How to Maintain Productivity During a Crisis

The effects of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) are being felt across the United States. Bulk stores like Costco are seeing runs on items like bottled water and sporting events are being canceled to prevent large crowd gatherings. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expects the virus to continue to spread, everyday life continues to see further disruption. Businesses are postponing travel plans, conferences are being canceled, and employees are being encouraged to work from home — all in an effort to minimize transmission. 

With more employers looking to protect their employees’ health during this outbreak, is your law firm ready to make the transition from in-office to telecommuting? Firms operating on the cloud are able to move their employees back home, without the worry of losing productivity or client case progress. 

A survey conducted by 8×8 at the end of February found that “44 percent of consumers with full-time jobs have already seen coronavirus impact the way they do business, 55 percent have canceled travel plans and are having fewer in-person meetings, and 40 percent are increasing their use of video conferencing.” 

With employers like Twitter, Microsoft, and Amazon advising their employees to work from home, here at eight direct benefits to having your business living on the cloud. 

1. File and Application Access 

When operating on the cloud, all documents and program applications are accessible to users regardless of whether they’re in the office. If an employee needs to work remotely unexpectedly, they won’t panic because their laptop is at the office or they forgot to bring home a stack of manila folders. They can access everything they need to be productive from any device.

2. e-Signatures 

New business shouldn’t stop if you’re away from the office mail or fax machine. If your firm relies on physical signatures, you’re going to struggle to have team members work from home.

Consider adopting a cloud-based e-signature service like DocuSign or AssureSign to send and receive contracts. Not only will this save your staff time, but it will also save your clients and business partners from having to print and mail agreements.

3. Internal Communication

Don’t overlook the importance of internal communication when adopting a remote work model. Productivity and efficiency can slow down when remote workers rely on phone calls and email to communicate. 

Consider using video conferencing tools like Zoom or GoToMeeting so you maintain face-to-face interaction. Cloud-based chat tools, like Slack, allow you to instantly communicate with your team without clogging their inbox.  

4. Constant Collaboration

When using a cloud-based platform, employees can communicate, create, and edit all in real-time with their colleagues. Your team has the ability to edit and comment on the same record, even if they’re in different time zones, and share and comment on internal updates using tools like Salesforce’s Chatter. Plus, having your entire workforce on one platform allows you to see what everyone is working on at-a-glance.

5. Progress Tracking 

Ensuring that remote employees are remaining active and productive can be difficult when not working within a cloud-based platform. Instead, a cloud service like Litify allows for team activities and tasks to be easily tracked and monitored through in-depth reporting and analytic tools. Quickly see which employees are meeting deadlines, which cases are behind, and where you need to devote more attention.

6. Ability to Make Phone Calls 

Rather than depend on employees using personal cell phones or landlines, cloud communication services, like RingCentral, enable individuals to make phone calls through their computers or a dedicated smartphone app. If using a platform like Litify, these phone services can be seamlessly integrated with your CRM. 

It goes without saying, but having a robust CRM is imperative if your team is working remotely. You should be able to access all contact information in the cloud, so you don’t have to hunt through your email to find the phone number of a client or a business partner. 

7. World-Class Security 

With employees working remotely, it is natural to have some security concerns. But as more companies and law firms switch to cloud-based platforms, security measures are in fact increased. No matter where employees are working from, sensitive information is secured. 

Salesforce, for example, uses best-in-class encryption and two-step authentication to ensure users are who they say they are. Never worry about devices being lost or stolen when operating on the cloud. 

8. Better Client Experience

Clients expect exceptional service, regardless of where employees are operating from. Working from the cloud opens the door to new, innovative client features.

When using a platform like Litify, clients can communicate with their attorney via text message, email, phone call, or virtual meeting, and all conversations can be recorded and tracked for future reference. Additionally, secure portals give clients the ability to log in and track their case status and recent updates. 

Questions? We’re Here to Help

Switching to a remote law firm overnight can be stressful. Our team has tips and strategies that may help your transition. Please reach out if you want to know more.

Transforming a Fragmented Legal Industry

In 2016, while other industries were embracing technology to become more efficient and data-driven, one industry was lagging far behind. The legal industry was still reliant on spreadsheets, physical file cabinets, and multiple one-trick technology solutions to manage their businesses. Funding for legal technology was trickling in compared to other industries, reaching a mere $233 million in 2016.

The lawyers who understood how technology could transform their businesses didn’t have access to solutions that could adequately support them. So instead they cobbled together multiple point solutions that only served one purpose, like document management, and were left with a fragmented infrastructure that couldn’t provide the insights and transparency they desperately needed.

Though technology companies were clamoring to help them, they simply didn’t know how to serve an industry that was as complex, fragmented, and differentiated as the legal industry was. 

Litify was born out of this frustration—lawyers who knew there was a better way to manage their casework, and a technology industry that didn’t know how to help them. 

Executives from Salesforce teamed up with the largest law firms in the country with one mission in mind: to marry the best platform technology in existence with the legal knowledge from the top lawyers in the country. 

“We believed that a platform concept using the best technology that’s available, can and should be used for the legal community,” reflects Terry Dohrmann, Litify founding partner and Chief Revenue Officer.

And Litify was born: a state-of-the-art technology platform that could accommodate the unique nuances of the legal world.

Bringing the Most Powerful Cloud Technology to the Legal Industry

To deliver the best technology available, Litify’s founders knew they had only one option. They had to build a platform, one with legal-specific features like matter plans and a robust CRM, that could also integrate with every other solution that a law firm may rely on, in order to create one command center to manage the entire business. 

