Choosing the right legal technology for your law firm can be a little overwhelming. There are so many companies and products already on the market and this list seemingly grows from month to month.
When you add this breadth of choice to the fact that although you understand how Legal Tech will benefit your firm, you are legal specialists rather than tech specialists, finding that all important starting point can be tough.
How can I choose the right Legal Tech provider?
The good news is making the right choice is not a guessing game. There are several steps you can follow to make sure you find the right solutions and the right provider:
Which solutions meet your business considerations?
Above all else, you need solutions that will deliver a tangible return on your investment. At this stage discussions at partner level will probably focus on the non-negotiables:
What are your objectives?
Which solutions can meet your exact specifications?
Which are within your price range?
Which are compliant with existing (e.g. SRA and GDPR) regulations?
Which solutions will deliver value?
The second step is to look at the relative functional value of each solution.
Every piece of technology you introduce must impact on your firm’s bottom line. It must create value by saving operational time and costs and/or deliver the fee growth (either by bringing in new clients or encouraging your current clients to buy more or refer more) you want.
Which solutions fit your vision for the future?
Your new tech should sit alongside the vision you have for your firm’s future. It should enhance the way you work and benefit your clientbase, professional network, marketability and reputation.
Achieving all these objectives will have to be carefully balanced against the cost implications. Put simply the best solutions will command a higher price! However, the discussion should be based on long-term value rather than the price.
Cutting corners early could cause more harm than good if you fall short of the promises you have made both your staff and your clients and contacts.
Which solutions will be easiest to use?
If your new tech is going to save you time and help you operate more efficiently, it will need to be easy for your employees to use.
You will need to make sure your new solution integrates with your existing infrastructure without sacrificing operational efficiencies and that you will receive all the support you’ll need during the onboarding period.
Comprehensive and instantly accessible support is essential. People are notoriously resistant to change so if the right levels of support and encouragement are not provided, your implementation could fail to have the impact it should on your workflow, productivity, and profitability.
Longer term, make sure your supplier has a reputation for working in partnership to ensure you are always using the latest version and always have access to all available functionality.
Will the solution meet your ethical responsibilities?
Today some of the ethical issues linked to new tech and new suppliers are just as important as the commercial considerations.
Any new solution should include robust safeguards to protect the confidential client data it holds. As this is so fundamental to the legal profession, the majority of Legal Tech providers will automatically include state of the art data security features.
However, confirming this level of security exists must be part of your due diligence. Publicly falling foul of either ethical or regulatory standards would be hugely damaging to your firm’s reputation.
And always remember your due diligence needn’t happen in isolation.
The legal press and the relevant professional bodies are constantly reviewing and assessing the latest Legal Tech and have published several detailed reports summarising the latest innovations and current usage trends. Similarly, consumer software comparison sites carry reliable peer reviews you can check your initial shortlist of potential suppliers against.
How can I evaluate which Legal Tech solution my law firm needs?
Although the findings from taking the 5 steps outlines above will identify the type of Legal Tech solution that best suits your firm, here are some examples of the more easy-to-implement solutions currently offering law firms a manageable and workable start point and their clients an instantly improved client experience.
This is the best way to securely share documents and other confidential information related to individual client matters.
A portal provides clients with 24/7 access to their files and automatically notifies them when their files have been updated. They are secure, convenient and repeatedly proven to increase client satisfaction.
Over the last year video conferencing has moved from being a novelty to being a fixture of our working weeks. However, our use of video conferencing is only set to grow. This means it is definitely worth investing in faster, more stable solutions so your clients can schedule ‘face time’ as quickly and easily as possible when you need to break away from email and get into the detail.
Texting (whether its via SMS, WhatsApp or Messenger) has become one of the most popular methods of communication for lawyers and their clients. A recent study by Thomson Reuters shows 32% of respondents said they prefer to communicate with their lawyer by text.
While this has raised lawyers’ eyebrows in the past, it is a sign that law firm’s need to find secure and efficient text messaging platforms to ensure they can continue to meet their clients’ preferences.
Robot Lawyers and Legal Chatbots
A law firm’s website used to be an online brochure. Today it has to be much more. Your visitors either want instant virtual access to the answers and information they need. They want immediate service, or it is ever more likely they will go elsewhere to find it.
The easiest way to satisfy these increasingly demanding digital natives is to employ chatbots.
It is easy to add a chatbot capable of answering the most common questions and directing those asking the questions to the best point of contact who can then pick up the reins and convert their interest into a face-to-face meeting if not an instruction.
While chatbots – or ‘robot lawyers’ as they were once called – may once have seemed a futuristic dream, they are now very much a reality. Moreover, an increasing number of practice areas are seeing the benefits of using AI to welcome potential new clients and provide them with instant service.
They create value for the clients because they no longer have to wait or pinball around a site trying to find what or who they need to find. They create value for the firm because they are able to get straight to the issue without wasting billable time gathering the details or filtering out the ‘tyre kickers’ from genuine enquiries.
CM.com and the Legal Sector
As the global leader in conversational commerce, we are perfectly placed to provide the legal sector with chatbots, text solutions and a range of other client interaction tools that will help law firms increase both their operational efficiencies and their client experience.
If you’d like to arrange an initial meeting to discuss how we will make it as easy as possible to begin to take full advantage of the commercial benefits Legal Tech offers, contact us today.