Everyone is familiar with the expression "time is money," but it's especially true for lawyers who use billable hours. Attorneys who spend too many hours on administrative tasks could be wasting time they need to do important work on their cases. Inefficient workflows jeopardize the profitability of the firm.
Technology is becoming more important, whether firms are prepared or not
The legal industry has been slow to adopt new technology, and it could be harming firms. While lawyers may be adept at tracking hours and recording codes for client billing, they only have the basic skills in other programs, such as Microsoft Word, Outlook, Excel and Adobe Acrobat. which are not enough. All of these programs have the potential to streamline workflow for lawyers, but gaps in knowledge impair their ability to accomplish tasks.
Casey Flaherty, corporate counsel for Kia Motors America, Inc., designed a technology competency audit to test firms on basic office program skills. The test has three tasks that can include formatting a motion in Word, creating an arbitration index in Excel or formatting a contract. Flaherty can complete the audit in 30 minutes and set one hour as a passing score. In the times he has administered the audit, all the associates have failed. The longest length of time for three tasks was eight hours. It's clear that a lack of technology savvy could be holding some firms back.
In addition, clients expect lawyers to use the latest technology. Mobile devices and the Internet have opened up a new world of possibilities. Law firms do not need to send clients a large stack of paperwork. Many documents can be sent electronically, which saves time and cuts costs. As the business of law continues to become more competitive, firms must meet these client expectations to maintain a strategic advantage. If lawyers don't adapt now, firms could fall behind.
How to improve technology use when there's no time
Many lawyers are already pressed for time, which is stressful when they need to learn to use new systems. When it comes to immigration law, different processes have strict deadlines. However, firms need to make time to learn about technology and implement processes that will save time in the long run.
Most lawyers have enough awareness of the functionality of their billing software to track their hours, but they may be overlooking shortcuts that would save them time, such as text expansion, duplication and hot keys. These features are useful for repetitive tasks and can save time when entering information. Attorneys need to know the most efficient way to work with all the software they use when performing tasks to avoid missing billable time.
Although learning shortcuts takes time that lawyers feel like they don't have, it can help firms establish more efficient processes. Attorneys will be able to save minutes or even hours in the future. Shortcuts and hot keys in Word and Outlook are essential for a number of tasks, but it's also important for employees to have a strong working knowledge of how to use the firm's case management software in relation to these programs.
INSZoom saves immigration law firms time and money
Firms may have multiple inefficiencies they don't know about. INSZoom's case management software allows lawyers to create a streamlined workflow and cut down on the length of time it takes to file visa petitions. INSZoom helped one firm cut the process in half simply by using the platform's email and letter templates.