After decades of avoiding the use of innovative technologies, many law firms are implementing IT into their operating procedures to streamline their services. Clients have demanded more convenient interactions with their counsel. Additionally, with extensive amounts of data, firms need to keep pace with ever-changing legal regulations. They must remain in compliance and address perceived incidents rapidly. The legal sector has responded by striving to catch up with contemporary automated methods that other fields have used for years.
As with any other endeavor, some offices have adapted more quickly than others. Presented in no particular order, here are several law firms that are leaders in their use of technology.
A subscription-based product, Akerman Data Law Center uses Thomson Reuters research and Neota Logic Software to provide automated legal advice in response to data breaches. In fact, in December of 2017, former CEO Andrew Smulian was named a Top 10 North American Innovator in Financial Times.
Jackson Lewis P.C.
Jackson Lewis P.C. has more than 200 lawyers named to the 2019 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America©. It has also been named by “Working Mother Magazine” as one of the “Best Law Firms for Women.” It is no surprise that the firm uses cutting-edge technology.
Jackson Lewis has developed workthruIT ®, which is an award-winning, online tool suite and digital solution to workplace regulation challenges. It also takes security seriously. The firm works with a third-party security provider to offer services to assist small and mid-sized companies. It focuses on addressing and rectifying data breaches.
Allen & Overy
Allen & Overy partnered with two other law firms to forward open standards around smart contracts through the Accord Project. Promoting collaboration between attorneys, clients, and technology companies, Fuse (the firm’s technology hub) has supported over eight start-up businesses. In fact, with its involvement in a range of legal technological improvements, it is somewhat of an incubator for innovation.
Drinker Biddle & Reath
One of the first firms to implement technology to streamline its daily operations, Drinker Biddle & Reath introduced the role of Chief Data Scientist in 2015. Since that time, it has added the following:
Drinker Biddle & Reath is truly one of the legal trend-setters, leading the way.
Perkins Cole LLP
Along with serving technically astute companies, such as amazon, Avvo, and Netflix, Perkins Cole LLP uses IT to improve customer service for its legal clients. The firm developed the webinar series “Understanding the Legal Implications for Artificial Intelligence,” for algorithm training. It also partnered with Elevate to create a platform for patent prosecution management. These are just a couple of ways Perkins Cole continues to push the envelope.
Baker & Hostetler
The innovative firm of Baker & Hostetler has been on the cutting-edge of technology integration. Along with its involvement in the Accord Project, which promotes open standards around smart contracts, this firm offers webinars on the following topics:
The firm’s clients also benefit from the Ransomware Response Team that addresses cybersecurity threats.
Crowell & Moring
A committee of 11 attorneys and 40 core members of consultants and technologists work with Crowell & Moring’s Digital Transformation group. Among other areas, the firm’s expansive approach includes the following:
The client-facing group focuses on autonomous, automated technologies to improve security and streamline processes.
Slaughter and May
A review from Chambers, U.K. in 2012 states that, “Commentators say the firm is an ideal choice for innovative and valuable work, and it is known for its ability to devise new structures to satisfy the complex needs of its clients.”
One of the first legal investors in AI, Slaughter and May entered the market with Luminanace in 2016. Since then, it has continued in a leadership role promoting the responsible deployment of AI in business. At the same time, it has grown an impressive list of law firm clients.
Winston & Strawn LLP
Choosing to take on the bulk of its operations in-house, Winston & Strawn has been handling its own e-discovery since 2015. With increased success and confidence, the firm developed a full-service consultancy. It created a data-centric practice to work its way into the analytics space. In fact, according to The American Lawyer, 30-percent of its projects are for lawyers working outside of the Winston & Strawn law firm.
Some companies create technology in an effort to keep all research and discovery in-house. Others have branched out to consult and address data breaches for attorneys around the world. From building out applications for compliance to pay equity, or developing programs for streamlined communication and data maintenance, innovative legal firms are leading the way with their successful implementation of technology.
