It’s often said the legal profession has been slow to embrace digital transformation—and especially law firms. But this isn’t entirely accurate. Lawyers have been making use of digitized legal research tools such as Lexis/Nexis and WestLaw since as far back as the 1970s. These days, many law firms have fully done away with their law libraries—relying instead on electronic research. But the digitization of legal research is far from all digital transformation can do to enhance the practice of law. Here’s just a smattering of functions and processes ripe for digital transformation…if your firm is ready to embrace the efficiencies offered:
Lawyers have been maintaining correspondence files from time immemorial. These chronological archives of every communication to cross a lawyer’s desk are a wellspring of information for the lawyer on clients, cases, and subject matter. At least theoretically. In practice, paper correspondence files are bulky, unwieldly, and essentially unsearchable. But these days, the availability of innovative records management solutions can turn your correspondence files into a secure and searchable database. When cloud enabled, the data becomes available anywhere you have internet access, rather than just in “that file cabinet” outside your office.
Traditionally, document production, whether in the context of discovery or due diligence, has been labor intensive, space-sucking, and prone to human error. These days, however, there are e-discovery solutions that can streamline document production. Documents are scanned and processed through automated systems utilizing optical character recognition and other forms of artificial intelligence to turn endless piles of paper into easily searchable sources of evidence and deal back-up.
Law firms were once dependent on a staff of clerks to keep track of cases, motions, appeals, and the like. Nowadays, litigation intelligence support solutions can digitally organize and centralize case tracking, legal claims processing, class action coordination, collection and disbursement of settlement funds, and conveying timely notifications to claimants.
It’s not just legal industry-specific processes that can be automated to your firm’s advantage. For example digital visitor and lobby management solutions, which include digital kiosks, virtual lobby ambassadors, and smart lockers, make use of integrated technologies to streamline, simplify, and enhance the visitor experience and present your law firm’s brand in the best light possible.
Marketing and reputation management solutions can revolutionize the way you court clients. For example, hyper-targeted marketing solutions can aim your communications at the right audience, and data analytics tools can help you find that right audience.
Billing and other back-office functions
Like any business, law firms can benefit from automating back office functions. For example, billing and presentment solutions mean you can spend more time actually doing billable work for your clients, and less time managing collections. Your mailroom can be digitized from end-to-end (which, in turn, supports your data management as a whole). And human resources and capital management solutions can streamline how you attract, acquire, onboard, and develop top talent.
But as we said, these are just a smattering of the possibilities. Here’s more on Exela’s legal industry-specific solutions. And here’s more on Exela’s multi-industry solutions.