They may each have slightly different kinds of business models, but law firms all need to be run efficiently and effectively. They require technological tools that are sophisticated, but don’t demand burdensome technological know-how or investment. They also need tools that don’t compromise quality and integrity. Fortunately, there are tools that check all those boxes to support thriving law firms.
Legal work is paperwork intensive, with so many emails, notes, files, and other documents to share, track, convert, search, and store. Legal firms needing help with that can use cloud-based digital tools designed specifically for attorneys. Companies like LegalWorks, for instance, specialize in management tools with features like search engines that can find the proverbial needle in the haystack within emails and documents.
Some systems allow drag-and-drop capability, to capture emails and file them in an organized way that is indexed and searchable. Users can create document tags to make it easier to perform searches, or use tools that automatically convert typed, handwritten, or printed text into machine-encoded text.
Very few professions value confidentiality as much as the legal profession. But when sensitive communications are compromised the outcome may be catastrophic. Law firms can protect themselves by taking advantage of encryption services. These will safeguard emails and text messages from falling into the wrong hands while they are being sent, received, and archived.
There are encryption services available that operate beyond the reach of common operating systems, and don’t rely on the internet architecture of a law firm’s clients. Text messages on mobile devices can be automatically encrypted behind a password-protected shield. If a smartphone containing such data is lost or stolen, the stored information can be instantly deleted.
Tools that offer encryption of sensitive communications and management of documents can be extremely helpful. But those that ensure the security and timely management of payments are absolutely vital. Electronic payment systems that accept credit cards have been promoted by the ABA as a valuable technological tool for law firms. But the ABA emphasizes the importance of using state-of-the-art technology that includes advanced features.
Those are necessary to expedite payments without creating unwanted liabilities such as security issues or mismanagement of IOLTA accounts. Today there are turnkey platforms that provide all of that. Some include features such as data encryption, PCI-compliance, and Level 3 processing of multiple payments. They even offer automatic recurring billing capability and legal surcharging to avoid paying hefty credit card payment processing fees.
AI is also empowering legal firms to analyze vast amounts of data quickly and accurately. One compelling and rather fascinating example is that Thomson Reuters Westlaw® Litigation Analytics can give law firms keen insight into how judges behave. That’s accomplished using AI tools that crunch the data regarding such things as how a particular judge might run their courtroom and reach their own legal conclusions. While AI is still in its infancy in terms of applications within the legal industry, it will likely evolve into one of the most exciting and useful technological tools for law firms.