Facebook Was Breached
Were You Or A Facebook Friend Affected?
Facebook has confirmed that more than 50 million user accounts have been breached. They made the announcement today, Friday, September 28th. However, their engineering team discovered the security breach back on Tuesday, September 25th, 2018. They tell us that the vulnerability has been fixed and the breach was reported to the appropriate authorities.
How Did This Happen?
Hackers stole users’ access tokens through Facebook’s “view as.” This is a feature that lets you view what your profile looks like to other Facebook users. The flaw in this feature allowed hackers to take over 50 million user accounts.
If you’re like me, you may have received notices from some of your Facebook friends this week that someone took control of their accounts. Perhaps they were affected by this breach.
What Are Access Tokens?
These are the digital keys that keep us logged in so we don’t need to re-enter our password every time we use Facebook. With this information, hackers can take over our account.
Here’s how Facebook explains what happened:
“Attackers exploited a vulnerability in Facebook’s code that impacted ‘View As,’ a feature that lets people see what their own profile looks like to someone else. This allowed them to steal Facebook access tokens which they could then use to take over people’s accounts.”
Facebook reset the tokens of all those affected. They also logged off 40 million additional users as a precaution. If you are one of these people, you’ll need to log back in the next time you use Facebook.
According to Facebook, their investigators are in the early stages of their investigation. They are temporarily turning off the “View As” feature while they conduct a thorough security review
What Should You Do?
If you have trouble logging back into Facebook, or you forgot your password, visit Facebook’s Help Center.
If you’re like me, you take extra precautions when you hear about breaches like this. If you want, you can visit the “Security and Login” section in Facebook settings. It lists the places where you’re logged into Facebook with a one-click option. If you choose, you can log out of them all.?
The September update of Office 365 includes some major additions and changes to tools such as Microsoft Teams, PowerPoint, and Excel, just to name a few. It is important to keep up with these developments, so here is a list of the major advancements of which you need to be aware.
Microsoft Teams: Skype, Selective Do Not Disturb, Wiki App
Many users have been looking forward to the day when Skype is integrated into Microsoft Teams, and that day has finally come. You can now use Microsoft Teams for cloud-based meetings that can have up to 250 participants, powerful messaging features, and some awesome calling features.
One of the most practical additions to Microsoft Teams is to set up a selective Do Not Disturb status so that some people can still feel free to reach you (e.g., your supervisor or manager).
It’s simple to setup: Click on your avatar, Settings, Privacy, and then select the individuals who you still want to receive notifications from.
Another one of the new updates in Microsoft Teams is the Wiki app, which can be accessed through the left-hand navigation panel using the More Apps ellipsis. This app allows you to see the wiki pages you are a part of, keep track of your own private notes, and see the notes you’ve most recently been editing.
PowerPoint: Embedded Fonts
Have you ever prepared a presentation on one computer and had it looking just perfect, only to open it up on another computer and the fonts looked totally different? There is a way to keep this from happening: embedding the fonts in the PowerPoint deck when you save it.
Go to Save As > Browse > and then go to the Tools drop-down box in the bottom corner of the dialog box. In the Tools drop-down, click on Save options. Toward the bottom of the box that pops up, you will see an option to “Embed fonts in the file.” Check that box, then click OK and save as you normally would.
This option used to be only available on Windows devices, but the new update of Office 365 also makes it available on Office for Mac for Office Insiders. To access it on a Mac, go to the PowerPoint menu and click on Preferences, then Save. The Font Embedding option will be in the dialog box that appears.
Excel: Flow Integration
Microsoft Flow has been integrated with Excel, and is accessible via an Excel add-in. This will allow you to connect your data to services like Microsoft Teams, Twitter, SharePoint, Dynamics 365, Office 365, and more. You will be able to create and trigger on-demand flows for selected rows in spreadsheets that are hosted on OneDrive for Business or in SharePoint.
