The legal field is complex, and the demands it makes on lawyers and their teams are often unpredictable. This is why lawyers, paralegals, and clerks have much to gain from incorporating best-in-class technology in their processes.
Without efficient workflows, legal processes become prone to delays and production bottlenecks that can profoundly affect client well-being. For example, this can happen when a client needs immediate legal advice on a matter, and the legal team can’t find the relevant documents fast enough to give a balanced legal opinion.
Today’s technological world is an overwhelmingly impatient one, and the legal field is no different. Lawyers and their teams have a clear incentive to reduce the amount of high-volume, low-impact non-billable work they do and to maximize the efficiency of critical value-generating processes.
This approach is key to earning industry-best cost savings in the legal field. Legal professionals know they have to treat their law office like a business, and that for any business in any field, clear processes are key to success. Law office technology is what fuels and enables those processes.
Optimize Law Office Technology to Reduce Waste
The primary cost-saving goal of law office technology is reducing waste. Non-billable hours and unused consumables all represent waste within the context of an otherwise efficient legal system. Lawyers can waste up to six hours a week just looking for documents. These are hours that no legal client will pay for if you try to bill for them.
Law firms with a robust platform for enterprise content management can make their processes much more efficient by merely reducing the amount of time it takes legal professionals to find documents. However, there are more significant benefits to implementing state-of-the-art law office technology:
• Reducing Paper Usage. Printing is expensive. The average office employee prints about 10,000 pages per year, costing their employer about $725. This figure is likely much higher for law firms. Content management and managed print services can reduce printing needs and cut costs on a vital part of the document lifecycle.
• Automating Document Capture. Even a digital-first law firm trying to go “paperless” will likely have to deal with incoming paper documents. To make processing these documents as smooth a task as possible, law office professionals need to use optical character recognition technology to automate the otherwise time-consuming task of manual data entry.
• Never Losing Documents. Having lawyers spend up to six non-billable hours looking for documents is terrible enough. Having lawyers waste that time and not even produce the required document is worse – especially if the document in question is not easily replaceable. Enterprise content management ensures that no documents fall through the cracks.
• Establishing Clear Processes. Clear processes help law firms operate in a more efficient, business-oriented way. They help reduce the amount of time and stress that goes into mundane administrative tasks that otherwise take away from the law firm’s core objectives. Clear, repeatable workflows make it easy to train new clerks and paralegals, and allow exceptions to stand out more clearly.
Hiring Talent to Automate Processes in the Law Office
While the benefits of best-in-class law office technology are clear, legal firms typically find themselves faced with two choices concerning implementation. They can hire a team of in-house IT specialists or entrust their IT infrastructure needs to a managed service vendor.
While having your own IT team may sound like an ideal situation on the surface, it comes with a variety of costs and risks that legal professionals may not wish to assume. The costs involved include hiring costs, equipment costs, and maintenance costs.
IT specialists command average salaries of around $55,000 per year, plus benefits. IT specialists who are qualified to assess, develop, implement, and maintain enterprise content management systems for legal professionals are likely to cost even more due to the extra-sensitive nature of the work.
Finding and hiring the right team is a difficult task. After that, law firms must invest in the right equipment to make their content management solution work. This can also present problems, as there is likely no existing infrastructural guidelines to go on – especially if you just hired a new IT team to do the job.
Finally, maintaining law office technology may be more trouble than it is worth. To remain up-to-date, secure, and compliant, IT specialists need to verify both hardware and software products routinely. Even if this is done correctly, the equipment itself will eventually become obsolete and require replacement.
Managed Service Vendors Offer On-Demand Technology
Instead of assuming the cost of hiring an entire legal IT team, legal professionals can entrust their technology needs to specialist vendors who offer workflow optimization and network infrastructure as a service. Managed services allow legal firms to enjoy cutting-edge law office technology solutions for less than the price of a qualified full-time IT specialist salary.
Is it time for your law firm to optimize its workflows and begin operating with next-generation efficiency? Talk to an expert at Blue Technologies to find out more.