LAWYER JOKE: Take a hot new technology, give it five years to be rendered obsolete—and then watch an attorney embrace it.
We found this joke floating around on the internet. Although it doesn’t pertain to all of the attorneys we know, law firms – in general – don’t have a reputation for embracing new technology. Although, we must say, of the 230+ attorneys we actively support, there are probably less than ten that still use a Blackberry.
Clients don’t care if their attorney embraces technology. However, they do want a lawyer who is efficient, responsive, cost-effective, informed and connected. Based on a study by the Legal Technology Institute, the most common complaints lodged against lawyers involve poor business management, failure to return telephone calls, billing problems, lack of proper control of finances or failure to keep track of calendar and to-do items. Many of these problems can be reduced or eliminated through proper use of technology.
Modern technology has digitized or automated most aspects of paralegal, legal secretary, and attorney job functions. From billing hours to retrieving evidence to filing briefs with a court of law, technology is helping legal professionals to efficiently perform an amazing amount of work. Lawyers who embrace technology are ahead of the curve–they see the value of not only implementing available technology, but maximizing the functionality of their existing technology. Some crucial areas where attorneys are using technology to extend and enhance their capabilities are:
Connectivity: From firm-wide email to smartphones, communication is the heart of the attorney-client relationship.
Knowledge Management: Sharing information within the firm is vital, too. Attorneys need to be able to collaborate and share knowledge effectively anywhere in the world.
Work Product: Managing the information produced for clients is critical. Across briefs, advice memos, transactional documents, filings and more, innovative technologies enable firms to provide materials to clients quickly and efficiently, to archive them securely, and to retrieve them for future use.
Information Resources: Using a host of e-resources, web-based information systems and electronic databases, firms are able to provide information vital to successful results for clients.
Accounting and Billing: A customizable capability provides clients and lawyers easy, efficient access to billing information to manage budgets effectively.
Technology allows lawyers to not only be responsive to their clients, but also to be more efficient in the way they operate…and that’s no joke!