The Most Used Feature in a Legal Tech Solution
Improving efficiency is an ever-important but never-ending aspect of maintaining and growing any business, including law firms. Every firm wants to improve its productivity regularly with technically advanced solutions, and since we are evolving as a civilization in terms of technology, the legal world is slowly finding its way toward digital software for law offices.
Legal Technology is a single or set of technological solutions for law firms, lawyers, businesses, and organisations built to simplify, optimise, and automate their operations. Legal technology – also referred to as legal tech, legal softwares, law technology (law tech), and regulatory technology (reg tech) – uses new technologies, from artificial intelligence to blockchain technology, to offer legal services better and more efficiently and help us tackle regulatory and compliance burdens more efficiently and more effectively. It helps law firms streamline core processes, like practice and document management, billing and accounting, and e-discovery. Legal tech solutions can even be called ‘the driver of the legal industry’ to succeed in the process of digital transformation.
Lawyers have traditionally been reluctant to adopt new and innovative technology but this is rapidly changing and the legal industry is now driven by the growing ecosystem of legal technology vendors seeking to disrupt and reinvent the industry.
Legal tech emerged as a response to the challenges the industry faced following the financial crisis of 2008 as firms had to deal with the pressure to cut costs, lack of standardisation in client procurement across departments, attracting and charging clients in the competitive market after the recession, and on top of this, law firms needed to plough through vast amounts of data since email communication had started becoming the new normal in the industry. However, the problem that came out of this was that commercial clients significantly reduced their spending on legal services of remote law firms after this recession and focused on building in-house law teams as much as they could, as it was much wiser in terms of cost-efficiency. The legal tech landscape has advanced a lot since then and adapted to the emerging needs of clients and law practitioners to reach where it is today.
Legal tech helps clients and law firms in many areas. Some of the most common areas are accounting, billing, document automation and storage (document management), electronic discovery or e-discovery, legal research, and case management. The major areas covered by legal tech softwares are:
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (ML) Document Review
Legal tech solutions have data trained algorithms that analyse legal documents across many areas, from risk management to M&A to compliance cases. Machine learning uses algorithms that can accurately scan thousands of documents and determine their relevance automatically instead of having them reviewed by a person one by one, and AI-based legal research tools help save time that would otherwise be spent on researching case laws, statutes, etc. – saving money for clients in the process.
Document Automation and Storage
The practice of law is filled with repetitive and tedious tasks and even necessary operations like monthly billing consume significant amounts of time. More than 60% of what lawyers do in their day-to-day activities could be automated by introducing automated solutions. Document automation solutions enable the rapid creation of legally water-tight and bespoke legal documents, contracts or agreements of any type. Automating time and expense entry, the client intake process, document review, and even legal research have all been shown to both cut down on the time it takes to complete the tasks, as well as increase the accuracy with which they are accomplished.
A legal case management system allows lawyers to manage different cases efficiently and help track documents, gather information, and monitor the progress of cases. They not only capture the details and latest status of a case, but they also include legal time recording, smart document management, task management, marketing and management reporting, dashboards, and tailored workflow. Many contemporary legal software tools have features that allow lawyers to collaborate on cases.
Commonly associated with electronic crime, or e-crime, e-discovery involves the discovery of relevant information in electronic form which can be used in civil or criminal cases, and help lawyers determine who is responsible for what, how it happened, etc. These solutions simplify and automate e-discovery stages, for example, machine learning algorithms that collect and process documents and prepare it for a lawyer to review. They allow for the proliferation of digital information, across a wide range of device types, including mobile phones, laptops, tablets, dash cams, computers, USB drives, and even drones.
Accounting and Billing
Managing and automating legal expenditure is relatively easy by leveraging advanced algorithms and as a result of this legal tech innovation, companies will be able to decrease the human factor, eliminate unnecessary paperwork, and be more aware of their legal spending. By embracing the latest billing and accounting software for law firms, your firm can make decisions which are reflective of your live financial position situation, and not outdated financial reporting – besides, compliance with accounting and taxation requirements is assured, and time is freed up by eliminating previously manual accounting tasks.
The best legal research softwares is quickly becoming popular among lawyers and law firms as they help save time that would otherwise be spent on researching case laws, statutes, etc., saving money for clients in the process. Legal tech solutions can go through all the available case law and intelligently flag and summarise the ones that the lawyer should focus on – not only on key terms but also on the context which allows lawyers to reduce research time from hours or days down to minutes or even seconds – bringing down the cost of legal services and making it more accessible.
The benefits of legal technology solutions for businesses include greater automation, improved security, fewer risks, more transparency, better resource management, more transparency, an up-to-date level of customer experience, and an edge over the competitors on the market.
