Is Your IT Deparment Innovative Enough?

Posted by Arup Das on February 16, 2018

Today’s clients want an attorney-client relationship that is enhanced by applications offering transparency and real-time information, not the traditional exchange of case files and documents that were the hallmark of past decades. In short, digital transformation is here and law firms must convert their practices accordingly if they want to be successful in the digital age. 

Digital Transformation

Gone are the days when a law firm’s IT department could serve as little more than an on-site tech support call center. IT departments now need to focus on creating applications that allow clients to see up-to-date information on what their lawyers are doing and how their cases are progressing. Innovative tools like digital dashboards that provide real-time updates are what keep today’s clients happy and coming back with more work.

Law firms need to take the technology they have and figure out new ways to pair it with the work they do, adding a layer of digital transformation that provides clients with tools to connect with the firm. The medium of choice is no longer a web browser but rather applications designed for smartphones and mobile devices. This is the age of the mobile lawyer, and attorneys need to be able to digitally control their work just as they do every other aspect of their lives.

Today’s clients expect to see their lawyers using technology to come up with progressive ways of practicing law that differentiate them from their competitors — and your competitors know this. They are focusing on innovation. If you are not, it is only a matter of time until your clients start looking elsewhere.

Maximizing Resources with AI

With today’s technological advances, law firms have the ability to grow business and increase profits in ways that never before existed. Successful firms are utilizing their IT departments as sources of competitive intelligence that help them generate new business. Among the most sophisticated tools in their intelligence arsenal are those employing AI.

AI allows firms to review their current client portfolios and revenue streams to see how resources are being used and to optimize staffing. Firms can develop new avenues of business with existing clients by assessing client issues outside of matters handled by the firm and making targeted offerings of additional services. Similarly, by reviewing external data and market information, firms can optimize existing resources by focusing on new areas where they can be competitive. Unique tools and a commitment to developing cutting-edge applications are critical factors in attracting new clients in the digital age. IT departments need to focus on innovation and incorporating AI into the DNA of the firm to answer fundamental questions like how to keep customers close, predict litigation outcomes from the outset and determine which lateral partner candidates will excel. Efficiently answering these questions will increase business and have a huge impact on firm profitability.

Focusing on Innovation

With the shifting ground in the legal IT marketplace, cost savings and resource allocation have become key. To contain costs while meeting new demands, many firms are turning to outside parties. Outsourcing traditional IT and infrastructure functions frees up internal resources and allows existing staff to focus on innovation. Letting an external company handle the day-to-day operations allows internal experts to work on developing the applications that keep existing clients happy and help land new ones. Internal teams can also focus on analyzing firm data to offer clients transparency through real-time reporting on things like overall spending, case status and billable hour allocation.

Many firms are also turning to practice innovation groups to bridge the gap between legal and tech. These groups observe how the lawyers work and how the technology works and then report to management on both sides of the firm about how they could do better at working at together. The result is an often-dramatic increase in a firm’s abilities to give their lawyers what they need and to deliver work product in the ways clients want it.

In today’s digital world, law firms need to embrace technology and focus on developing applications that differentiate them from the competition in order to develop and retain client business. The traditional IT department is a relic of the past. If you are not focusing your IT resources on digital transformation, you will soon be left behind.

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