With this integration that uses the ‘For a selected row trigger’ and the Flow launch panel, you can create and trigger on-demand flows for selected rows in any Excel table on spreadsheets hosted in SharePoint or OneDrive for Business.
Access: Improved Visualization Tools
Users have been requesting more visualization tools for their data contained in Access, and that is exactly what Microsoft has provided. Not only have charts been made easier and more intuitive to create, but additional chart types have also been added. For power users who developed their own Active-X solutions to the challenge of creating charts for forms and reports, their solutions will continue to work.
Power BI: Export to PDF
This is another update that came about as a result of user feedback: the ability to export Power BI reports in PDF format where they can be shared with others. This will only be available in the desktop version of Power BI for right now.
Microsoft has also added an “Ask A Question” to the Power BI Desktop which will be globally available in the client. What this means is that you can use natural language queries to explore your data and allow report users to ask their own questions.
SharePoint: More Granular Control for IT Admins
In previous releases, if a group of users was not allowed to create Office 365 groups, they would be limited to creating Classic SharePoint sites. They could not create modern SharePoint sites. The new release has changed this: the IT administrator determines who can create classic SharePoint sites, who can create modern SharePoint sites, and who can create Office 365 groups.
Microsoft Cloud App Security is a powerful tool that evaluates every app used in terms of industry-specific standards, compliance, and regulatory certifications. The goal of this is to make sure that your company can make informed decisions on the type of apps that are most appropriate for not only your needs, but your security. This new release also checks for GDPR compliance and can generate a C-level report on critical findings.
While this isn’t an exhaustive list of all the new features and changes available in the September update of Office 365, it does present the ones that are going to have the greatest impact. However, it’s always a good idea to be cognizant of new developments even if they don’t directly impact your daily work.
Online security is something that should get everyone’s attention. Threats exist all around us: ransomware, viruses, spyware, social engineering attacks and more. There’s so much you need to know to keep your personal and business information safe.
But… where do you start?
As trusted cybersecurity professionals, we want to help you get educated and stay informed. That’s why during National Cybersecurity Awareness Month our goal is to give you all the information you need to stay secure.
How can we help?
We’ll be sharing valuable and timely information on cybersecurity in blogs, in our newsletter, and on all of your favorite social media sites.
What should you do?
You can also give us a call for personalized solutions by subscribing to our exclusive mailing list.
Being cybersecurity aware means that you understand what the threats are and take precautions to prevent them.
Here are some important reminders:
What else should you watch out for?
Malicious Emails – These typically come in the form of a request from a trustworthy organization like a financial institution.
The email may urge you to act quickly, saying that your account has been compromised or a request can’t be fulfilled. The purpose of the email is to get you to provide confidential information to rob you of your money or identity credentials.
Take precautions and contact the company directly to see if the email is legitimate.
When you search for the company, don’t use any information in the message. Perform your own search online.
Ransomware – This is a type of malware that accesses your files and locks (encrypts) then demands payment to unlock them.
It’s not suggested that you pay the ransom as this is not a guarantee that you’ll get your files back.
Hopefully, you have a secure, offsite copy of all your files so you can recover your data.
Viruses – These are harmful computer programs that can be transmitted from device to device.
Viruses operate in different ways but they are all designed to create havoc, and some provide criminals access to data on infected devices.
If your computer acts irregularly, report this to your supervisor right away.
This could be caused by a virus.
Spyware – Spyware downloads onto your devices without your permission when you visit an unsafe website or click on a malicious attachment.
It can make your computer do things like open advertisements or even track your online movements.
Botnets – These are networks of computers that get infected by malware. The criminals can remotely control these botnets to gain confidential or financial information or launch an attack on your network.
Spam – This is like getting junk mail but by email. These are unsolicited and unwanted.