So What is the Most Used Feature in a Legal Tech Solution?
Right now, as the legal industry is moving towards adopting technology, we can find plenty of legal tech solutions in the market. Although one might think these legal solutions must be similar, they all offer a different set of tools so it can be difficult picking out what you need in your personal or your law firm’s practice. The one feature that is a must and is used the most in all legal tech solutions is a Legally Optimised Calendar. It allows many features including task management, task assignment, reminders, calendar bookings, and team integration.
A legal calendar featuring daily, weekly, monthly, and timeline viewing, the option to add tasks, clients, issues, or contracts and share these with the client, makes sure that crucial duties are not forgotten. Users can view specific tasks or dates, and access full information files of clients from any events or dates when added to a legally optimised calendar. Outcomes and other notes can also be added later after the case, event or meeting has been completed. Lawyers can also easily create and share follow-up meetings with clients through it.
Besides sharing everything with the client and making it easier for both the client and the lawyer to access files and be up-to-date with everything related to cases, a legally optimised calendar can also do the same with team members working on the same case. It is very efficient for planning and delegating tasks to all team members. Additionally, since the calendar is shared among the team members, everyone is aware of who is responsible for what and what tasks have been completed. Planning meetings, events and activities is also easier.
Since these calendars usually also have the option to create personal appointments, lawyers do not have to use a different software or calendar application for their personal affairs. But in case users do want to keep their work and personal calendars separate, they can do so while still having access to other calendars through their work one. A legally optimised or case management calendar is also integrated with other calendar apps like Google Calendar and Outlook. So, users can view events from any of these on a single platform.
Creating and documenting time entries is also well regulated with the use of a legally optimised calendar. Since everything is entered in the calendar, attorneys do not have to manually keep track of everything they did for a case or a client. These tasks when done manually often result in a loss of billable hours for lawyers and law firms since a lot of the time, lawyers forget to note every moment they spend during the day working on a case. Sometimes it is also not possible to record all of this. Remember, every second lawyer spends on a case can be billable – no matter how small or quick the task was. So, a legally optimised calendar helps with this. Moreover, as everything is recorded and very precise, clients will not have any doubts about being overcharged. A legally optimised calendar also allows the categorisation of time logs and links them to matters, cases, contracts and tasks which provides a clear report showing exactly where the lawyer’s efforts are spent so that they can improvise if need be and work on different assignments at the same time with equity.
As a legally optimised calendar is backed up on the cloud, everything is always synced up. So, lawyers can access all the information stored there from any device, anywhere. Again, this attribute of the calendar makes sharing everything – like dates, events, contracts, documents and notes – related to a case or a client among team members easier. The same goes for sharing these details and information with the client.
A legal calendaring solution will move a lawyer toward optimising their firm or legal department for risk mitigation, compliance with deadlines, managing streamlined workflow, and productivity.
Other Commonly Used Features of Legal Tech Solutions
Besides a legally optimised calendar, some other features of legal tech solutions are also used very widely. Some of them are:
- Project Management Tools
Legal project management breaks individual projects down into various stages for better organisation and administration of each step which allows attorneys to proactively plan a matter for greater efficiency.
- Reporting Functions
With all the documentation and invoices collated promptly, legal software lets lawyers generate automated reports to improve efficiency and track business performance daily – notably, these reports are useful while taking important business decisions, allocating work, or managing daily productivity.
- Invoice review
Manually managing hundreds of invoices from different vendors drains your time and makes it easy for costly billing errors to slip through – so, legal software can automatically flag billing errors and violations by scanning your invoice database to learn what common billing issues are and highlight problems based on the billing guidelines entered.
- Litigation Management
Legal software can organise and automate or augment typical litigation management tasks such as client intake, which is especially useful for mass litigation where claim volumes are high but individual value is potentially low and basic claim parameters more or less common; bundling; court filings; management of litigation deadlines and deliverables; exhibit management; and claim form submission drafting.
- Security & Compliance
A good legal software comes with enterprise-grade security which ensures that all data remains privy to third parties, phishing, and hacking with top-grade encryption technology, it is impossible for hackers to get access to these documents.
- Automation Tools
The best legal software improves law firm productivity by making it easier and more efficient to complete common tasks through automation which allows attorneys to replace the time-consuming tasks of manually assembling repetitive documents with an efficient automated process.
A good API (application program interface) is an integral part of a legal software system that lets lawyers connect with all their favourite apps on the go so that they can integrate other business platforms into their legal document management software seamlessly and share, sync, and collaborate with multiple platforms to ensure that their practice is running smoothly.