The legal field is slowly beginning to acknowledge the benefits that technology has to offer, even as legal technology adoption is slow. One of the greatest benefits of legal technology is the way that it can improve efficiency in the practice of law. We all know the phrase “work smarter, not harder,” but we would argue that using technology to increase work efficiency allows lawyers to work smarter and harder for their clients. That is because efficiency tools free up more time for attorneys, giving them more mental space and physical time to give their clients better results with their legal challenges and improve the overall client experience.
Here are the top 3 ways that legal technology and legal software increase work efficiency for attorneys:
How Legal Technology Can Improve Research
One of the most important but time-consuming aspects of work for the field of law is legal research. Legal research is a critical part of any lawyer’s job and helps them have an in-depth understanding of their clients’ specific legal needs. They need to know what laws apply to the case, how those laws have been interpreted over time, and whether there are new developments or precedents on the horizon. It helps them stay current on their client’s issues so they can provide effective representation.
But in order to do this effectively, lawyers and attorneys need to be able to access information quickly and efficiently. These legal tasks take an enormous amount of time. Late in 2020, the Statista Research Department found that on average lawyers spent 75% of their time doing non-client-facing billable work! Even when they have legal teams, paralegals, and research assistants, they end up spending a huge amount of money paying for them to comb through case files and make decisions about what information is most helpful to the case at hand. And if you work in a small office or run your own practice, then all of those administrative tasks, the collection of articles, and research are going to fall to you, and maybe one or two overwhelmed assistants.
The good news is that today’s technological advances allow us to search through vast amounts of data at lightning speed. We now have cloud-based legal software combined with robust, intuitive Artificial Intelligence that can do a high volume of research in a fraction of the time that a human can. Artificial Intelligence software can search the internet and find information that relates to your case. The software can analyze data and documents, looking for keywords that apply to the specifics of your case. And because Artificial Intelligence is designed to learn and adapt to new information, your results will just get better over time.
Online research databases such as Westlaw or LexisNexis allow you to search through thousands of cases in seconds. This saves hours of searching through case law books by hand. It also helps save money on printing costs since these online resources have a much larger database than printed volumes do, making this a cost-effective tool for your practice.
That’s not to say that Artificial Intelligence is going to eliminate the need for paralegals or even lawyers in the future. But it can take a huge amount of information and narrow it down to the most relevant documents that apply to your client’s needs. You are then able to use your time more wisely by reviewing the most applicable information, leaving more time to create a winning client strategy for each case.
How Legal Technology Can Streamline Case Management and Document Preparation
Legal technology doesn’t just assist with case research. Case management tools are becoming more popular because they also automate legal services that can be time-consuming. By automating areas of case management and document preparation, lawyers can devote that saved time to their clients.
Take client intake, for example. Many legal websites now make use of Artificial Intelligence chatbots to answer questions about a potential client’s needs. AI can record important information about the client and the details related to their legal needs and make an initial assessment as to whether or not the firm is able to provide the legal support needed. There are also tools that can compare schedules and set meetings between the lawyer and client, eliminating the time-consuming back-and-forth of getting an appointment on the calendar.
And we briefly mentioned file sharing in the section above, but this is also an important part of the case management process. File sharing through cloud technology provides clients with a secure way to compile and share information and gives lawyers instant access to documents related to the case. No more waiting for paper files to show up in the mail, or having to hand-deliver legal documents to a law office due to security concerns within the mail system.
Legal technology can also streamline document preparation, helping lawyers and legal assistants prepare documents faster. There are legal tools to create electronic versions of documents and forms, and even templates that AI can fill out automatically. All of these tools save time, money, and manpower by automating the repetitive tasks involved in document preparation.
There are also technologies that can record and dictate interviews, giving the attorney both audio and written documentation of interactions with clients, experts, and other people related to the case. This improves the accuracy of recorded information and gives lawyers and paralegals multiple ways to review information.
How Legal Technology Can Enhance Client Communications
Speaking of clients, technology has also enhanced attorney-client communications. When using secure communication technology through cloud-based legal software, instant messaging is a safe and immediate way for a client in crisis to get in touch with their lawyer. And video conferencing technology has made it easier for lawyers to communicate with their clients. Video conferencing has also become more popular and widespread due to the pandemic, but the benefit goes beyond protecting client health.
Video conferencing technology can be a convenient way for clients to get legal representation if they have mobility issues or live in a remote location. It can also be a safe way for a client to protect themselves or keep their client communications private if they are in a dangerous or life-threatening situation and need to keep their legal support confidential. Offering secure connection and communication to clients can be an important part of your client strategy.
TechMasters is a leader in serving the technological needs of the legal sector. Contact us for a free assessment where we can determine the best value improvements for your legal practice.
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