Phishing – This is where a criminal sends an email that contains a malicious link to collect personal or financial data or to infect your computer with malware and viruses.
Spear phishing is where the criminal uses attacks against specific targets to collect information to gain access to IT systems or a list of customers.
Spam and phishing messages aren’t limited to email. They also appear on social media sites and in text messages. Think before you act and adopt the motto: “When in doubt, throw it out!”
What to do if you become a victim of cybercrime?
Need more help?
We’re here for you.
These are just some of the protections and service we can offer:
We hope this helps. Remember, we’ll be posting timely cybersecurity information for you in our Blogs, newsletters and more.
The mission statement for Clio is, “Transform the practice of law, for good.” Clio is arguably the leader in legal case and practice management software, but this motto is being echoed throughout the legal sector.
Lawyers have existed almost as long as mankind itself. For centuries, the profession has been known as an institution with a long and seemingly conservative tradition. Gradually, this is changing. Contemporary law firms are now using their intuitive understanding of business to influence technical innovation. This will greatly affect how legal companies behave in the future.
Why Are Law Firms Transforming?
As legal clients evolve, so do their expectations. Convenient solutions and immediate responses have become the norm in many sectors. Law firms have been encouraged to keep up, catch up, or be left behind. As the market for legal services changes, companies that provide efficient solutions will increasingly fill the void.
According to a study by the Georgetown Center for the Study of the Legal Profession, advancing technology will threaten law firms. It will allow clients to receive more complex advice from alternative providers than traditional firms generally offer. By investing in technology, legal companies are attempting to avoid this, and/or benefit from it. Additionally, they have a few things that make them particularly qualified. Things that most startup companies do not have, such as:
Investing in technology is a response to the realization that they are uniquely positioned to capitalize on these developments.
Why Is the U.K. Leading the Way in Legal IT?
The U.S. has “Public Access to Court Electronic Records” (PACER). This provides nationwide, online access to U.S. Appellate, Bankruptcy, and District court documents and records. Most countries are not as transparent.
Without that system at their disposal, many U.K. firms have been developing their own systems for data analytics. This pushes them ahead of many U.S. firms in innovating and implementing technology.
What In-House IT Is Being Developed?
The recent trend has been for firms to develop IT solutions that focus on specific processes or that assess how the firm operates. These are used in-house to benefit the clients. They include technologies that track metrics to predict client retention or track employment disputes. Another example is the implementation of data management systems that integrate documents, records, and communication onto one platform.
Other innovative firms have built platforms like Pinpoint IP or Sentinel IP, which are patent analysis, management, and monitoring tools for intellectual property. These not only assess how a client’s portfolio compares to his or her competitors but also provides alerts if the patent is infringed upon.
Many new companies are unable to afford attorneys. Newly created records database tools provide a free online database of useful documents to assist young startup companies. These are just a few of the in-house IT solutions being developed.
How Are Law Firms Becoming Incubators?
It truly is a time of innovation in the legal sector. As some firms are developing specific technical products to benefit their sphere of influence, others are reaching higher. Through incubators, law firms are directing the creation and development of technology. Two of the largest and most influential incubators are Fuse and Nextlaw.
Fuse was launched by the U.K. firm of Allen & Overy. In addition to providing access to cutting-edge technologies, Fuse was developed to promote a “tech-focused mindset” in its lawyers. The first of its eight startups was Nivaura. Its platform streamlines the distribution and administration of financial tools through blockchain technology. Fuse’s other original startups include:
Fuse’s second cohort also includes Bloomsbury AI, Kira Systems, Neota Logic, Regnosys, and Signal Media. Nivaura team members are entrepreneurs-in-residence. They share business experience and advice to help guide the other companies in the incubator space.
The Dentons law firm has the most well-known innovators of this kind. It is responsible for the incubator Nextlaw Labs and its investment vehicle Nextlaw Ventures. Its 10 current startups include the following:
Previously, legal technology was created by individuals unfamiliar with the needs and intricacies of the legal sector. By having attorneys work directly with the IT startup companies, the resulting technology is built to specifically address those needs.
