We almost seem to be moving on from the pandemic some days. However, that is not the case. Even though the pandemic’s effects are diminishing every day, we’re not out of the woods yet. That means the return to work in one form, or another is imminent, despite the unpredictable course of the pandemic.
Despite this, law firms must be fully prepared for what may come as a result of the uncertainty we continue to face. Whether your law firm’s future involves a return to the office or a hybrid return with some employees working from home, you need legal software that allows your law firm to operate regardless of where your employees are located, getting legal consulting will clear your queries. Continuity and resilience will be longer-term for your company if such flexibility is provided.
Remote working tools are likely already in place at your company. If your firm is still relying on a jury-rigged IT setup, there’s no better time than now to fill in the gaps and invest in the right software tools that will facilitate communication and collaboration among your attorneys and staff, no matter where they are located. We highly suggest before making any decisions you opt for legal consulting.
Online Document Management Tools
If your law firm’s workforce is dispersed and working from home, the ability to access documents remotely is essential. With some legal consulting and cloud-based legal document management tools, this problem is solved by providing a built-in organizational system for documents. A document can be associated with a case file or matter, and access can be restricted to certain users within the firm.
Many platforms offer document collaboration, sharing, and e-signature tools, making it easy to share and collaborate on documents securely with clients, co-counsels, experts, and others. If you want your software to be capable of these functions, you’ll want to check that it is.
In addition, document automation tools enable the creation of templates for frequently used documents, such as intake forms, retainer agreements, and pleadings, quickly and easily.
Document templates typically have to be created in advance with this type of software, but it’s worth the effort. Creating the necessary templates to automate document creation used to require serious coding skills, but not anymore. Instead, once you create a template, you can easily use it after you have set it up. After that, your document automation software will do the rest by auto-populating data into the documents.
You may be able to automatically insert case numbers, client information, party names, and necessary dates, depending on the software you use. This could save you time and increase your productivity. Having some legal consulting and document assembly software built into your law practice management software can be extremely beneficial.
Time-tracking systems that are antiquated don’t work when team members work in different locations. Cloud-based time tracking is now available. The feature enables you to enter time simultaneously, regardless of where you are, whether on a desktop or mobile phone, ensuring you capture and charge for all billable time.
In addition to being ineffective, using a paper-based system to capture billable time actually wastes valuable time that could have been spent on billable activities. You need to capture all time, regardless of where the employees are employed, and bill it for it, so your firm should consider adopting a streamlined, centralized cloud-based system.
A passive time-tracking feature is available in some law practice management software programs. This means that it tracks your online activities throughout the day and then allows you to enter any billable activities that were tracked by the program, but not yet entered into it. The software will prompt you to enter the time spent drafting and sending an email, once it detects that you did not do this, and it ties it to the underlying matter.
Tools for Payment Processing
Then there is payment processing software. A law firm client can pay online by automated clearing house (e-check) or credit card. Consumers expect that law firms will offer credit cards and online payment options because they are the norm these days.
In addition, it may no longer be possible for clients or staff to come into the office to make a payment by 2021. The best interest of your clients will be served when you give them the option to pay their legal bills online in the comfort and safety of their homes. You will also be able to offer your firm’s clients more options when it comes to paying legal bills if they get paid fast. As a result, your organization and customers are both pleased.
Payment processing software should be selected according to the unique needs of law firms. It is the norm to prefer legal-specific payment processing software for ethical and compliance reasons as well as in order to ensure that all fees are deducted from the operating account, not the trust account, of your firm.
You can choose from a variety of payment processing tools after getting legal consulting that works with your practice management software when you utilize payment processing software for lawyers. Using tools that are integrated into your law firm’s legal practice management software, payments are immediately reflected in the legal billing and practice management software.
Tools for Secure Communication
Finding ways to effectively and securely communicate and collaborate with colleagues and clients has been one of the biggest challenges lawyers have faced when switching to remote work. Working effectively with your colleagues, staff, and clients about their cases is an integral part of practicing law, and the better you communicate with them, the more efficient your work processes will be. Therefore, law firms that want to enable their employees to work from home should invest in remote working tools that enable secure communication from wherever they are.
Ethics committees recommend using the communication portals built into law practice management software as an alternative to email that is inherently more secure. Portals are not only more secure than email, as discussed above, but they are also more efficient since all discussions pertaining to cases and case-related events and documents are all gathered together and accessible on any internet-enabled device, 24/7. Using the portals, attorneys, and clients can upload and download documents and other digital files.
The use of messaging tools built into law practice management software is another popular option, which allows you to instantly chat with colleagues and share and collaborate on documents. Most tools allow you to create channels that are dedicated to specific matters, topics, or teams within your firm. Clients and colleagues can send you messages the moment you click a button, enabling you to respond promptly, regardless of where you are.
Tools for Legal Billing
Lastly, we have billing features. Firms must be able to bill clients efficiently and accurately. It is no secret that if you fail to invoice your clients, you won’t be paid. By automatically generating digital, editable invoices using the billable time entered via the time-tracking features, legal billing software reduces the time and effort needed to send invoices to clients. An invoice may also include other information, such as LEDES billing codes. It is even possible to customize invoices by adding a logo and contact information.
In addition to enabling your clients to pay you immediately when they receive the invoice, some tools enable you to include a payment link in the invoice. Get some legal consulting before diving deep into these tools.
Times have changed and things are not the same after the pandemic strikes. So, whether your business will continue to operate remotely, use blended technology, or entirely return to the office, making sure you have the proper IT arsenal in place is key as we move into this new era of the legal industry. However, make sure you have your hands on legal consulting before making a decision.