3 Red Flags: When “The Way I’ve Done It” Doesn’t Do It Anymore

May 6, 2014

Independent Thinking 2In a world where technology has permeated every aspect of our lives, it is no secret that small law firms can be behind the times in legal technology adoption. A fact that isn’t surprising, given the practice of law is predicated on billable hours, encouraging lawyers to shun technologies since they offer no tangible reward beyond efficiency.  Efficiencies, lawyers have come to view as stifling billable hours.

Clients in today’s world however are sophisticated and empowered, demanding more bang for their buck.  They are pushing for more value in legal services provided.  At the same time, advancements in technology mean that immense volumes of discoverable documents are generated per minute.  The necessity of reconciling these two trends have pushed the legal industry to a pivotal point with lawyers recognizing that the status quo is no longer good enough and will certainly not guarantee viability in coming years.

Here are some tips for spotting red flags within your business:

  • Lack of mobility and flexibility – If you are away from your office, are you still able to conduct most of your daily work tasks?  If you answered No, then you may want review your firm’s set up.  In this global era where business can be won and lost in an instant, having the flexibility to securely access important information from anywhere and through any device (smart phones, tablets, laptops etc.) is key.  And in a highly competitive market such inflexibility can negatively impact your firm’s bottom line.
  • Manually performing tasks that can easily be streamlined by technology – With lawyers of today having to weed through massive amounts of data, e-discovery has become a hot topic.  Numerous document review programs are creeping into the marketplace with features such as clustering, threading, predictive coding, which streamline the review process.  In today’s world such tools are becoming a necessity, causing U.S. Magistrate Judge James C. Francis of New York’s Southern District, to comment “…technological advances like e-discovery [is] so critical to the courtroom that…attorneys who are unaware of its nuances [are] essentially engaging in a slow career suicide’.
  • Social media – Have you embraced social media?  More and more firms are using social media such as LinkedIn and Facebook as a marketing medium from which they can gain greater visibility and attract more clients. These firms are seeing definite returns on their investment making social media one of the most effective ways to grow your business.  Having a website has also been shown to yield great returns on investment.