Lawyers are tech averse, period. What is considered the ‘new normal’ by lawyers has been the reality for most professional services’ firms for decades. Lawyers wanting to be successful in the future need to apply the business practices of their peers and drive innovation within their industry.
According to a recent survey lawyers are increasingly engaged with the Internet of Things (IoT) with 2017 seeing an increased adoption rate of new tech tools and trends. As a result, client expectations will increase.So what’s a lawyer to do? What exactly are the tech trends and the ‘must have’ tech to have in the modern law office in 2017?
- Look smart. Law libraries aren’t going away, the stack of papers on the reception desk are still with us and we still have that desk that looks like a crime scene. These will remain a staple of most law offices and for a long time to come. However the fact that technology is rapidly changing so as to make your life more manageable and your office more profitable means you do need to get with the program.
- Have an email account that represents what you do; leave the – firstname.lastname@example.org for family.
- Whip up a website that is functional, interactive, fast-loading and mobile-friendly. For those starting up do not aim for perfection. Sheriaapp started off as a free blog, it is just recently that I upgraded to the pro model enabling me to engage with over 600 followers on a weekly basis.
- The Paperless Office: The increasing use of mobile devices means more people are seeking to use paperless transactions in real time. For example Kenyan owned law practice management company Sheriasoft is increasingly selling into the ‘paperless space’, with large companies moving quickly into it too. Companies want to reduce the paper cost. Consumers are joining the fray as well – preferring to sign electronically rather than tackling a bundle of paper documents. It will affect every aspect of how business is transacted. For example Tesla’s e-car and the leasing transactions that occur with it. The entire leasing transaction is handled via a “tap and sign” app on the car’s dashboard.
- Artificial intelligence
AI’s growth is becoming exponential and lawyers will increasingly embrace the concept of the ‘robotic lawyer’. However it is increasingly also reaching the echelons of the smaller law firms, not simply Big Law and AI is something any tech-respecting lawyer needs to think about carefully in 2017. There are a growing number of AI-related law tools like PenaltyAI Search (compliance clauses in legislation) and JuriBot (litigation analysis)
The techie check-list
Be efficient for yourself to be smart smart for your clients. Check things like client data privacy and management, document storage and cyber security.
Keep abreast with the latest tech trends by reading or attending law tech events and speak with those who may be more tech knowledgeable than you.
A techie lawyer need not understand all the permutations of technology – it does however mean that you can help move your firm – no matter what its size – into the 21st century with confidence that it is the right investment. At the end of the day, properly used technology can make a tech-savvy lawyer a profit-savvy one too.