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This can be a good thing because it may be a sign a law firm is growing. At the same time, lagging technology may be one of the growing pains.
In any case, it is important to assess the firm's technologies from time to time because technology always affects the bottom line. Technology can increase profits if it increases productivity, but it can also cost more than it's worth if it is not efficient.
Here's a checklist for updating your law office technologies:
1. Take inventory of technology
Take an inventory and do a cost-benefit analysis of the firm's technologies. If a software program is old, for example, it may be time to update it, replace it or get rid of it altogether. Also review online services, especially legal research providers. Focus on the firm's practice areas and select vendors accordingly.
It's like ordering from a menu. You're not gonna eat everything. A comprehensive practice management system will be key to synchronizing the technologies.
2. Ask members for ideas
Ask attorneys and staff members to share their thoughts about technology. What do they use? What do they not use? What do they need?
Make a list and compare it to your technology inventory. Be sure to consider collaborative technologies, like instant messaging systems, to make attorney meetings easier next time.
3. Check security
This is an important question, especially when it comes to client communications and client files. With increasing compliance and security requirements, evaluate your systems and software to see if they reasonably protect your firm.
Law firms are prime targets for hackers because lawyers gather lots of client information. Check your errors and omissions policy for potential coverage issues.
4. Make a plan
Create a technology plan that works within the firm's business plan. California Lawyer suggests a five-year plan with considerations such as:
What processes can be automated to make the firm more profitable? How would you like to see your firm operate from a technology point of view? If the firm continues to grow, how can technology address clients' needs without slowing down legal performance.