In recent years, the legal industry has been shifting towards new technology. With far-reaching benefits, solo law firms using tech solutions earned over $52,000 more in revenue than solo firms that didn’t. Many factors contribute to that number, but one of the biggest is the difference in time utilization. On average, only 2.48 hours is spent doing billable work in an 8-hour workday. While some of that is baked into the cost, time is often wasted on tasks that could be done more efficiently or automated.
Not only can IT services help with utilization gaps, but clients are also becoming more receptive to the changes. 50% of consumers prefer video conferences for follow-ups, making it save time for everyone involved. As that trend continues, modern infrastructure has directly led to improved productivity and higher client satisfaction. Due to those advantages, legal IT services have become a core part of the day-to-day operation of law firms.
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What Are Legal IT Services?
Legal IT services include an assortment of different types of technology solutions catered to help law firms. Many are productivity-focused, while others aim to improve the client experience. There’s an emphasis on productivity and cybersecurity, both of which factor into most routine functions. The services can include automation tools, remote cloud access, analytics software, secure data backups, and more.
What Kind of IT Challenges Do Law Firms Have?
Outdated or undeveloped IT infrastructure is one of the most common challenges. Many tasks can be automated or streamlined, but some practitioners still use slower methods. The time it takes to do those tasks is usually better spent with clients and focusing on higher-level functions.
Data storage and cybersecurity are also vital to handling recordkeeping, case files, and other data. However, implementing and maintaining secure data solutions can be difficult. That’s because not only does it need to be safe, but it also must be easy to use and access from multiple devices. Finding that balance requires specialized help, which IT service providers can offer.
In contrast, not all challenges are obvious, either. Around 57% of businesses see daily or weekly phishing attempts. That shows the need for keeping staff alert and educated about changing cyber threats. While some phishing attacks are easy to spot, others are more convincing and complex. Personal information can be available in public databases, leading to false identifications and misplaced trust.
What Types of Services Can Help?
Law firms handle a substantial amount of high-value client data, which can range across many areas of legal focus. That makes it a top priority for a confidential, reliable, and secure IT infrastructure. IT services can support any legal office’s needs with a number of strategies and software solutions.
Automation: One of the highest growth areas in IT has been automation. 50% of corporate transaction legal work is expected to be automated by 2024. Many other routines and tasks can also be automated, saving time and resources.
IT consulting: Whether using an aging IT infrastructure or the workflow is cumbersome, there’s often room for improvement. An IT consultant can provide an assessment that covers what’s working, what isn’t, and which high-impact areas would benefit the most from changes.
Cloud storage: With a wide range of technology used to fill different needs in the office and on the go, it’s important to have easy access to information. Firms can use cloud storage to keep staff connected regardless of what’s being used and where they’re located.
Data backups: Disasters are unpredictable, but they can be prepared for. With backup data solutions, IT experts can set multiple strategies to mitigate any disaster’s damage. That can minimize downtime and prevent damage to both a firm’s reputation and its profits.
IT compliance: Lawyers are more familiar with the consequences of not following the law than any other industry. Having a compliant IT infrastructure keeps practitioners protected and clients safe, leading to better service and peace of mind.
Cybersecurity: With 41% of data breaches involving personal data, law firms are especially vulnerable to cyber threats. A proactive cybersecurity strategy can help protect valuable client information through analytics-driven threat monitoring and software solutions.
Awareness Training: Phishing attempts can come in all shapes and sizes. The best way to counter that is through educating staff with awareness training. Practicing good security habits and knowing what to look for reduces the chance of an unexpected breach.
Hardware upgrades: Having up-to-date hardware and devices gives a safer and more reliable environment. Legal IT providers can support the hardware acquisition process by finding the best technology prices that fit current and future needs.
Software solutions: Inefficiency can cost both time and money, leading to more work with fewer results. Software solutions can improve workflow and help staff be more productive.
Helpdesk support: IT issues can come in all shapes and sizes. Even a well-built infrastructure may run into unexpected hiccups as technology can quickly change. With helpdesk support, a single contact line can offer remote assistance or send an in-person agent to troubleshoot any problem.
When Should a Business Get Legal IT Services?
Technology is needed to stay competitive and keep an edge over competitors. There are several factors to watch for that can help a law firm decide whether they need IT support or not. When in doubt, an IT consultant can also help assess current IT infrastructure and find areas lacking.
Slow Software and Applications: Unresponsive software and applications can bring work to a halt. Causes can range from a bottlenecked network to a computer virus, but narrowing it down and solving it can be complicated. While many firms may tolerate those issues, it can lead to a drop in productivity and revenue. IT providers specialize in troubleshooting issues like that. They can often pay for themselves by maintaining a smooth-running tech environment.
Inefficient Workflow: There are a lot of steps and information involved when taking on a new client and maintaining their case file. That can include lead generation, consultations, information gathering, document drafting, payment processing, and more. If staff waste too much time with stopgaps and slow processes, an IT team can develop a custom solution to fix that.
Careless Cybersecurity: Cyber threats are an ongoing concern. In 2021, Colonial Pipeline’s private network was breached with just a single compromised password, allowing hackers to access their systems remotely. Whether a coworker is keeping their passwords on a sticky note, clicking suspicious links in emails, or accessing case files on an insecure network, poor workplace habits are one sign that legal IT services can help.
Infrastructure Overhauls: Regardless of rescaling or wanting to invest in legal tech upgrades, business owners shouldn’t take overhauls lightly. Rather than relying on in-house knowledge, an outsourced IT service team will already have experience. That expertise can help cut downtime, improve support quality, and create a higher return on investment.
Law firms face many ongoing challenges. IT problems can worsen hard situations, whether it’s a complex case, uncollected payments, or a disagreeable client. However, those challenges don’t have to be faced alone. Legal IT services can support and bolster a law firm’s capabilities through technology usage. There are many types of solutions that can be adapted for individualized needs or obstacles.
With both workflow and data being increasingly digitized to meet growing needs, cybersecurity has also increased in importance. While IT solutions are vital to a secure work environment, phishing attempts will target people directly. That makes faculty education important too. Whether needing workflow changes or threat monitoring, legal IT companies like ITonDemand can support law firms at all levels, helping them keep an edge over their competitors.