Digital disruption is the effect that digital capabilities have on a culture’s or industry’s fundamental expectations and behaviors. In this article, National Legal Staffing Support (NLSS) examines digital disruption in the legal profession. They will explore the benefits and challenges of technology for law firms.
New technologies are generally aimed at three areas of improvement. The “big three” for technology innovation are:
- Enhance productivity
- Enable collaboration
- Reduce overhead costs
Law firms fall squarely into the target for industries that can take full advantage of innovation in these areas.
The most notable benefit provided by new technologies is often an increase in productivity. Lawyers and staff can do more in less time. E-signature and document verification software and apps are good examples. Enabling attorneys, clients, and staff to digitally collect and authenticate legal documents and securely sign them from any location will significantly streamline operations.
Cloud storage with end-to-end encryption protects sensitive data while making them more accessible to those who need them and are authorized to work with them. Specialized Software as a Service (SaaS) applications provide always-updated accounting, document processing, and contact management applications that lawyers and staff can manage from a mobile device.
Enable better collaboration
Keeping in touch with legal partners, staff, and clients is essential to a successful law firm. New technologies that enable encrypted communications and collaboration tools make email look antiquated as they provide elegant user interfaces to create, tag, file, and retrieve essential communications.
Reduce overhead costs
What does all this new technology add up to? In many cases, the bottom line is reduced overhead costs. Time is money, and technology enables you to do more in less time. Your team will be more efficient, and you can run a lean office with fewer staff if needed. It may have taken your team an hour or more to prepare a simple document, get it signed, and deliver it to you at the courthouse, but today it can be done in just a few minutes—and this is just one small example among many time-saving benefits provided by digital disruption.
A word of caution
In a world where technology is celebrated and often embraced before it is fully vetted, a word of caution is advisable. A meaningful way to make sure a new technology enhances your practice and does not cause unanticipated challenges is to do your research before jumping in headfirst.
Your firm is not exactly like any other. How you conduct business, the types of cases and clients you have, and the capabilities of your staff, will all differ from other law offices. What works for another office may not provide the promised benefits for you.
Consider a phased approach with redundancy elements so you can test a proposed new technology while keeping your options for moving back or changing course completely open.
It is also a good idea to talk with a technology consultant to understand the best applications for revolutionizing innovations. Every new digital technology brings with it inherent risks, especially in the form of cyber threats. These new threats can seem scary because few people fully understand them or know how to protect against them. Rest assured, however, that your sensitive documents are more secure in the cloud than they are on a yellow legal pad in a filing cabinet, and it is nearly impossible to forge a secure e-signature.
About National Legal Staffing Support
National Legal Staffing Support is a pioneer and leading provider of legal process outsourcing. Located in Boca Raton, Florida, the company offers front- and back-office support to experienced consumer protection attorneys that specialize in debt resolution. National Legal Staffing Support offers paralegal services, document management solutions, pre-litigation support, pre-filing analysis, research, and client communication management.