In the 21st century, the demand for tech is radically changing what it means to be a law firm.
In-house innovation and legal tech incubators are increasing in number. Some law firms are even looking toward expanding innovation outward. The push to develop better IT solutions for the legal industry has been almost overwhelming. Having attorneys lead the way is vital to the future of the field.
“We’re not in this for technology’s sake,” stated chairman of Fuse and partner at Allen & Overy, Jonathan Brayne. “We’re in this to solve problems.”
As more advanced technology continues to work its way into the daily activities in many law offices, it becomes increasingly important that lawyers keep up. Larger digital files, more complex platforms, along with a need to stay in communication mean that newer phones with improved functions are a must. Fortunately, Apple remains on the frontlines of digital innovation.
With frequent updates, many attorneys may wonder how important it is to upgrade to a newer model. As client demand for modern techniques rises, it is beneficial for contemporary offices to take note. The iPhone XS and XS Max offer many features that would be helpful to lawyers in large firms or small practices. From a larger display to larger storage, here are a few of the ways in which the most recent generation of iPhone can improve your legal practice.
Why Would a Larger Display Be Beneficial?
Larger displays provide an improved experience when reading important legal documents. More information is visible at the same time while the content is also enlarged for easier viewing.
The iPhone XS has the same screen dimensions as the iPhone X, which was the largest available at its inception. The difference is in the size of the phone’s body. The XS has a considerably smaller bezel than previous versions.
However, the XS Max is the same size as the iPhone X. With the same screen to body ratio as the XS, the iPhone XS Max has the largest screen to date. It is 6.5-inches and features the highest resolution at 2688 x 1242 pixels.
What Impact Will the Changes in Battery Life and Charging Have?
With such a busy schedule, most attorneys and legal support staff prefer not to be tied via phone cord to a power outlet. Fortunately, the iPhone XS and XS Max offer up to 20 hours of talk time and between 12 and 13.5 hours of Internet use. This is 30 minutes over that provided by the iPhone X for the XS and 90 for the XS Max. In fact, Apple is referring to the battery as the “biggest battery yet in an iPhone.”
Also convenient are the charging options. They can be wirelessly charged on a Qi charging pad. Additionally, they are compatible with accessories that are able to charge the devices up to 50-percent in about 30 minutes.
How Will the New Processor Be an Improvement Over Earlier Options?
Both the iPhone XS and XS Max feature what are likely the first 7-nanometer chips included in a smartphone. Called the A12 Bionic, it is Apple’s next generation of processor.
The 15-percent speed increase over A11 is provided by two high-performance central processing unit (CPU) cores. A 50-percent improvement in energy efficiency is obtained from the four low-power CPU cores. Additionally, the graphics performance is improved by 50-percent due to the four graphics processing unit (GPU) cores.
How Would the Increased Memory Help a Lawyer?
One of the primary perks that would benefit attorneys would be the enormous increase in internal storage space that iPhone XS and XS Max provide. The iPhone X had what was considered a respectful amount at 64 GB. iPhone XS and XS Max are both offered with internal storage amounts of 64 GB, 256 GB, and a whopping 512 GB.
As technology continues to increasingly be used in the legal field, associates require larger storage space in smartphones. This enables them to stay connected and work via digital platforms virtually anywhere. It allows them to get more work done while still spending less time in the office.
What Is the Benefit of an Improved Camera and Security?
The iPhone XS and XS Max boast revolutionary “High dynamic Range” (HDR) imaging. This technology uses multiple images to create a more detailed photograph than older models had the capacity for. They also feature the following:
The video capabilities include an extended dynamic range, as well as stereo recording. These would be beneficial for recording interviews of clients and witnesses.
