28/11/2016 by Katherine Memery
Solicitors today not only need to have a solid grasp of legal knowledge, skill and preparation, they must also have a certain degree of technological competence. Without an understanding of technology, lawyers are unlikely to be able to represent the modern, tech-savvy client as efficiently as their more proficient colleagues.
In recent years, technology has transformed the way lawyers work. Tools such as video calling, cloud computing and mobile devices have helped practices across the world to save time and increase revenue. They’ve also enabled more flexible working patterns leading to higher staff retention rates and a more productive workforce.
The majority of newly qualified or trainee solicitors are members of the millennial generation, a group of digital natives who are never without their smartphone. It could be argued that the innate technological knowledge of these lawyers, puts them at an advantage compared with their older colleagues.
While it might be true that younger lawyers are naturally more adept at using technology, there are a number of ways all lawyers can use these everyday tools to make complicated and repetitive tasks, such as legal research or the digitisation of documents, more accurate and less time-consuming.
In today’s legal profession, being mobile is more important than ever before. With a rise in flexible working, remote-access software like TeamViewer or Log Me In has grown in popularity. By bringing your computer screen to your smartphone or another device, it enables solicitors to work from home or on the go, minimising downtime and keeping their billable hours up!
Practice management software
It’s unusual nowadays for firms to be without some kind of cloud-based practice managing platform. The software gives lawyers instant access to all important case files on any device, so they can be viewed on the move. It also efficiently captures time and expenses, and keeps track of calendars and tasks, boosting productivity and, therefore, revenue.
Online storage vault Dropbox also allows lawyers to access their documents from anywhere on multiple devices. Because files are synced between your computer and devices via the cloud, any changes made to documents are reflected on all platforms. Dropbox can also be used to efficiently and securely share documents with both colleagues and other parties and is also helpful when sending very large files (such as video or audio footage).
For taking notes in meetings, calls or case conferences, Soundnote goes one step further than other dictation tools. It tracks what you type and draw, while recording what you were listening to at the same time.
Nowadays, social media can be an invaluable source of information for lawyers, particularly for young lawyers who have grown up using platforms like Twitter or Snapchat. A third party’s Instagram or Facebook account is often easy to find and photos or location posts can be used as a key source of evidence. Along with sites like SimilarWeb, social media can also be used for trend analysis, which is useful for not only gauging and tracking popular opinion but also for keeping an eye on competitors.
To keep up with the competition, it’s critical that firms adapt to the modern workplace. From introducing remote working or taking advantage of innovative dictation software, leveraging technology can help practices of all sizes to reduce administrative costs, streamline their business and deliver superior service to clients.
While there isn’t an app that can help you become a better lawyer (yet), utilising technology can help you work more productively and enable you to meet the needs of your clients as effectively and efficiently as possible.
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