Emerging communication technologies are changing business operations everywhere. They are opening up new doors for the legal industry. With the new technological advances, lawyers can communicate and collaborate faster and create better experiences for their clients. Law firms are able to use these communication tools to maintain lean operations and run more cost-effective businesses. So more and more law firms are embracing these modern tools to improve their communication channels.
Here are some of the benefits of using new technology:
Streamlined Lawyer/Client Communication
A big part of a lawyer’s day is spent talking to clients. Before new technologies like email, texting, and video conferencing, lawyers heavily depended on phones for long-distance communication. For more personal consultations, lawyers had to travel to their clients. But today’s new tools have made it easier for them to help their clients without compromising on quality.
According to an American Bar Association survey, 77% of lawyers regularly work from home. The advances in mobile technology have made it possible for lawyers to interact with their clients without traveling.
Lawyers are using emails, texting, and mobile application find new prospects faster. Law firms are able to cut down on their travel and prospecting expenses and still find good quality clients.
Better In-House Collaboration
Large law firms are using new technologies to promote interdepartmental cooperation. Organizing meetings across offices or locations used to be challenging. Tools like Google Hangouts and GoToMeeting make it a breeze.
Law firms also had to waste a lot of time documenting information during meetings and other forms of interactions. Today tools like Slack make documentation easier. All interactions are automatically tracked, recorded, and made searchable. A team can find out easily what other teams are working on.
Efficient Case Management
Communication technology has simplified digital case management. Lawyers don’t have to manually record schedules, court dates or billing information. They can use the tools to automate these case management tasks. It’s eliminating the need for extra human assistance.
Law offices used to have a number of people dedicated to documentation and filing. These processes were time-consuming and vulnerable to human errors. Misplace documents could create problems.
Tools like Office 365, Slack or HelloSign help improve the efficiency of sharing, discussing and maintaining documents. No more losing physical folders, photocopying reams of paper or wasting time trying to organize things into order. Now lawyers can share and track case information with a few clicks.
Automation of Client Queries
The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) is allowing law firms to automate communication. AI-based chatbots can answer client inquiries and even provide legal advice for simple cases. For businesses, the ability to automate simple interactions translates into a lot of savings.
Top Communication Applications for the Legal Industry
The technology world is moving fast. So there are new applications available almost every day. Here are some that have made a mark on the legal industry:
Google Hangouts is a single destination video call, phone call, and messaging solution. Lawyers are using it for holding remote meetings with their clients and colleagues. But it’s also a great tool to create webinars. Users can record the video sessions. So if lawyers are talking to prospects about a particular topic, they can record it on Google Hangouts and then share it through various social media channels like YouTube and Facebook.
GoToMeeting simplifies the remote meeting process. Law firms can send e-invites to their clients through various email and social media channels. Businesses don’t have to worry about micromanaging the remote meeting process.
Join.me is another meeting tool that has secure screen sharing and file sharing. It’s flexible and versatile. It helps with both lawyer/client communications and in-house collaborations.
Office 365 suite is a cloud-based solution that makes data communications secure and easy. Tools like Outlook, Word, Skype, and OneDrive is already integrated. It also provides email hosting. So lawyers can configure it to create professional looking email addresses with private domain names like [email protected]. So the Office 365 suite is a comprehensive communication solution that works really well for the legal industry.
Slack has become a popular application for enterprises across the board due to its ease-of-use and convenience in gathering information. Slack can store all legal interactions and documentation in a central place with access control. It is especially helpful for sharing case information across the organization. Law firms are moving away from emails and adopting Slack as their main form of communication.
TeamViewer is a popular application for remote desktop access and screen sharing. Law firms use it for both online collaboration and client communication. It’s also used as a secure way to connect to internal networks. For example, a lawyer accessing documents from an airport can use TeamViewer to establish a secure connection.
Zoom is a cloud-based web conferencing and video conferencing tool. Law firms can get started using Zoom without any starting infrastructure costs.
Evernote is a cloud-based note-taking application that makes document organization easier. Naturally, lawyers have started to find the application useful for their legal work. It comes with great features to take images and make notes on them. So lawyers use it to snap photos of documents and take digital notes. Users can also collaboratively work on Evernote documents.
HelloSign has become a quintessential tool for signing agreements, contracts or legal documents. The days of photocopying and faxing are long gone. Lawyers can use HelloSign to securely exchange documents and get them electronically signed. It cuts down on paperwork and saves money. Moreover, it automatically creates a reliable audit trail and improves transparency.
Staying Relevant with Communication Technology
Technological advances in hardware, software, mobile, and the internet are changing the dynamics of collaboration in the legal workplace. You no longer have to deal with misplaced paper files and broken fax machines. You can use the latest digital solutions to optimize your legal business and take it to the next level. The process starts with the right culture and leadership. With the new communication tools and processes in place, you can improve organizational efficiency and get more done with fewer resources. It’s good for your business and it’s good for your clients!
I published the first version of this article on the UpCity blog on Janurary, 2019