Additionally, Apple’s TrueDepth Camera System ensures that unlocking the phone will be faster and more consistent than previous versions. Its improved algorithm means that the XS and XS Max are also more secure. Using a faster and safer device keeps digital information at a lawyer’s fingertips without fear of a security breach.
With a starting price of $999 and $1,099 respectively, the iPhone XS and XS Max have pre-order dates in September 2018. They are available in the colors of silver, gold, and space-grey. This generation of smartphones has a frame made from “surgical-grade” stainless steel and improved water-resistance. Therefore, one might consider that this is the last phone he or she will ever need, but that is just not how the technology works. For busy attorneys, these phones do provide better storage and faster access to apps.
As software and digital applications (Apps) continue to be developed, Internet Technology (IT) is embraced by a variety of fields that have hitherto ignored it. In law firms across the country, the old ways have been honored as traditional, respectable, and perhaps even better than modern methods. Increasingly, IT has caught up.
Digital platforms make communication and collaboration easier than ever. Accounting and billing take less time. Calendars and documents are efficiently recorded and filed. They are also easily retrieved. Sometimes, choosing the right system for your law practice is the most difficult part. Presented alphabetically, not in order of rating, here are eight of the top legal apps available in 2018.
In addition to law firms, Actionstep is suitable for use in government and corporate legal teams, as well as investigations and compliance groups. It boasts features that assist firms in running every aspect of the business.
The built-in workflow engine, however, enables firms to automate documents, emails, and other processes. This creates a more efficient business. Although it is reputedly the most complicated element of the software, it is the one that makes the $60 dollar a month fee worthwhile. Fortunately, there is a free trial and a free demo that attorneys can enjoy before committing.
Offering flexible integration with existing management products, Bill4Time accurately tracks time anywhere from any device. The billing and invoicing features include the following:
This app offers a free 14-day trial before committing. It is ideal for companies that prefer the versatility of both cloud and mobile access.
CASEpeer is case-management software designed primarily for Personal Injury Attorneys. It features campaign tracking, customizable case plans, case organization, and task management. Additionally, it provides superior document management, intake management, an integrated calendar, letter generator, as well as litigation and settlement tools. It also keeps track of data points.
A little more expensive at $55 dollars per month, CASEPeer also offers a free demo and online support.
This software provides a variety of intuitive functions. Its billing features include account tracking, document management, and expenditure tracking. It offers case and client history and management, as well as conflict resolution. Clio also boasts document indexing, archiving, and retention.
Since it is cloud-based, attorneys are able to work on their cases anywhere. The monthly rate is $39 dollars, and Clio even offers a free seven-day trial or demonstration.
Law Ruler Software
Popular with law firms of all sizes, Law Ruler focuses on the case and client history and management. Some of its unique features include:
Taking advantage of the free trial allows attorneys to test Law Ruler to see if it is a fit for their firm.
Ideal for small law firms, MyCase offers easy-to-use management software. Among other things, this software features a secure client communication portal. It also provides assistance with billable and non-billable hours, mobile time tracking, case management, document management, task management, and court records searches.
It accounts for multiple billing rates and has a simple calendar management system, complete with programmable reminders. MyCase offers monthly and annually-billed rates.
Practice Panther Legal Software
For a low rate of $39 dollars per month, Practice Panther Legal Software manages the billing and invoicing. It handles the case and client management and history of solo practitioners, as well as small and medium-sized firms.
Other aspects Practice Panther manages include the following:
This software also provides a client portal. It offers online support and a free demo, as well.
With an intuitive and fast interface, Zolaintegrates with LawPay, Quickbooks, and RPost. It is cloud-based, but is also accessible through native iOS and Android Apps. Although it offers most of the features that other products supply, this software boasts its built-in email and robust business and trust accounting aspects. These include accrual accounting, activity tracking, asset gain and loss reporting, check writing, cross ledger posting, and tax management.
