3 competitive advantages law firms gain from collaboration technology

A female office worker sits at her desk with her laptop and papers while cheerfully talking with a male coworker

Law firm profits are falling; clients are dropping law firms due to inadequate client service; and associates are leaving law firms in droves. But what if implementing one change could help address each of these problems?

Your law firm can do exactly that by achieving smart collaboration.

“We can demonstrate across dozens and dozens of law firms of every shape imaginable … that, when they engage in smart collaboration, they generate higher revenues and profits; they generate stronger, stickier client relationships; and they attract and retain better talent,” explained Dr. Heidi Gardner, Distinguished Fellow at Harvard Law School and author of the books Smart Collaboration and Smarter Collaboration, during an August 2022 legal industry podcast episode.

To foster smart collaboration and achieve these advantages, law firms need to implement the right collaboration technology such as Intapp Collaboration and Content. Discover how cloud-based collaboration tools can help your legal firm increase profitability and retain more clients and lawyers.

1. Earn higher revenue

To make more money from each client, you need more practices working together to serve that client. According to Gardner, law firm revenues are 5.7 times higher for clients served by three practice groups than by a single one; and clients served by five practice groups generate fees 17.6 times higher than those served by just one.

To ensure multiple practice groups can seamlessly work on your clients’ complex problems, you’ll need to invest in an efficient collaboration system that lets these groups easily share information and interact across different locations. Without the right technology, your lawyers might struggle to collaborate effectively on multi-faceted matters in a timely manner.

Consider, for example, a broadband wireless client that needs your firm’s assistance on expanding its territory. Such a matter might require the involvement of lawyers from five or more practice groups, including regulatory, real estate, mergers and acquisitions, antitrust, and telecommunications.

But if these teams can’t easily communicate with one another, it could lead to confusion and errors. For example, the acquisitions team might unknowingly be pursuing deals that the antitrust lawyers know will raise antitrust concerns.

Only a platform that’s designed for the specific needs of legal collaboration can help your teams effectively handle complex matters like this. With the proper collaboration technology, practice groups can coordinate efforts, share information, and operate with a 360-degree view of the entire matter so that each person knows what everyone else is working on. Your teams will be able to effectively handle the complexities of your matters — and earn your firm the higher rates that these complex projects demand.

2. Increase client loyalty

Just as cross-practice collaboration increases revenue, it also makes your law firm harder to replace. As one general counsel of a Fortune 100 company explained in a Legal Business World article, “Most individual lawyers are actually quite replaceable … I could find a decent tax lawyer in most firms. But when that lawyer teamed up with colleagues from IP, regulatory, and ultimately litigation, I couldn’t find a whole-team substitute in another firm.”

Collaboration technology can help you promote cross-practice teamwork, increase efficiency, and work more effectively — making your firm an irreplaceable and invaluable resource to your clients. To provide even more value and support, invest in a collaboration platform that allows direct communication between you and your clients. When clients can directly and securely communicate, collaborate, and share files with your teams, they will view your firm as accessible and responsive, and will be more likely to do further business with you.

3. Retain lawyers

As with other professionals, many lawyers want to regularly work from home. According to a 2022 report, 86% of lawyers want to work from home at least one day a week, and 60% of associates said they would leave their firms for one that offers better work-life balance.

Law firms that accommodate these post-pandemic work expectations will be able to retain their talent. And making hybrid and remote work possible requires having a cloud-based collaboration platform set up to replace the in-office interactive experience. That’s why 68% of law firms in 2022 have already implemented Microsoft Teams, according to the International Legal Technology Association’s (ILTA’s) 2022 Technology Survey.

Online collaboration tools also improve lawyers’ work experience by making workflows and information-sharing more efficient. A 2020 survey found that 64% of in-house legal employees say that legal tech improves their workflows and workplace experience, which boosts their morale and likelihood of staying at their firms. Additionally, modern collaboration technology appeals to younger generations of lawyers, who are digital natives accustomed to interacting with peers in online platforms.

To enable the best possible collaboration experience for law firms, Intapp Workspaces optimizes Microsoft Teams for the specific use case of legal work. The software enhances governance, increases security, and gathers information across multiple systems into a unified “single pane of glass” view for lawyers and support staff.

If your law firm is interested in exploring how a customized technology solution can help improve internal and external collaboration, request a personalized demo of Intapp Workspaces and/or our other collaboration solutions.

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