Legal Support Network is based in the UK and one of the many associations we are involved with. They recently published a Q&A Industry Voice session with NetDocuments' marketing manager about what law firms will be doing in the future, what they could learn from other sectors, and how they could become much more efficient and profitable.
What's the biggest or most important thing that law firms will be doing in five years' time that they're not doing now?
Today many firms still don't prioritize their technology investment, as historically IT has been a necessary evil to run a legal practice. What we're seeing now is a shift, placing technology at the core of the overall firm's strategy to engage clients, improve the client experience, and increase productivity. Mobility and social tools will be a must-have, as communication inside and outside of the firm is increasingly going social. The speed of information and consumerization of IT trends show no sign of slowing – this means the law practice and IT departments must adapt, along with their technology.
What law firm client win are you most proud of, and why?
The recent win that stands out the most is Foley & Lardner. We switched them from the server-based document management product, iManage, to NetDocuments cloud-based document and email management service. The firm has been a technology leader and advocate for the cloud, and many firms are now following their lead by joining the growing group of firms who are moving away from traditional server-based systems, to the anytime, anywhere cloud technology NetDocuments has been offering since 1999.
What could law firms learn from businesses in other sectors, such as yours?
There is certainly value in looking at different industry's best practices when it comes to business. A law firm is a business with clients, so as in any other business, the client experience should be the top priority. Tools, tech, training, and people should all be focused on answering and solving the client equation of "how do I improve the service to my clients?" and "what are we doing that limits the ability to better serve our clients?" The firm should then tell those stories in the market. Many firms I talk to don't think they need to have a voice in the market, but what some don't realize, is that the conversations about their firm are already happening on the web, with or without their participation.
What are the top things firms could do to be more efficient/profitable?
IT has moved out of the back room and on to the main stage of the organization. Efficiency starts with knowing what technology you are already paying for and understanding if it works, how well it works, and if there is something better out there. Often, firms don't know that a streamlined, integrated solution is out there, so they continue to use dated technology. Many firms also believe they know what's best for their firm, so they don't bring in experts or consultants – this is not always the case. No company or law practice can be experts in every field, so let those that specialize do what they do best (e.g. assessing and implementing technology decisions) and allow the law firm to do what it does best - practice law.
Interested in learning more about how NetDocuments will reduce costs and increase productivity at your firm?