5 ways to modernize your practice
and businesses look for better ways to manage their time, bring in more revenue
and market to a larger audience. Technology advancements raise the bar in these
areas because they allow firms to reach a new level of efficiency. Some firms
that run as a virtual office have fully accepted the movement toward an updated
view of a traditional law firm. Not only does this allow firm efficiency, but
also it grants clients the option to access their legal documents or advice on their
own time. Lawyers do not have to completely overhaul their offices into virtual
ones, but imbedding these advanced tactics in your own office can help save
time, money and sanity in the long run. Follow these five tips and see the
difference as your firm becomes more efficient.
1. Get up to speed on
technology… in small increments.
Technology is a broad term that is overwhelming
if not narrowed down to individual categories. Some of the technological
advances used to enhance the workplace are cloud services, online marketing
tools and virtual assistants. Break it down, relax and modernize your practice
in small increments.
2. Reach for the clouds.
The stereotypical picture of the cloud is this
mysterious technology which confounds most people. Where does the information
go? How does one control the cloud? Or, the scariest question for some, how
does one delete something from the cloud? The cloud is not as mysterious as it
Cloud services are actually essential to the workplace due to the
instant gratification culture that our society has recently fostered. With the
cloud, your firm can store all of its documents, emails, invoices, billing
information and other items within a secure server that is available anywhere
with Internet connection. It allows attorneys to work on cases during flights
or at home and allows clients to look over documents at their own time and place
as well. This round-the-clock availability increases flexibility for both
attorneys and clients. Businesses like Clio provide cloud services, and Ohio
State Bar Association members receive this service at a discounted rate.
3. Upgrade from Clippy.
Remember the office
assistant that appeared on the bottom of your screen in Microsoft Word during
the late 1990s? It was the little paperclip, known as Clippit or Clippy, which gave
you tips on how to improve your interaction with Word. Whether he annoyed you
or not, Clippy was a form of virtual assistant. Virtual assistants and
paralegals can help streamline your work. Using the cloud, you can share
documents with assistants or paralegals to keep you from constantly scanning
and faxing documents back and forth. A virtual assistant organizes documents
within the cloud, schedules appointments and
emails, turning mundane, nonbillable work into a hassle-free task; you can now
focus more on face-to-face client interaction while increasing revenue for
yourself and the firm.
Virtual paralegals will save you time and money by
working only when needed. You do not have to pay a full-time salary when the
extra assistance is deemed unnecessary. They can also help draft standard legal
documents to free more time for attorneys—quite the improvement from the old
paperclip on your screen.
4. Morph selfies into marketing tactics.
You share photos of your
new gourmet creation in the kitchen, update family and friends on your
relationship status and create a viewable stream of your inner consciousness
all on social media. If you and others you know constantly update and view
social media, then that is a perfect platform for businesses to take advantage
of. Social media gives businesses a new, personable outlet for marketing
campaigns that reach a larger, mostly free, audience. Marketing may not come to
mind as having a direct relationship to office efficiency, but it does help
businesses gain clients. With the increase of Internet traffic, marketing
tactics include online platforms to reach a broader target audience than
previous print ad marketing campaigns. This means that businesses use social
media—Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and blogs—to connect with potential clients
on a daily basis. It is another round-the-clock tactic to enhance a firm. Not
only does it bring in new clients, but also it is free if no new staff is
required. Your firm will spend the same amount of money on marketing as it did
previously while reaching a much wider audience. Start rethinking your selfies,
tweets and posts; they may come in handy.
5. Organize your thoughts.
These new technologies
save time and money, but the implementation can be more daunting than you anticipate.
You could sift through the information to compare and contrast different vendors
for each technology service, implement efficient technology usage tactics and
acquire technological knowledge from personal research. However, firms can
choose to hire a service that holds your hand throughout the entire process.
OSBA recently partnered with CuroLegal, which provides virtual services that encompass
almost the entirety of office technology, from auditing your firm’s technology
to nurturing the well-oiled machine that your firm has become.
The future has arrived.
Do not spend time worrying about how future
technology will affect your firm because the future has arrived. Take the
necessary steps to streamline your technology use. This new technology is constantly
morphing the business world in regards to office efficiency, client reach and
round-the-clock connectivity. But how do you know what technology to use or how
to implement it into your office routine? Understanding what technology is out
there and what can help your firm is fundamental in creating a streamlined