It is clear that law firms are reaching a tipping point: either embrace technological innovation or face reputational damage. Managing case evidence and documentation is a critical task for law firms. It is now widely acknowledged that implementing legal technology offers significant efficiency and financial gains.
Yet, there are also significant environmental, social and governance benefits from the smarter management of evidence that are all too often overlooked. With the need to stay competitive and retain personnel—and in the current environment, support remote working and collaboration—now is the time to combine the right technology with legal expertise to deliver more for your clients.
Are you perpetuating wasteful processes?
Using an environmentally conscious law firm is increasingly important to clients. The legal sector has traditionally used paper heavy processes to share case documentation. The status quo requires the scanning, printing, duplication, storage, transportation to various parties and secure disposal of paper-based case documentation.
This wasteful, unsustainable practice has a significant impact on your firm’s carbon emissions. Electronic evidence management systems now enable case evidence to be securely stored in the cloud and then shared with relevant parties when needed. With each participant accessing the same case evidence in a central repository from their own device there is no longer a need for paper to be duplicated and transported multiple times.
Yet it is not simply paper that is currently duplicated and transported. The digital sharing of multimedia evidence eliminates the need for physical copies of evidence to be burned onto DVDs and couriered to relevant parties. Likewise, the environmental cost of transporting evidence applies to personnel too. Conferencing technology now facilitates virtual meetings and hearings to take place, eliminating unnecessary travel to collaborate. This speeds up case management processes and ensures that court time is used effectively. Firms must now take action to ensure sustainable practices are a minimum expectation.
Are you making things more difficult for your team?
Electronic sharing is not simply an environmentally friendly practice. Are you currently supporting internal and external collaboration for people working on the same case in geographically dispersed locations? Likewise, are you facilitating flexible working practices and remote working?
Collaborative tools enable instant notifications of case updates and ensures a consistent version of case evidence. Using cloud software solutions allows these updates to be viewed anywhere, at any time. Freeing staff from the shackles of paper supports the adoption of flexible working practices that increase employee satisfaction, supporting talent retention. Collaboration incentivizes internal knowledge sharing and best practice producing a connected culture that delivers more for your clients.
Administrating paper processes requires significant personnel resources. The adoption of electronic documents enables employees to easily search cases for relevant information and tools that use enhanced searching allow you to search handwritten text. In addition, evidence management software can automatically maintain case indexes and page numbering—even with late arriving documentation. Switching to electronic evidence sharing lets you redirect professional expertise to high value work. You can now deliver more with the same resources while developing your staff expertise. People power innovation. By engaging staff with the right tools you can continue to combine digital collaboration tools with your expertise to better serve your clients.
Are your current processes delivering?
Technology also allows firms to strengthen their governance by standardizing processes and procedures. Utilizing legal document automation improves consistency when producing complex legal documents while reducing risk and human error. By cutting the review time and increasing accuracy, documents can then be shared with clients at an earlier stage. This can improve client trust, output and help to redirect professional expertise to where it is needed.
Do your current evidence sharing practices meet data privacy standards? Sharing highly confidential information both internally and externally is complex and often involves managing multiple stakeholders with differing access levels. Adopting the right tools can facilitate effective, secure collaboration that meets the needs of all users. A case management system can track case timescales and evidence management tools can provide a full audit trail of all user actions. With the right tools, firms stay in control of who has access to which documentation and for set periods of time. Automated redaction tools make it possible to search and then redact key terms, reducing mistakes and speeding up critical case work.
These innovative technologies therefore have the ability to ensure transparent, consistent and high quality governance that in turn enable firms to implement innovative client facing services that upkeep trust for both prospective and existing clients.
Be a Challenger
Blending legal expertise with innovation must become central to the strategic direction of law firms. Firms that do not seek to adopt sustainable, client-centric practices or the right tools for their staff will fail to stay competitive. This is a critical junction for innovators to prove what can be delivered for clients and staff by using the right tools to securely share and collaborate case evidence digitally.