Legal technology, also known as legal tech, encompasses technology solutions that provide support and deliver services within the legal industry. Unlike traditional hardware such as computers, printers, and scanners, legal tech primarily focuses on software applications tailored specifically for the legal sector. The main objective of legal technology is to assist attorneys and law firms in practicing law more efficiently by leveraging specialised software systems.
A legal software system comprises a collection of programs or a single software platform that’s designed to assist law firms in efficiently managing their day-to-day operations. Unlike on-premises hardware solutions, these software systems enable legal professionals to enhance productivity, provide better client service, and maintain the all-important work-life balance. Examples of legal software systems include:
These software systems accelerate processes and contribute to the overall efficiency of law firms.
Legal technology brings significant benefits to all stakeholders involved in the legal system, including lawyers, judges, and clients. When integrated effectively, it supports a comprehensive legal operating system that enhances efficiency, accuracy, and accessibility. For lawyers, legal technology streamlines workflows, automates repetitive tasks, and facilitates seamless collaboration with clients and colleagues. Judges can use legal technology to manage caseloads more efficiently, access relevant legal resources, and make informed decisions based on comprehensive data analysis.
Case management software
This kind of system manages each aspect of your law firm. These systems provide a single, cloud-based source of truth where firms can store, access, and manage key client data.
Billing & tracking software
This software helps lawyers track their hours as effectively and accurately as possible to reach their targets.
Document management & Automation software
This allows law firms to automate document creation with the help of intelligent templates, saving precious time and resources for practices.
Online payment processing
Incorporating software for legal payment processing makes it easy to pay and get paid. And when it’s specifically for law firms, not a generic payment processor like Stripe or Square, it is compliant with trust accounting rules.
If this sounds like a lot to think about from separate systems, or concerned about how much this might cost. Rest assured, there are software providers, like us at Hoowla, that offer a one-stop-shop for software. Our platform, like others, can handle all these features, and more, without costing an arm and a leg. You can view our completely transparent pricing here.
We have no hidden costs, but if you decide to look elsewhere, make sure you ask about pricing ahead of time to avoid disappointment.
In essence, legal software systems have the ability to eliminate inefficiencies and alleviate stress within your law firm, regardless of its size. However, it is crucial to ensure that you select the appropriate technology that aligns with the specific needs and dynamics of your office.
Over the years, technology has gradually replaced outdated processes, but it was the unprecedented events of the 2020 pandemic that truly expedited the digital transformation of the legal profession. Even now, almost three years later, technology continues to reshape the way lawyers operate. By facilitating access to firm information, enabling seamless communication with clients, and enhancing a firm’s ability to meet client demands regardless of location, technology has brought about significant changes in the legal profession.
Client intake & Remote meetings
Law firms that are prompt in their responses to potential clients and provide relevant and comprehensive information are more likely to attract new business and make a favourable impression.
Technology plays a crucial role in helping firms effectively manage and prioritise client communications. Specialized legal software systems can address immediate client needs, demonstrating responsiveness and creating a distinct competitive advantage for your firm.
For instance, communication features within legal software enable firms to centralize email and text messaging, facilitating efficient tracking of incoming messages and enabling quick responses. Additionally, scheduling functionalities offered by legal software enable clients to book consultations instantly, eliminating the need for prolonged email exchanges.
In the past, virtual meetings between legal professionals and clients were infrequent occurrences. However, with the widespread adoption of social distancing measures, lawyers engaging with clients through video conferencing gained prominence. It’s fair to say that clients expect a completely flexible service and review negatively on face-to-face meetings that take them away from their often-full routine juggling work, families and housekeeping. Adopting legal technology opens this up for you and your firm.
e-Signing documents & Online payments
Having e-signable documents offers significant benefits for law firms. First and foremost, it greatly expedites the signing process, eliminating the need for physical paperwork, printing, scanning, and mailing. This not only saves valuable time but also reduces administrative costs. Additionally, e-signatures provide enhanced convenience and accessibility, allowing clients to sign documents from anywhere, at any time, without the constraints of physical proximity. Moreover, e-signature technology ensures the security and integrity of documents through encryption and audit trails, ensuring a higher level of compliance and reducing the risk of document tampering.
The shift to remote meetings was not the sole preference that changed during the pandemic. Clients now have heightened expectations regarding the use of technology when collaborating with lawyers. In 2022, 40% of consumers stated that they would never engage a lawyer who does not accept debit or credit cards as a payment method.
A legal technology professional, mostly known as a technology consultant, is an individual who facilitates the use of technology to deliver legal services within firms. While they may not necessarily possess a legal background, they have the expertise to identify areas of improvement and apply technology solutions accordingly.
A tech consultant can assist in various aspects, including:
In larger firms, legal technology professionals can form part of the IT team responsible for managing the hardware and software used by firms. Employing someone exclusively for IT in a smaller firm might not make financial sense; it’s important to decide what’s suitable for you and your firm.
Legal technology solutions come in various forms and cater to the diverse needs of law firms and their specific practice areas. What may be effective for one legal professional may not necessarily work for another. However, it is highly likely that if a particular tool is not suitable for your requirements, there are alternative solutions available that can better serve your firm’s needs.
The realm of legal software systems is experiencing rapid growth, and this is well-founded. While technology adoption in the legal industry has made significant progress in recent years, there is still room for further advancements.
Legal professionals should embrace the utilisation of technology in their processes and legal practice to reap benefits for themselves, their staff, and their clients. By embracing the right technology solutions, legal professionals can enhance efficiency, streamline operations, and deliver improved outcomes for all stakeholders involved.