business, expand your reach and even improve client service. Through technology, you can more easily deliver innovative solutions to meet your clients’ legal needs, and you can compete with bigger firms.
To learn more about how independent lawyers are developing modern law firms in Denver, contact us. Our collaborative coworking spaces for lawyers give you flexible options for growing your firm.