Zola is a bit pricier at $49 dollars per month for attorneys and $58 dollars per month for support staff. It does, however offer a free trial.
Choosing the right software for your law firm does not have to be complicated. Begin by determining what features would streamline your process the most. Decide on a reasonable budget. Select from the top legal apps that meet your criteria and price point. Then, take advantage of the free trials and demos of each product. This way, you can invest your time and money in the technology that will provide the most benefit for your firm.
Can Business Benefit From Microsoft Office 365In today’s business world, it’s important for companies to stay ahead of the trends when it comes to the latest in tools for productivity. Office suites like Microsoft’s Office 365 have become popular among organizations hoping for more effective performance and communication.
With Office 365’s subscription plans, users gain access to the full list of Office apps such as Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, and Access, plus so much more.
There are endless benefits associated with Office 365 subscriptions, from the convenient communication tools, to productivity apps intended to help users make the most of their workdays. These apps are updated monthly, so you can be sure you have access to the latest features and security updates available.
Here we’ll explore why a growing number of businesses are turning to Office 365 for their business needs.
Is It Convenient And Accessible?
One major benefit of Office 365 is its accessibility. Installing Office 365 across multiple devices ensures your work goes with you, wherever that may be. Whether you’re browsing from your office computer or mobile phone at home, you can be productive. What’s more, SharePoint makes for easy sharing between coworkers. For instance, if you edit a document from your computer at home, your colleague will be able to view that same file from their phone and see the most up-to-date version of the document.
Since these documents are accessible via the cloud, users are able to customize security settings to be as strict or as lenient as required. Whether you want your entire organization or just a few colleagues to gain access, SharePoint allows for a number of options to ensure proper security for your creative work.
Office 365 also makes it easier to locate content. In office settings, there are many players involved. Once upon a time, workers were forced to go on a wild goose hunt in search of files, which may or may not be stored across any number of employees’ email boxes. Office 365 SharePoint allows one single place to store important documents, photos and communications, so you can find important files when needed most.
Today’s businesses are also on the lookout to improve organizational productivity. Office 365’s Email and Calendar options offer ample mailbox storage, the ability to schedule meetings simply and quickly, and the ability to share your schedule and availability with coworkers and colleagues.
Does Office 365 Provide Enhanced Communication?
Effective communication among coworkers, teams, and departments is crucial for growth within a company. While methods like e-mail are sufficient, the benefits of instant communication can’t be denied. In addition to traditional Email, Office 365 Business provides access to Yammer, Skype for Business and Teams.
In a business landscape with an ever-increasing number of remote workers, effective communication is key, and when it comes to chatting, you’ve got options. Skype For Business is a unified communications platform offering instant messaging, video, and audio conferencing. Online meetings are simple and offer a range of other benefits.
You can immediately see your coworkers’ availability status, share a whiteboard to allow for brainstorming in real-time and share documents on-screen in real time. And with Office 365, management is intended to be easier than ever. From user creation and deletion, to managing passwords, user roles, security and distribution lists, the program’s management tools are built for success.
Does It Have a Chat or Meeting App?
Microsoft Teams is another useful feature found within the Office 365 suite. This takes teamwork to a new level, with the ability to chat, share files, and organize meetings. According to Microsoft, over 200,000 businesses across a total of 181 markets are using Teams to collaborate with their coworkers. Recently, the company has introduced a free version, which includes unlimited chat and searches, built-in audio and video calling, 10GB of team file storage, and numerous apps. With the Teams paid version, you’ll gain access to additional storage, and enterprise security, among other features. While Skype has long been the method of choice for communication on-the-go, many users find the Teams interface to be simpler and more effective for instant feedback from team members.
Microsoft Announces Lift On Device Limits
Eager to enhance the user experience for paid subscribers, Microsoft recently announced a major change to its current subscription service. Beginning October 2, Microsoft will lift its limits on device usage for Office 365 subscribers. While the previous limit allows for 10 devices, users can now utilize Office 365 on an unlimited number of devices.
