An inherent resistance
For any business operating today, change is inevitable. The legal sector is no exception and firms must embrace change to maintain growth, success and their competitive edge. While it is natural to be hesitant about change, law firms are seen as significantly more risk-averse than other business types, with many practitioners traditionally perceiving it as a risk rather than an opportunity. This is echoed by the top 10 law firms, who identified new technology as the biggest challenge that the legal sector will face over the next two years.
Of course, embracing new ways of working in a law firm isn’t always simple and there are many factors which impact these decisions. The time it takes to research and implement, the money and resources used and the preconception that it might be ‘too big of a job’ are enough to discourage managers from introducing new systems across their practice. While some firms are driving change, many others must follow suit and alter their view, in order to approach new processes with the attitude needed for the most positive return.
Replace outdated processes with technology
Many law firms still have legacy processes and products that they are both comfortable using and have worked for them in the past, but are no longer fit for purpose. For example, firms which continue to manually manage case specific files and data offline are more likely to operate much less efficiently than a firm utilising modern tools to support staff with these matters. By doing so, more unnecessary tasks are created, which ultimately cut into fee-earning time and reduce the opportunity for efficiency.
This is where change, particularly in terms of introducing technology, plays a fundamental role. These solutions spark an opportunity for firms to evaluate their current operations and identify the time-intensive processes which could be streamlined to free up more time for undertaking high-value work. Only then can they determine the right time to adopt changes in order to ensure business continuity and greater productivity across the firm.
With a wide range of legal software systems now readily available, there will undoubtedly be a system which has the flexibility to meet the specific needs of every firm. What’s more, the support that should typically accompany this software from suppliers can provide crucial support both during transitional periods and with continued case and practice management – taking some of the pressure off decision makers and enabling a smoother transition for staff.
The true value of change
By applying change to across a legal practice with modern legal IT systems, firms can move their practice into a new era of software-based workflows and embrace new processes which improve overall success. For example, legal systems can enable managers to digitally track case progress across the business; freeing up valuable time to invest back into the practice and ensuring the smooth running of operations.
These systems can also be invaluable in maintaining compliance, by generating prompts and task reminders to avoid missed deadlines and ensure any necessary processes are upheld. With the many regulations and protocols the legal industry now has to adhere to, this can prove vital for helping firms to avoid the damaging consequences of falling behind.
To succeed in the modern legal sector, law firms must start by evaluating their processes and discuss their goals with potential suppliers to find systems that will effectively support their practice with the greatest return on investment. Those who realise the true value of change – and measure their success accordingly – will ultimately open the door to new avenues for higher productivity and better working processes for their staff, whilst future-proofing their practice as the sector continues to evolve.