Technology is dramatically transforming the way law is practiced and what being a lawyer means- whether at a law firm or in-house. A drastic change has taken place today if we look back 10 or 20 years ago at the traditional model. This shift is evident with the capability and luxury to now stay connected to the office irrespective of time and access data anywhere.
Powered by connectivity, long and tedious days at the workplace are increasingly paving the way for more flexible arrangements. In addition, remote work is now a real possibility in the corporate legal sector thanks to the digital transformation happening in other sectors has now proven to be highly successful.
Scalable & Flexible Practices
The increasing adoption of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other such technologies is a wide-spreading acceptance of non-traditional work practices in the legal sector. As a result, law firms and legal departments are observing an increment in the ability to upscale or downscale teams as per their need resulting in the creation of the best possible team of legal associates that can deliver high-quality work irrespective of time and location.
In a similar manner that cloud computing has now become a standard feature of numerous legal organizations, legal software of frameworks fueled by artificial intelligence and machine learning will eventually be established as a mainstay in the legal industry and will further assist in freeing lawyers from traditional work models. Hence, lawyers can take on more important matters.
In fact, law firms that adopt a forward-looking vision for their tech-enhanced workforce will acquire a significant competitive advantage in terms of hiring and retention. However, firms that shy away from adapting to the new, flexible work environment will witness their talent pool diminish.
Traditional vs. virtual law firms
Considering the day-to-day operations of a virtual law firm that utilizes cloud compared to that of a traditional law firm, it is no surprise why the former seems more appealing:
Overhead costs: Overhead costs- No more computers, rent, fax machines, printers, and filing cabinets, decreasing the overhead expenses cutting into your revenues. Instead, virtual lawyers utilize purpose-built practice management software that are cloud developed and can run an operating law firm from anywhere and on any device. In addition, it’s more cost-effective this way.
And unlike an in-house solution, cloud solutions are far away from associated IT/ maintenance costs. In fact, traditional firms often get tangled down by all such legacy costs, creating hindrance in their ability to change. On the other hand, for virtual law firms, implementing a lean operation means that they can try several fee structures while giving the same top-notch legal support services.
Client communication: One might develop an assumption that virtual lawyers no longer meet clients directly in person and only furnish services via an online portal. While it is true that clients cannot be hosted in an office by virtual lawyers, they are backed by comprehensive technology to provide services more efficiently than traditional law firms. In fact, they benefit from more time to interact with clients for optimum service representation.
It can be utterly challenging for a lawyer in the traditional landscape to take out time to interact with clients except than via email and phone calls. However, virtual lawyers are more flexible during their working hours to communicate with their clients in more familiar settings, as per their schedules, where they can develop better relationships. This leads to even better client service.
Project management is comparatively a new concept in the legal industry. However, it is spreading like wildfire. Even for the law firms that still bill hourly, project management has become vital to ensure certainty and extra value that clients expect. Coming to larger firms or for more extensive litigation, it may not be possible to predict and charge a fixed fee accurately. Even in such a scenario, project management is a tool that combines cost containment and technology to provide a client-focused and frugal representation.
Bespoke Legal Services
Providing unique legal services from scratch is another option. This might include developing customized contracts or legal services for clients having special needs. Crafting such a type of niche practice might be the result of focused networking and marketing or simply fate, falling into a specialized area of practice. In any of the ways, it’s an option to under consideration when thinking about providing unique value to clients.
Another bespoke type of legal service provides customized client service supported by the kind of high-volume/high-touch made achievable by the successful implementation of technology. Hence, clients get face-to-face interaction with the lawyer, and lawyers balance these time-intensive interactions by minimizing redundant work. They leverage technology for process and document automation for this.
Top-notch customer experience
Employing virtual legal assistants or paralegals makes it seamless to provide a top-notch customer experience to your clients. They assist you in delivering all the promises to the clients and make sure that not a single client is forgotten, which mostly happens in many law firms because lawyers focus primarily on legal matters. In addition, they stay in touch with your firm’s clients by sending them emails on birthdays and other occasions and more. As a result, these virtual paralegals remain one step ahead of all the aspects of their professionalism, right from addressing your clients to administrating their work. This is why major legal firms consider handing over their back-office tasks to firms that provide virtual paralegal services.
The world out there is changing. However, despite some gloomy predictions, it isn’t the commencement of the end for legal associates. But lawyers must take a fresh look at the law practice and its changing methods of conduction to remain relevant.
Technology in the legal industry continues to develop at a rapid speed and to provide tools through which lawyers seeking to become flexible may reimagine and redesign their method of practice to be at par with the needs of their future clients.No tags for this post.