‘The Edge of 2017: Research and Efficiency Tips for the New Year’

February 1, 2017

Legal TechnologyEditor’s note: Jared Correia is a paid guest blogger.

Although the practice of law has changed a great deal in the past decade alone, it is still true that the majority of lawyers bill by the hour. Even those who utilize alternative fee arrangements, however, remain constrained by time. Time spent remains a function of the value proposition – and the value-billing lawyer must still finish one project before starting another. At the same time, savvy clients have the ability to discover more information about legal options online than they ever have before; so, they can be picky about the lawyer they choose, and can also demand competitive pricing structures. The data backs this up. According to Thomson Reuters’ 2016 State of U.S. Small Law Firms Study, 62% of respondents indicated that rate pressure from clients form one of the top three challenges their law firms faced.

While time remains a fixed commodity (lawyers cannot operate under a longer-than-24-hour day), attorneys can increase their efficiency. An increase in efficiency represents clear time savings. If you can save on technical efficiencies (like adding a second monitor, so you open and close fewer windows), your value proposition (read: your pricing) remains intact. Increasing efficiency is the best way to respond to time and pricing pressure.

The clearest path to adding efficiencies is by taking advantage of available technology – and, lawyers know it: 54% of respondents to the 2016 State of U.S. Small Law Firms Study indicated that lack of internal efficiency was a challenge for their law firms. Law firms continue to operate online, and in the cloud, in ever-increasing numbers – for obvious reasons: the mobility and flexibility granted by such access is essential to the modern practice of law. Slimmer hardware and more intuitive software mean that lawyers can work where and how they need to, without waiting to hunker back down at a desk

Give yourself the benefit of working efficiently – and from anywhere.

In 2017, step up your game with these features found only on Westlaw:

Research Recommendations. A Westlaw feature that automatically recommends additional relevant cases, Key numbers, and statutes as you conduct your legal research.  It’s like having another set of eyes on your research.

Asked and Answered. Westlaw Answers aggregates answers to common legal questions. If you think you have a basic issue, enter it into the search bar and Westlaw Answers will return the issue in the form of a question. Click on the question, and you will see its answer and citation.

Going Mobile. Take advantage of downtime without losing time by using Westlaw on the go, via the Westlaw app for your iPhone or tablet.

Snapshots. Quickly access information on attorneys, judges, experts, companies, and select popular statutes.

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