How Law Firms Can Leverage Technology Investments to Adapt and Thrive During the Global Pandemic
Less than a year ago, many law firms were on the fence about adopting modern technologies to support the connected firm. Firm leaders cited security and compliance concerns along with client contractual obligations as reasons to stick with the status quo. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic landed without warning, firms had no choice but to flip the switch to implement the essential technologies required to support a remote workforce virtually overnight.
Fast-forward to just a few months later: Firms are not only embracing cutting-edge cloud-based solutions with enhanced AI capabilities, but also realizing the business benefits of their technology investments: better security safeguards, firmwide access to mission-critical data, centralized tracking for key operational functions, and continuous knowledge capture and improvement using AI.
In fact, survey results presented at ILTACON in August 2020 indicate that 21% of firms are already mostly in the cloud, with another 35% considering the cloud for every upgrade, and an additional 32% considering cloud-based solutions generally. With 88% of survey respondents reporting that their firms have seen the light on the advantages of the cloud, it’s important to learn how your firm can benefit from law firm technology investments suited to a fully remote or hybrid workforce.
Implement Stronger Security Protocols in the Cloud
Within the legal industry, firms have historically avoided introducing unnecessary data-security and compliance exposure related to the implementation of new technologies — especially moving to the cloud. Today, the pandemic brought home the fact that it’s impossible to properly support a globally dispersed remote workforce without cloud-based law firm technology solutions. On top of this, firms that have moved to cloud deployment are now enjoying the benefits of an OpEx subscription model, cost efficiencies created by cloud elasticity, rapid scalability, and safer information sharing.
The truth is that data is more secure in the cloud than it is on-premises, because cloud service providers continuously make investments to improve data protection — including role-based authentication — which are immediately reflected in cloud-based applications. In contrast, on-premises solutions rely on cyclical updates — which can take years to implement — so firms frequently miss out on the latest data-security features.
Provide Firmwide Access to a Single Source of Truth
Although staffers may be accustomed to orchestrating work-arounds for on-premises point solutions and data silos, it’s impossible for a fully remote or hybrid workforce to function effectively when team members can’t access the information they need from their home offices. While the pandemic creates challenges around working across teams, workflow automation not only improves visibility and communication between parties but also keeps tasks organized so staff can provide clients and employees with real-time information.
To meet the needs of the moment, firms are investing in cloud-based law firm technology solutions that provide a single source of truth — all data is contained in a centralized repository that’s accessible firmwide, not trapped in point solutions and their data silos. A centralized data repository is especially important for firms with a globally dispersed workforce, where staff routinely hand off work across time zones to achieve the around-the-clock coverage required to preserve business agility and timely responses.
Achieve Better Visibility into the Pipeline
The uncertainties around the pandemic have thrust firms and their clients into crisis mode, where cash-on-hand is king. Across the board, clients are taking longer to pay, and requesting alternative fee structures to reduce the cost of services. These factors not only create a surge of administrative work required to renegotiate and track new contracts, but also cause unpredictable cash flow fluctuations.
As a result, firms are prioritizing solutions for real-time forecasting, pricing, utilization, and payment terms. Now, more than ever before, firms must keep a vigilant eye on receivables, manage the pipeline, track actual revenue streams against plan, and profile clients to deepen relationships and keep communication lines open.
Socialize Technology Benefits to Drive Adoption
The work-from-home mandate has upended a wide host of preconceived ideas about law firm technology; even the most fervent technophobes are now embracing the innovative technologies that make their jobs easier. In fact, many firms have witnessed employees — even fee earners — taking it upon themselves to uplevel their technology skills.
Our clients tell us that the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the value perception of best-in-class technology from the top down, largely because folks — across the board — can’t avoid it if they want to do their jobs well. Intapp is invested in your firm’s success with the tools and solutions required to meet the moment of unprecedented disruption — and opportunity. To learn more about how Intapp can help you and your firm address the challenges that lie ahead, contact our sector-specialist team at Intapp Strategic Consulting.
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