Is Your Law Firm Making the Most of Available Tech Tools?
Managing a full case load while in the midst of discovery or litigation is a challenge for any attorney. Keeping up with the daily demands of legal practice often means making full use of tech tools and software systems that streamline or automate as many tasks as possible. This will free up your valuable time for the important work that can’t be done by anyone but you. Learn more below, and contact a Phoenix court reporter for help in handling the logistics of a deposition or hearing.
Tools that can help your firm operate smoothly
Document automation and assembly tools
Most attorneys return to the same form documents again and again, customizing the document as necessary for each case. Document automation and document assembly software can provide automatic customization of existing templates with client information or clauses from a clause library. Some popular paid document automation tools include HotDocs, Pathagoras, and the Form Tool. Free options also exist, such as Microsoft QuickParts and Outlook Signatures.
Document management and cloud computing services
It is critical that attorneys and paralegals are operating off of the most recent version of a document under development. Document management programs can provide document check-in and check-out functions, provide labeling and tagging functions, provide system-wide search functions, and integrate with the document storage systems you already use. Some popular document management services include NetDocuments and Worldox.
If your firm is involved in litigation in multiple states or countries, or you have a number of remote employees, some form of cloud document storage such as Google Drive or Dropbox is a must. That said, be sure to check whether your state’s Bar association has published ethics opinions on cloud document storage for documents covered by attorney/client privilege. Here in Arizona, attorneys may use cloud storage systems so long as attorneys use reasonable security precautions, such as by using a form of encryption on client files, becoming versed in computer security measures (or working with an expert to develop such a policy), and periodically reviewing existing safety measures.
Practice management software
By now, you’re likely aware of the existence of case management or practice management systems, some of which include the features described above. Law firm management systems can include time-tracking, billing, email archiving, contact management (with conflict checking abilities), calendar management, and document automation and management. These systems are frequently cloud-based. Clio, Rocket Matter, Firm Central, Smokeball, Merus Case, Action Step, and Time Matters are but a small sampling of the options available. While you may experience serious growing pains when introducing such a system to your firm and teaching your staff how best to use it, properly-used case management systems can save your firm hours of time and expense.
Communicating with clients
If you’re a solo practitioner or work in a very small firm, you may not have the need or budget for a full-time receptionist or office manager. That said, you’re probably not always available to answer the phone whenever it rings. Attorneys can use services such as Ruby Receptionists to provide phone answering services by trained receptionists. This program also provides a smartphone app that allows you to call out from your business number and forward calls to Ruby rather than answer them yourself.
If you are in search of skilled, seasoned court reporting or videoconferencing services in Arizona, contact the Phoenix offices of Ottmar & Associates at 602-485-1488.