The 2016 UK 200: Business Services survey, which looks at current trends in the UK legal market, revealed that in the last 12 months, 84% of law firms have moved technological investment higher up their strategic agenda.
In our experience, bringing their technology up-to-date will overcome some of the common IT issues many law firms currently face. Here are the top 5 that our clients come to us with:
Compliance is an ever-changing landscape, but law firms have to make sure they’re up-to-date. Despite the publicity over the forth-coming GDPR laws, if a law firm is fully compliant with the Data Protection Act, they will have minimal work to be GDPR compliant. One of the main changes will be that all firms will be obliged to report any data breaches and, if they are non-compliant, they face massive fines.
2 An increasingly mobile workforce
Now that the younger members of staff coming into the workforce are asking for more flexible working, law firms are discovering their systems are not geared to accommodate the changing landscape. They are therefore experiencing problems caused by an IT infrastructure not capable of providing secure remote access or meeting the performance needs of a mobile workforce.
3 Finding information
Alongside law firms’ increasing reliance on electronic record keeping, more and more data is being generated. If companies do not enforce strict rules about where things are stored, documentation becomes increasingly difficult to find. There is also the problem that whilst employees email information to each other, if someone has been omitted from the strand, they will not have access to the information they need. What law firms need to be looking at are document management systems, such as NetDocuments, which efficiently handles document storage to make it easy for everyone concerned to file and find the information they need.
4 Ageing hardware
As money becomes tighter, many law firms choose to battle on with older hardware – even when it becomes inefficient and unreliable – under the misguided notion that by not replacing it, they are saving money. The direct costs of hardware are typically calculated over a five year lifespan; companies that do not replace equipment after that may think they are saving money, but the costs are still there, albeit less visible. Law firms that keep inefficient hardware will continue to pay for it in the form of inefficiencies which impact on user time – when the technology slows down, it erodes the billable hours lawyers can charge for.
Paper documents are the mainstay of law firms and they are wasting an inordinate amount of paper and ink printing them out. The main problem with this is the enormous expense involved in printing them out. Added to which is the fact that many law firms are based in older buildings resulting in staff sharing more smaller offices, most of which is fitted with its inkjet or laser printers. The toner or ink cartridges for these printers are hugely expensive, making it even more costly to print things out than would be the case with a large, centrally placed printer.
With the right technology, the need to print things out can be mitigated, which will immediately save significant amounts of money on ink and paper.
If your law firm recognises these IT issues and would like to do something about it, contact us to arrange an appointment.