When Thanksgiving arrives next week, people across the U.S. will list the things they’re grateful for in their lives. Because legal technology may not top most people’s “reasons to be thankful” lists, we wanted to make sure it’s given its due.
For lawyers, legal tech represents the cutting edge of the industry. If you want to know what the law firms of the future will look like, legal tech blogs and websites will tell you all about it. If you want to learn how to modernize your firm to stay ahead of your competition, legal tech has the answers.
There are a lot of reasons to be thankful for legal technology. Here are our top five.
Reason #1: Legal tech is making law firms more efficient than ever.
If increased efficiency isn’t something to be thankful for, we don’t know what is. For the vast majority of lawyers who are paid by the hour, time literally is money. So the more time you have to dedicate to legal work, the more money you’ll make.
The 2018 Legal Trends Report revealed just how much lawyers are failing to optimize their number of billable hours per week. The report concluded that most lawyers only bill an average of 2.4 hours per 8-hour day—in other words, lawyers are spending 5.6 hours per day on non-billable work.
(Read our 7 Key Takeaways from the 2018 Clio Legal Trends Report here.)
Legal tech has arguably the most powerful tools available for lawyers to eliminate time-consuming tasks, automate tedious processes and free up more time to devote to billable work.
By utilizing software to make your firm more efficient, you can make life easier for yourself, your staff and your clients. And you can make more money.
Reason #2: Legal tech is helping law firms satisfy the needs and expectations of the modern consumer.
One of the key themes we continue to stress with lawyers is that the old ways of dealing with customers simply don’t cut it anymore.
In virtually every industry on the planet, new technology is bringing customers better experiences than they’ve ever had before—and customers are demanding a higher level of service as a result.
In legal, this trend has materialized slowly but steadily over the past 10 years or so. Soon, we will reach a tipping point. Once that happens, any firms that aren’t tech-ready will be left behind.
For firms that are smart enough to get out in front of this shift, becoming more client-centered is the name of the game.
The more client-centered your firm is, the more referrals you’ll generate, and the better reviews you’ll receive. In a world where people turn to Yelp and social media to shop for just about everything, the ways in which your clients perceive and speak about your firm are critical.
By delivering features and software such as e-signature for forms and documents, automated client intake, virtual receptionist services and more, legal tech makes becoming more client-centered easy.
If you implement legal technology in your firm, your clients will notice a difference. You’ll be taking a process that is painful and burdensome for most people, and you’ll be making it easy.
They’ll be thankful for it. And that’s good for business.
Reason #3: Legal tech is empowering law firms to grow, faster and smarter.
When it comes to increasing law firm revenue, their are two main areas where firms can improve just by making an effort. The first way, as we’ve discussed, is to increase billable hours by becoming more efficient.
The other way to increase revenue is to grow your firm’s client base.
Shockingly, only 34% of attorneys surveyed for the Legal Trends Report said they thought growing their client bases was important—even though 84% said they wanted to increase revenue!
The logic behind growing your client base isn’t hard to grasp; the more clients you have, the more money you can make. So why aren’t more lawyers prioritizing growth?
Maybe they don’t have enough time to handle more clients.
Because legal tech can help you free up more time, it can also help you serve more clients. And it can help you recruit more clients as well.
In addition to becoming more client-centered (which will increase your client base through referrals and reviews), legal tech also helps you attract and retain new leads.
With CRM and client intake software—such as Lexicata and the recently-announced Clio Grow— you can manage your contacts, send automated emails, track and analyze your progress and make client intake a seamless, lead-converting process.
That’s something to be thankful for.
(To see how CRM and client intake software made a difference for one IP lawyer’s firm, check out our case study.)
Reason #4: Legal tech is changing the way lawyers think about their practices.
Another thing we stress often is that lawyers can no longer afford to focus only on the legal aspects of their jobs. Law firms aren’t just law firms anymore—they’re businesses. And lawyers need to think of them that way.
Largely thanks to legal tech, lawyers are slowly but surely beginning to understand this. The legal landscape is hyper-competitive, and smart lawyers are learning to specialize.
Niche practices are becoming more prevalent, and so are firms which utilize subscription services and flat-fee billing instead of hourly rates. In the years to come, these trends are likely to increase.
What’s steering these shifts? Legal tech, of course.
The insights and resources that legal tech provides are empowering lawyers to do things differently—and better—than they’ve previously been able to do.
(Read more: 3 Ways Technology Will Make You a Better Lawyer.)
Reason #5: Legal tech is revolutionizing the legal industry as a whole.
For decades, the legal industry as a whole has barely innovated, or cared about doing things differently.
For decades, that approach wasn’t problematic—but now it is. And legal tech is paving the way forward.
By providing new data, software and insight, legal tech is helping law firms make major strides in improving the way their practices work.
In many regards, there’s never been a more exciting time to be a lawyer, nor has there been a greater opportunity to implement new technologies and position your firm for sustainable success.
As the legal tech industry grows, it will continue to push the overall business of law in a positive, modern direction.
Legal tech is the future. And we should all be thankful for that.