Office 365 Makes An Impact on Business Growth
Office 365 is making an impact across thousands of businesses, and its benefits stretch far beyond Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint. Office 365 carries with it countless commands that can be of great value to individual users and businesses. If your organization is searching for a means of enhanced productivity and communication, consider all that Office 365 has to offer. It may be just the tool you’re looking for to help your team grow.
Experts agree that the legal sector is not really on the cutting edge when it comes to adopting the latest technology trends. In fact, with the long-standing history of traditional values, it is rare to see widespread use of information technology (IT) in the industry. Even in current years, many law firms prefer to stick with hard copies (paper-based) including books, letters, and legal journals. However, as technology advances, this trend may be a contributing factor in keeping the “slow wheels of justice” at the reduced pace for which it is known.
Fortunately, it is evident that the benefits of legal IT technology outweigh the detriments. In fact, it is equally apparent that implementing the deployment of information technology is possible without disrupting the business. That is key to a successful transformation.
What Prompts Hesitation in the Legal Industry?
In the 2016 State of Digital Transformation Report, Brian Solis and the Altimeter Group conducted a survey of 500 executives. The general consensus was that the main issues included the following:
An additional challenge law firms face is the necessary functionality of the space. In other words, digital upgrades would need to be implemented and perhaps piloted while the regular business continues on. No law firm these days can afford to just close its doors for a few months. These time constraints make it difficult for IT to be introduced and utilized in the legal sector.
Law offices often have a somewhat conservative approach to change, a lack of collaboration, and a tendency to be “set in their ways.” Also, many practices are partner-owned and operated, making the financial risk more personal than it would be for corporations. Lawyers are more likely to take a “wait and see” approach to adding cutting-edge technology.
Why Are the Trends Changing?
Although change is rarely immediate, an increasing number of law firms are acknowledging the need to modernize. Adapting to the digital age is gradual for many attorneys. Perhaps they’re dragging their feet for a few good reasons:
Perhaps a gradient approach, using a pilot group would help initiate the process. With a small team of informed individuals, the steps to introducing stronger legal IT to the remainder of the office would be much smoother.
How Would This Work?
It would likely require a process of educating the potential users about the benefits of digital technology. This would focus on how much time and money it would save. Explain how this advancement could be accomplished without disrupting the day-to-day business.
Furthermore, the top IT Directors or CIOs should understand how the evolution of their existing method of delivery would save money. It would also allow them to provide better service.
Additionally, by moving away from a paper-based system and using an automated self-service portal for IT support, legal professionals can avoid calling a support engineer when something goes wrong. Users can learn from tutorials and self-help articles to fix devices themselves. As law staff become more familiar with the equipment, they develop confidence to interact with new services and equipment. They learn modern skills and a willingness to experiment with what digitalization can do for them.
At the same time, it frees up IT engineers as law staff benefit from learning how to interact with new services. As the law firm moves forward embracing technology, they become open to further changes in the future for a more connected workforce. It has to start somewhere.
What Would Come Next?
A possible next step would be to employ a chatbot, such as Tawkto, which allows legal professionals to communicate with one another, as well as their clients. This enables real-time communication to occur at any time. By engaging their clients outside of scheduled hours, attorneys provide a more satisfying experience.
This would also help law firms that switch to charging their clients based on successful final results, rather than by billable hour. Since they aren’t being paid by the hour, it makes sense to maximize their time. Digital approaches to communication streamline this process.
With a sector that is known for preferring a traditional, more conservative operation, it is even more important to take a gradual, phased approach. The right IT Director can plan accordingly to ensure the comfortable adaptation to increasing legal technology. Though the legal team may never be as adept as the IT technicians themselves, this will help the entire law office, as they attempt to improve their digital resources. With the best legal IT tools, the law office should be able to provide better services for their clients and improve their bottom line.