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The top tech upgrades your law firm needs for 2023

It’s probably time for your law firm to make some technology upgrades.

The last decade has been transformative for the legal industry as new technologies have changed the way we practice. When pandemic lockdowns forced offices to close, the adoption of legal tech only accelerated.

If your law firm still hasn’t embraced digital tools for daily operations, you will quickly be out-competed by firms that are.

Maybe you’ve gone paperless. You probably know your way around a video call pretty well, and you’re pretty familiar with eFiling. Those things are all steps in the right direction.

They’re not enough to stay competitive, though.

The following are six areas where your firm may be able to implement some impactful tech upgrades for 2023 and beyond.

#1. Migrating to the cloud

Law firms that migrate their data to a cloud platform will enjoy a competitive advantage in today’s digital world. With the proliferation of cloud-based legal solutions, this is an easy transition for your firm.

Cloud computing allows a firm to access its data and software through the web instead of its internal servers or computers. It’s secure, convenient, and cost-effective.

Cloud-based solutions provide many advantages over on-premises solutions.

Perhaps the most obvious is accessibility, since the cloud allows legal professionals to work securely from any location on a variety of devices. But cloud solutions also offer better security, lower cost, and the promise of updates as needed from any software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider.

Continuity of business is another big plus. With backup digital copies of every document on the cloud, firms will be less dependent on storing original documents at a physical location. If anything ever goes wrong, you won’t lose your important documents and data.

#2. Practice management software

Practice management software can also work wonders for the efficiency of the modern law firm.

Many of these software solutions can handle such tasks as document management, calendaring, court filing, timekeeping and billing. Think of your practice or case management software (CMS) as the digital version of your desk and filing cabinet.

Keeping track of cases is much easier in a CMS. Plus, when a case needs to be handed off for someone else to work on, they can seamlessly pick up where the last person left off.

These practice management solutions naturally offer even more flexibility when they are cloud-based. This includes the ability to offer client portals with communication and document-sharing capabilities. The ability to interface with your clients no matter your respective locations will likely increase your efficiency, as well as your clients’ satisfaction levels.

#3. Automation

The operations of any law firm include a great deal of repetitive, time-consuming activities. Many of these activities are on the administrative side, but attorneys and legal professionals can also suffer under the yoke of this dry and tedious work.

When you manually perform every job that needs to be done, there is also a great deal of room for error. Data inputs, manual calculations, and even downloads and uploads of documents are all subject to minor errors like typos.

Automation can be the remedy for this burden.

Automated solutions can perform common, time-consuming activities such as invoicing and payment.

Your automated system will review invoices and identify errors before they are sent to clients. It can automatically assign the correct legal codes (LEDES or UTMBS codes) to tasks and expenses, reducing the chance of bills being rejected by clients. From there, the system will send payment reminders to clients and collect payment through your preferred processor.

Document review and management can also be streamlined with automation. Natural language processing tools can search documents for relevant data, such as certain clauses in contracts. The automated system can also archive and organize files.

Non-legal tasks are great candidates for automation, too. Use technology to handle your email sorting, marketing efforts, office supply orders, and more.

#4. Client intake and management tools

Client intake software can streamline the process of onboarding new clients by providing digital intake forms, appointment scheduling, and even electronic signatures for retainer agreements.

Client management tools go a step further and store client contact information and automate marketing tasks.

Technology can’t replace the human touch with your clients, but it can save time for both them and you. They don’t have to wait for an open spot on your schedule to get their questions answered and start sending you the information you need, and you don’t have to take time away from other billable hours to walk them through your onboarding process.

Another often overlooked part of client management is your sales process. Before someone becomes a client, how do they learn about you?

Customer relationship management (CRM) tools are commonplace in many industries — it may be time for them to proliferate in the legal industry as well. Law firms that handle a high volume of clients already use CRM platforms to manage their sales and marketing. Your firm might consider the same.

#5. Upgraded phone systems

With an increasing amount of remote and hybrid workplaces, it may make sense to upgrade your phone system to allow for the virtual practice of law.

A Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone system allows you to answer your office phone from a mobile phone or computer. This allows legal professionals to stay connected from wherever they take calls.

Being internet-based, VoIP systems also provide useful features that traditional phone systems do not.

For example, the typical VoIP system will allow for uploading mobile messages to the cloud, where they can be listened to by other firm members with access to the cloud-based system.

#6. Improved cybersecurity

In an industry that is becoming ever more online and digital, no firm can afford to ignore cybersecurity concerns.

Security and confidentiality tools can give your firm the protection it needs from these cyber threats.

On a more basic level, these tools can include firewalls, spam filters, and antivirus software.

File encryption is a more advanced technique to explore.

All of these solutions become even more important with the prevalence of mobile phone and smartphone usage in legal practice.

Staying competitive with the right tech

These are just a few of the possible tech upgrades your legal practice might consider.

With the pace of technological change in the legal profession, it is likely simply a matter of when — not whether — you will eventually need to undertake these tech implementations.

Keep in mind that your practice area may require a higher level of technology to compete. If you find that similar firms are all using project management software or employing AI-powered tools to get things done, you should look into those to stay relevant.

Remember, too, that your innovation should come with intention. Don’t just buy software and expect it to modernize your practice. Set a goal, then build your plan around accomplishing that specific thing.

Finally, as you explore new technologies to upgrade your firm, be open to trying things that aren’t necessarily unique to the legal industry. You might find your competitive edge somewhere you didn’t expect.


  • Mike Robinson

    After a fifteen-year legal career in business and healthcare finance litigation, Mike Robinson now crafts compelling content that explores topics around technology, litigation, and process improvements in the legal industry.

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