Mounting survey research shows that remote work is likely here to stay long after the COVID-19 crisis passes. Not only that, but it will become an integral part of the way we work. Research and advisory company Gartner has found that businesses looking beyond the pandemic are going to be facing a new kind of challenge: managing a highly complicated hybrid workforce. So, how should legal professionals prepare for this global shift in work?
Technology is the short answer. Without the right tools in place, it’s extremely difficult (and almost impossible) to keep up with the demands of this new hybrid workforce. Many organizations have already shifted to remote work and have adopted technology to make this possible. Yet, there are many organizations that have delayed implementing technology in the hopes that things may go back to the old way of life. But as more time passes, this wishful thinking could prove to be a costly decision for organizations that are late adopters.
The Challenges of Remote Work for Legal Professionals
From corporations and universities to law firms and government agencies, all organizations have had their own share of challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Things may look different for each legal professional depending on the size of the organization and specialty. Yet, productivity is still important — and many changes have had to occur to make that possible. With the myriad of challenges that have arisen in the past year, there are a few reasons organizations are still hesitant to adopt new technology.
- Lack of a secure online infrastructure.
Many companies were used to managing legal matters physically prior to the pandemic and have had to quickly shift to managing everything remotely. This has revealed how inefficient paper filing systems truly are — lacking the ability to keep confidential information current and protected. Many organizations have had to undergo intense security audits and major process adjustments just to keep matters secure online. The threat of cybercrime is real, and organizations need to do all they can to ensure their clients are protected from any breaches. This is why a secure, online system is absolutely necessary in the new remote work environment.
- Lack of remote working structures, processes and buy-in.
The swift adoption of technology does not translate to any real business benefit without the required structural changes and adjustments that need to be made across the entire organization. Without leadership clearly communicating the new changes and ensuring they are complied with, productivity and efficiency can quickly decline, making problems worse for both employees and stakeholders. To be successful, it’s essential to have buy-in from the top down from day one, and a clear strategy for how to implement the technology. This way, everyone is committed to its success and can realize its full potential.
- Lack of ability to easily communicate with colleagues remotely.
Workplaces are changing. Teams are spread out in home offices or other remote locations, and the traditional way of work is becoming a thing of the past. Simply walking down the hallway to discuss a matter any time you want may no longer be feasible. Organizations that lack an online platform for case/matter data aren’t sure how remote operations could work for them because they are so used to in-person communication. By implementing a legal matter management system, you give your team instant access to a communication platform that paves the way for conversations about any matter remotely within seconds. This eliminates the need to halt business because the office is closed. Communication about the right information and keeping everyone up to date can still happen anytime, anywhere.
Benefits to Implementing Legal Technology Sooner Rather Than Later
Regardless of how normal life will resume after the pandemic, we know that remote work is here to stay in some form or another. Thus, it’s wise to take a look at ways to improve your efficiencies and productivity through a legal matter management system today rather than waiting to see what the future holds. A legal matter management system is a centralized platform for recording, monitoring and analyzing your client data, which includes everything from contact information and notes to appointments and emails.
Here are just a few of the many benefits organizations can see right away by implementing a legal matter management system:
- Manage all matter from a single platform.
With access to a legal matter management system, you can retrieve all your critical data (cases/matters, documents and users, contact information, to-dos, calendars and more) with the click of a button from any location. Adaptable to handle any type of case or matter, matter management tech supports offices that handle a wide range of legal and administrative functions. By housing all your data within a single location, your team can work remotely without missing a beat. Paper-based files can be converted into digital documents that are housed within the platform and easily shared with colleagues and clients.
- Depend less on paper files (and create a more sustainable work environment).
There may not be such a thing as a paperless law office, but with a legal matter management system you can get pretty close. By transitioning to remote work technology, you no longer have to rely on in-office filing systems containing potentially outdated information. Your critical case/matter data is accessible online so that anyone can retrieve it no matter where they are located. This is an important step in reducing paper use and helping the environment.
A legal matter management system also means less reliance on office buildings and commuting time for employees. These changes are not only great for the environment, but also allow for more time spent focusing on the cases/matters that mean the most to you instead of managing manual processes and tangible items. In fact, Global Workforce Analytics, estimates that working from home half the week can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 54 million tons every year!
- Adopt a flexible model to deal with any future crises or unexpected events.
Once your organization has fully transitioned to its remote work strategy and implemented a matter management system, you have the security of knowing you’re already prepared should another crisis arise. Business can go on as normal and you won’t have to scramble to get technology in place to keep your organization afloat. Executives and employees can sleep better knowing they’ve done all they can to prepare for worst case scenarios. Plus, digital transformation allows for greater business scale, giving you the foundation to build upon for even further automation and efficiency.
- Collaborate more efficiently and effectively across teams.
With a central place for your team to conduct business, communication naturally improves. It’s easier to find critical case data, contact information, critical deadlines and more. You can bring colleagues into a case by sharing access and setting up a workflow for them to make changes to the file as needed. With automation, you can work smarter by keeping colleagues informed of updates and changes that are made to cases and matters as they happen. Group views of calendars also allow you to keep current on upcoming case dates and relevant assignments so nothing gets overlooked.
Legal Files Keeps You Relevant in the Changing Work Climate
Legal Files helps you stay connected in a changing world — whether you’re at home or in the office. With 30 years of experience supporting organizations across a number of industries, you can trust us to meet all your legal technology needs. We care about the issues you face and are here to help you uncover the advantages of being remote in order to be more efficient, enhance security and visibility and leverage remote communication and collaboration tools through superior technology.
We’re here and ready to support you however you need. Give us a call or send us an email to learn more about how we help organizations like yours manage what matters to you most.