Technology is more important than ever for businesses, and the law field is no exception. In fact, lawyers have more need for high-tech tools than most other professionals. After all, they are dealing with a complex and constantly-changing web of laws, regulations, and case histories. No one person could ever be expected to keep track of all that, so it’s natural that many law firms have come to rely on technology so much. However, there are also some headaches that go along with this need. Let’s look at the seven biggest headaches and discuss ways to prevent them.
1. Slow And Inefficient IT
When a lawyer needs information, they probably need it right away. The well-being (and possibly the freedom) of their clients will depend on their ability to stay updated and informed at all times. The entire purpose of having a lawyer is to have someone who is familiar with the law, but slow and efficient IT can blunt that advantage. You can deal with that issue by exercising high standards when it comes to your IT helpers.
For instance, let’s say you need to look up the case history on a certain subject. You could spend hours in the library reading old documents, but competent IT can search those documents in a digital form and do the job far more quickly. Now, imagine what happens if you are doing things the old-fashioned way and your opponent (another attorney) is using technology as a shortcut? It doesn’t take a genius to see that this scenario ends in a loss for you.
As any lawyer will tell you, confidentiality is very important in their line of work. Clients don’t want their personal lives to be made any more public than necessary, and that is understandable. More to the point, there are tactical reasons for which an attorney must keep their plans and activities under wraps.
In many cases, the legal system involves a contest between two lawyers, with each one attempting to out-argue the other. So, imagine a debate in which you already know your opponent’s best points. When you know his arguments ahead of time, you can plan a more effective counter-argument and research facts and evidence to support those statements. In short, pre-knowledge gives someone an unfair advantage, and you don’t want anyone to have that.
Cybersecurity is a vast and complex field of study, so don’t think you can learn it all in a day. Instead, you might want to hire a special consultant on cybersecurity so that you can defer to their expertise when necessary.
3. Poor Software Integration
As with any profession, the legal field has all kinds of software that are specifically designed to meet their needs. Some of the more common programs include PCLaw, Prolaw, and Juris. These might be used for anything from document management to legal research and billing. However, it takes a competent professional to make all of these programs work together in perfect harmony. Otherwise, you get nothing but a mess. You will need to consult with a professional on this one.
4. Constant Changes In Tech
As you may know, new technology tends to have a short shelf life. A computer that is considered “top of the line” right now may be considered obsolete within two years or less. The same is true of software programs and general IT methods. A lawyer already needs to keep track of important changes in the law (no easy task), so the added burden of keeping up with tech trends can be too much for some. That’s why this responsibility should probably be outsourced.
Every network will occasionally see some downtime, and it’s always frustrating. Because the legal profession is one that deals with data and communication rather than physical work, computer systems are vital to your continued ability to do business. When your system is down, you are basically paralyzed. Not only will this affect your productivity, but it will take away billable hours for which you could have been paid. Hammering out an SLA agreement with your internet provider can be a good way to mitigate this problem.
6. Cloud Confidentiality
The confidentiality of the customer is important for most businesses, but even more so for a lawyer. At the same time, the cloud offers the most convenient and easy way to network with others. The conflict comes from the fact that cloud computing has some pretty severe vulnerabilities.
Even if the cloud isn’t hijacked or hacked, you also have to trust that your cloud service provider will resist the temptation to peek at your data. Because there is money to be made by selling personal data, you can’t always make that assumption. For this reason, it is best to avoid putting anything confidential in the cloud. Save it for routine and ordinary communications between you and your staff.
7. Lack Of Good IT Workers
As we said before, a lawyer doesn’t have time to become a technician. More to the point, they shouldn’t have to do that because it isn’t their job. However, finding good IT professionals to work in a small or mid-size law firm can be very challenging. Most of the best people have already been snatched by large companies, leaving you to choose from a pool of people who couldn’t find anything better. To deal with this issue, we recommend that you look for a managed IT service provider that focuses on the legal field.
The legal system is full of headaches, and some would even say that it’s bloated and ineffective. However, we still have to work with the situation, even if we don’t like certain things. Thankfully, technology can make things a lot easier, but only if it is properly applied. It’s time for you to get help with managing your Law Firm’s IT needs and planning your future strategy. Complete the form to learn more about how PCH Technologies can help.