By now, many of us are quite familiar with the constructs of working from home, even if we had no prior experience. The effects of the global coronavirus pandemic have drastically shifted work culture, forcing the majority of Americans to stay at home to do what they normally would’ve headed into the office for. Of course, scores of digital tools exist to make the transition easier, from email to video conferencing to chat.
But modern business is more complex than that, requiring industry-specific tools that execute tailored functions. For legal professionals, the intricacies of matter management are far too complex to handle over a myriad of emails and phone calls. In these uncertain times (and even in the future, as professionals become more mobile than ever), mobile management software is a must for helping teams work remotely and efficiently, whenever and wherever they are.
The Challenges of Remote Matter Management
Working remotely has its pros and cons. While being at home may raise your comfort level, it can be frustrating to work without the equipment, software and support we’re used to at the office. For professionals who manage legal matters, this can be amplified even further because of:
- Inability to access physical documents. Matter management professionals deal with mass amounts of data and documents every day. But at home, there’s no passing of physical papers between co-workers and no way to access the things you left on your desk if the office is locked down. In some situations, you may not even be able to access your team’s file server if it isn’t set up for remote login. Without matter management software, the only option is to email everything back and forth between your team. This method has already proven ineffective in some instances, as email servers can become overloaded, creating a huge delay in sending and receiving.
- Security restrictions. Depending on your company’s IT security parameters, you may not be able to access the servers you normally use. And even though many businesses have devised new plans to make it easier for their employees to work from home, other, more regulated industries may not be able to take the risk of changing their policies.
- Device incompatibility. If you haven’t been issued a company laptop, accessing internal files could be even more of a challenge. In fact, some companies only allow remote access through a company-issued device. This isn’t just for security measures — sometimes it’s to ensure compatibility for opening files, as not everyone has the most up-to-date or highest quality personal devices at home.
- Inability to communicate/collaborate. There’s nothing easier than peeking over the desk partition to ask your co-worker a quick question. But working from home eliminates that possibility, and sometimes, phone calls take too much time to get the quick answer you’re looking for. Unless your team has adopted an external chat tool like Slack or Google Hangouts, asking questions or notifying coworkers of updates to internal files must be done via email, text, or call.
- Disparate/siloed resources. Perhaps worst of all, lack of matter management software means no centralized place to house the thousands of documents and emails you review on a daily basis. No database to search; no record of what you or your teammates have already done, resulting in inefficiency, redundancy and disorganization.
Struggling to Work from Home?
Some industries may be finding it particularly hard to work from home because of 1) complete shutdown of their office buildings (versus stay-at-home recommendations where minimal access is still allowed) and 2) inexperience with ever working from home before. In particular, government agencies, universities, and even private law firms who are used to traditional software and/or work models are in uncharted waters, navigating everything from technical challenges to the distractions of at-home life.
But struggling to work from home may be more of a role-based learning curve than an industry-based one. Clearly, professional roles that depend on physical labor (e.g. construction or manufacturing) or hands-on contact (e.g. therapy or veterinary medicine) won’t be used to working from home. But a number of office roles are also struggling to do their jobs virtually, including office managers, legal assistants, and paralegals who are used to being in the office 8-5 and having high levels of facetime with the office staff. In these instances, having a platform for teams to communicate/collaborate across and lessen the impact of remote work as much as possible will keep these professionals comfortable and productive.
How Remote Matter Management Software Works
Legal matter management software is a centralized platform for recording, monitoring and analyzing your client data, which includes everything from contact information and notes to appointments and billing. For remote legal professionals, corporate matter management software helps you:
Centralize Data and Assets
When you’re working remotely, having everything in one central location is not only easier to access whenever and wherever you are, but it allows you to comprehensively visualize and understand your matter better. Many organizations with multiple office locations have already adapted well to remote work because case and matter management software allows them to easily work with co-workers in other offices or locations.
The beauty of installed software is that it’s built to complement both computers and mobile devices, allowing users to sign in and get the data they need from anywhere. Despite how your company chooses to install it (on-premise or cloud-based), your access is browser-based, meaning you just need an internet connection to get everything you need.
A legal matter management platform creates a single place for users to come and get the details they need, collaborate with other team members, and keep firm knowledge current and organized. With embedded communications, users get notifications, alerts, and comments from fellow teammates whenever a file is edited/updated.
Matter management software increases productivity by eliminating data fragmentation and streamlining multiple functions. Through automated workflows and digital reminders, legal managers can ensure deadlines are met without wasting time manually sending and preparing documents, emails, notes, etc.
“I’m currently working from home and Legal Files is working great.”
-JoAnn Chaloux at PC Construction Company
Legal Files is Right There With You
We at Legal Files understand how you’re feeling in this uncertain time. When states began issuing shelter-in-place orders in early March 2020, our CEO, John Kanoski, instituted a work-from-home policy to increase staff safety. Because we use our own platform internally, the transition was that much easier.
Legal Files has been labeled an “essential business” because we support essential businesses like you. We’re here, and we’re open to supporting you however you need. Our customer support staff is ready and able to take your questions via phone or email (for an even quicker response).
Technology is the foundation of our business, which is why 95% of our sales demos and much of our new customer onboarding/training are done online anyway. Whether you’re working remotely or not, one thing is clear — having the best matter management system in place to depend on means continuing to move your business forward.
Legal Files is more than a software vendor. We offer case and matter management tools that solve your deepest pain points, giving you back time, money and peace of mind. With extensive customization capabilities, robust features and access to expert support staff, Legal Files is the preferred choice of top corporations, law firms, government entities and more organizations around the globe. Contact us today to start the conversation!