"Innovation is the calling card of the future."
— Anna Eshoo
How are UK law firm leaders readying their teams for success through and beyond the pandemic? They are creating agile law firms. They’re blending onsite and remote work in the optimal ratio and fine-tuning as needed.
For a look at how this is happening now, this article is one segment of our three-blog series on the impact of recent global changes on leadership, operations and technology. With this article, we focus on how technology supports the changing firm, as lawyers go remote or mobile-first, adopt innovations including artificial intelligence, and use leading-edge software to elegantly deliver legal services.
Passing the Lockdown Test: The Agile Law Firm
Successful firms’ technological capacities helped them pass the lockdown test. To some extent, they had already embraced legal tech, and were able to quickly provide remote connections for staff, together with new, safe modes of working. These firms were primed for change.
The keys to their transformation?
- Technology is a core element of their culture. It's not about the fear of missing out; it's about advancing a firm’s needs and taking its people from strength to strength. They have found that legal technology provides a better calibre of work.
- They have strong security measures in place. They anticipate cyber and data security breaches. They invest in prevention measures to secure their non-public information, and that of their clientele.
- They’re focused on relationships. They have kept their staff and clients informed as to how their firms are responding to the crisis and powering through it. The legal tech they use to communicate beyond the firm is attractive, and inspires client confidence.
- They innovate. They are ready to explore and adopt automation and artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance not only their productivity, but also the reliability of what they produce.
Future-Focused: Running a Remote-Based or Hybrid Firm
The law firm in transformation is continually assessing the tech resources needed by each element of the business model: hardware, systems, cloud-based platforms, equipment and accessories. Its leadership budgets for the necessary personnel and allows for the work hours to implement the technology and training, website content and client guidance.
This is occurring as major UK law firms have asked lawyers to take their computers home. Staff and clients alike now seek face-to-face engagement without physical presence, deploying Zoom, Teams, and other audio-visual conference and collaboration tech. Webcam technology is now the go-to method for meetings, closings, and even courtroom appearances.
Of course, data security comes into play at every turn. New equipment, combined with significant changes in the way firms operate, increases possible vulnerabilities. Thus, the future-focused law firm is known for its concerted focus on cyber and data security. This means:
- Encrypted client file sharing.
- Continuous file backup.
- Mobile security.
- Password security and VPN security to shield employees’ Wi-Fi connections.
Leading firms are adept with cloud-based practice management and client relationship tools. They’re meshing the firm’s information, making it accessible to remote teams, and using new tools, such as artificial intelligence, to optimise it.
Artificial Intelligence: The Next Step in the Transformation of Legal Services
AI software enables quick, accurate analyses of massive knowledge bases and collections of documents and opening channels to automate legal research and discovery.
AI tools can improve and update transactional documents, drawing on comprehensive stores of precedent. AI tools allow for precise drafting of contracts, wills, and trusts. With AI, lawyers can get answers to legal questions in any practice area and have powerful support for courtroom preparations. Lawyers can put AI to work in predictive analytics and assess the most likely outcomes in a specific case, in a specific courtroom — even with a specific judge.
Law firms will be aided by, not replaced with, AI. This is because lawyers are attuned to the human needs and emotional responses of their clientele and the relevant decision makers, and this sense is needed to best apply the AI results in their human context.
Tools for the Future: The Right Legal Software
The legal software selected by firms enables them to optimise core operational functions. A complete set of law practice management tools, customisable for a range of practice areas, can broaden a firm’s scope and widen its client base without sacrificing attention or precision. It ensures security and has built-in compliance features.
With leading-edge legal practice software:
- Case management tools conform to legal teams’ needs and workflow templates are tailored to each department.
- Clients enjoy accessible yet secure self-service portals for secure file sharing and appointment scheduling.
- Directors and project managers have dashboarding, reporting and key performance metrics at their fingertips.
- Data analytics enable the firm to set and track goals.
And with effective client relationship software:
- Firms can automate outreach to clients and prospective clients.
- Comprehensive client information can be quickly accessed and organised.
- Lawyers can gather the relevant client data and elegantly deliver legal services.
Legal software for a cloud-based era can put everything together: documents, emails, and day-to-day business processes including accounts and billing. SOS Legal’s flagship software, SOS Connect, offers an excellent set of tools to help law firms embrace legal tech, improve their legal services, and lead their teams into the future.
In our new eBook, The Future of Law Firm Operations, SOS Legal sets out to measure the UK law firm’s current challenges in these three aspects: (1) technological, (2) operational, and (3) leadership related. Download our eBook, The Future of Law Firm Operations, to help inform your firm's planning.
About SOS Legal: Delivering legal software and services to mid-sized firms since 1987, SOS Legal has the know-how to help today's remote and hybrid offices thrive. At SOS Legal, we are pleased to assist the leaders rising to the challenges of a global pandemic and shaping the new era of law.