Technology offerings for the legal professional
In part one of this blog, I discussed the positive contributions that technology has made to the legal industry.
This second part of my blog will elaborate on technology offerings that can further aid the legal professional.
1 – Storage of files
All too often, legal professionals are confronted with scenario’s where previous clients have misplaced or lost court orders due to relocating and then have to go to great pains to locate these long-closed files, whilst secretly hoping that these files have not been destroyed since the mandatory file retention period may have expired.
Now, with the functions of cloud-based technology such as Azure, both old and new case files can now not only be securely accessed but also stored safely.
This technology will therefore assist legal practitioners to go above and beyond in complying with the mandatory retention period of client files. In addition, it will also help prevent data breaches occasioned by ransomware attacks and furthermore, help ensure compliance with data protection laws such as POPIA.
2 – Drafting of documents
The drafting of legal pleadings and documents is one of the first and foremost aspects that legal professionals attend to on a daily basis. But with the newest technology offerings, this does not need to be a protracted task.
Legal professionals are able to effectively utilize the functionality of user-friendly software such as the tools on Windows to compile an index of a voluminous document within minutes.
Thanks to offerings such as SharePoint, these documents can be reviewed and edited by multiple parties at any given time and safely stored in an electronic format in a cloud-based platform.
3 – Managing cases electronically to aid collaboration
Legal professionals can now use databases to track and search for information such as legal precedents or simply keep track of their existing cases.
Managing cases electronically will help to keep a record of the pending caseload, help to enable the remote access of data at home if so needed and ensure more efficient internal and external collaboration with the various role players on a case.
As an example, legal professionals can utilize tools such as SharePoint, OneNote, and Microsoft Teams to reduce the barrier of having to schedule appointments to sit alongside counsel to draft pleadings, prepare arguments and discuss the main elements of the case.
The functionality of Power BI can also be used very effectively by firms in establishing metrics that can assist legal professionals to manage their existing caseload by showing matters in the context of time and revenue and how the team can be more profitable in terms of targets.
Firms that are more remotely based geographically speaking, are also now able to extend their services to serve more clients than before. This in turn, makes the legal sector even more accessible to its clients and the legal professional more competitive.
4 – Enhanced client relations and increases in service delivery
As legal professionals, we are creatures of instruction and client satisfaction is our main objective. Clients nowadays are much more tech-savvy and increasingly prefer to approach legal professionals who are able to meet these needs.
Technology has enabled the legal professional to be more responsive and therefore helps to make the legal sector more accessible to the client. Gone are the days when the client was forced to leave the office earlier or even put in leave for consultations. Nowadays with the functionality of Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365 clients can engage the services of a legal professional from the comfort of his or her office or home and simply continue with their daily tasks once the electronic meeting has concluded.
Legal professionals can truly develop their brand and market their services through websites and the innovative use of internet platforms. The client and the legal professional now have equal access to information. This establishes transparency and provides better services to the client than ever before.
5 – Balancing technology with the legal reality
It is important to acknowledge that the legal sector has rules and formalities in place when it comes to aspects such as the content and format of pleadings.
The less tech-savvy legal professional will also have to make sure that he or she understands how to effectively implement and use these new technology options in order for it to truly serve its intended purpose.
But with this being said, it is my opinion that technology can enhance the efficiency of how we as legal professionals apply the rules and formalities, and it is my submission that there are many practitioners who are ready to be shown how data and digitization can significantly transform their legal landscape.
Legal professionals are now in a far better tactical position than ever before and need to equip themselves with the technology skills to better solve problems regardless of whether this problem-solving is in the context of an advisory position at a corporate practice or as a litigator.
As legal professionals, we thrive on having all the information: All that we have to do now is use the technology resources at our disposal.