Almost every industry in the world has been affected by the rapid rise of modern technology. Whether you’re in the business of food retail or manufacturing or marketing or real estate, digitization has touched your life. By now, law firms and lawyers understand the importance of using technology in the legal industry. At a time that people transact only through the internet and avoid face-to-face transactions as much as possible, it is increasingly important for lawyers to learn how to leverage technology to their advantage.
It’s Not About the Tools, It’s About the Process
When digitizing a business, people ask the same thing: what tools do we need? How can we deploy tech in our business? The questions are too short-sighted. When it comes to legal technology, it’s not about the tools, but about the process. The process of legal services in your practice will change. The digitalization of a business isn’t about the tools you will use. It is about the organizational change that will come with using technology more each day. People, processes, strategies, and dynamics will change because of technology.
The most compelling change would be in the way you serve legal documents. Until today, lawyers and legal firms still use process servers to notify people that they are a party or non-party to a legal case. They do this in person. They are often subjected to dangers from defendants who take their frustration out of the process servers. There have been so many incidents in the past that forced the process serving industry to put in place safety measures for their workers.
Today, process servers are serving legal documents electronically. There is no official regulation yet on who can serve it electronically or not, but electronic process service is mostly done as a last resort. This is when the process server has difficulty dealing with an elusive subject or when the case needs to move along.
In the past year, the process of filing legal cases in courts changed, too. Lawyers sent documents electronically either through a customized platform or via email and social media. Lawyers heard and argued through Zoom and other teleconference platforms.
The Legal Solutions That Need to Be Automated
Legal processes have always been paper-based. Lawyers manually file cases while their paralegals keep records in file cabinets and other storage cabinets. At a very basic level, digitizing your legal processes means starting with how you keep your records. Contracts, bills, and notaries need a digital record. A simple digital inventory system will streamline the process of looking for records and past cases. Categorizing each document will make it easy for lawyers to look up precedents.
But aside from such basic tasks, digitizing a legal practice means reducing the need for manual input in legal billing, time and expense recording, analytics, legal calendaring, compliance management, personnel management, and client accounting. Today, putting these measures in place can reduce up to 60% of the work that junior partners do in a legal firm. The same time can be used to do more important tasks such as drafting complex legal documents.
Does Digitizing the Legal Practice Pay Off?
One study found out that companies that have digitized their records and processes are 23% more profitable than those that did not invest in technology. It’s the same thing in the legal industry. You stand to lose clients when you cannot offer a more streamlined process. In fact, digital-first companies are 64% more likely to meet their business goals than their competitors. That alone should give you a glimpse into what you can expect when you make the transition from manual to digitalized processes.
But more than keeping up with the current trends, digital transformation will make your law firm more efficient. It will also reduce upkeep costs, reduce human error, and provide a better customer experience. These four factors alone will bring your legal firm to the 21st century. In fields like the legal profession, artificial intelligence and digital tools will prepare them for what lies ahead. The money you put into this now will result in more opportunities and better business standing.
Digitizing your law firm needs to happen now. You cannot waste time dilly-dallying on what you can and cannot achieve by modernizing your process. Consumers are expecting the businesses they support to come up with modern solutions to their needs. Their behaviors have changed, and they are no longer the same market you knew before, so it’s critical to meet their demands with the right processes and tools. You need to act fast or you will be left behind.