Salesforce was the only solution. One of the world’s largest cloud technology providers, trusted by organizations like the U.S. Department of Defense and American Express, offered the solid foundation that every business needs—security, analytics, and mobility—while also providing endless ways to customize the platform to support the unique needs of each organization. An open API combined with the Salesforce AppExchange, which includes thousands of apps built specifically for the platform, makes integrations simple.

Litify offers all of the benefits of being built on Salesforce, with the added value of legal-specific features that lawyers need to transform their case management and client relationships. Think dynamic matter plans, time tracking, robust intake capabilities, a fully integrated document management solution, and more. 

But Litify believes that an industry-wide transformation will take more than just putting the most sophisticated technology in the hands of lawyers. We need to educate the industry about what’s possible when real-time analytics, automation, and standardization are at the heart of operations. We need to help legal professionals rethink how they approach their jobs, to become more streamlined and efficient than they ever have before.

Want to join us on this journey? Let us know

Largest-Ever LitiQuest Inspires Lawyers to Embrace A.I and Data

Four hundred legal professionals gathered at the iconic TWA Hotel on November 7-8, 2019 for the third annual LitiQuest NYC. This year’s conference featured inspiring general sessions and dozens of hands-on workshops to help attendees collectively push the legal industry to new heights.

Four hundred legal professionals gathered at the iconic TWA Hotel on November 7-8, 2019 for the third annual LitiQuest NYC. This year’s conference featured inspiring general sessions and dozens of hands-on workshops to help attendees collectively push the legal industry to new heights.

Futurists Peter Coffee and Chrissie Lightfoot shared how machine learning and artificial intelligence will soon shake up law, while lawyers Keith Mitnik, Sam Pond, and John Morgan offered attendees strategies for transforming their businesses.

Here are just a few of the legal technology trends discussed at this year’s LitiQuest NYC.+

1. Rapid change is the new normal

Peter Coffee, Vice President of Strategic Research at Salesforce, opened LitiQuest by warning that the daunting pace of change we’re currently experiencing is the slowest it will be for the rest of our lives. 

As companies rush to deliver the next revolutionary product or program, it’s up to lawyers to be the cautionary voices in the room. Invasions of privacy are now rampant, with unlawful tracking and selling of private data making headlines every day, and new inventions like self-driving cars aren’t as foolproof as we’d like them to be. Coffee urged lawyers to use their positions of authority to ensure innovation doesn’t come at the expense of consumer privacy or safety. 

The cataclysmic changes we’re seeing, Coffee shared, are akin to sonic booms. If we don’t get ahead of them and understand how to properly “surf” the shock waves, we’ll be left unequipped to handle this new normal.

2. A.I. is more sophisticated than you think

Soft skills that we thought would always give humans the clear advantage over machines, like strategic thinking, empathy, and intuition, are no longer unique to humans. Robots are now capable of these soft skills, too, Chrissie Lightfoot, CEO of EntrepreneurLawyer and Robot Lawyer LISA, pointed out. 

Rather than replace human lawyers, A.I. lawyers will fill holes where human lawyers aren’t currently present, and do the tasks that human lawyers don’t want to do or can’t do as efficiently as their robot counterparts. Tasks like legal research and contract review, for example, are areas where machines can help supplement the work of human lawyers. 

By embracing A.I., the legal industry will evolve at a much faster rate. In the future, Lightfoot revealed, we’ll see human lawyers and A.I. lawyers working side-by-side to resolve cases.

The Many Faces of Risk Mitigation at Your Firm

Every good legal professional knows the importance of protecting their firm from the mishaps and misfortunes that will inevitably occur. It can be hard enough to provide quality representation to clients when everything goes exactly right, but what happens when there is an error? A paralegal misses a deadline, a lawyer doesn’t properly notify a client of a turn-down, an employee with one foot out the door mistreats a public servant – all things that unfortunately can occur, and often do. Regardless of what procedures you have or what program you have to manage those processes, there is always the human error factor that is difficult to overcome. Thankfully, however, it is not impossible to minimize or eliminate.

The American Bar Association has a committee which issues a study every four years on the state of legal malpractice claims. This study, “Profile of Legal Malpractice Claims: 2012–2015,” indicates that over 20 percent of all legal malpractice claims can be attributed to administrative errors, such as the failure to timely file documents, or the failure to calendar properly. The good news is the study indicates there is a decrease in these clerical claims. With firms adopting technology to help with deadlines and many other administrative tasks, hopefully firms continue to see a decrease in the number of these claims.

Every Firm Manager and Senior Partner knows that insurance is vital to your firm’s long term health equally as it is in making every effort to avoid those mistakes in the first place. The evolution of technology has spawned many different case management systems over the past quarter century, however, most have not evolved with technology. UNTIL recently, a trend has emerged where combining a comprehensive insurance policy with technology that manages operations not just cases, but the entire cradle to grave legal process, protects the individuals and the firm.

Case Study:
Here is a real life example of legal malpractice claim that occurred due to lack of sophistication within the firms case management software. This claim resulted in the firm paying their full deductible which was in excess of $250,000 and its carrier shelled out an additional $3.2MM, which drove up the firms insurance costs for 5+ years during the timeline required for reporting.

A large, well established plaintiff’s litigation firm that originated cases in multiple judicial jurisdictions across the country had been a long-time user of a very well-known, case management system. With a diverse practice and high volume of work, there became a need to circumvent systems to verify and input the statute of limitations date connected with a number matters.

However, this ultimately became unmanageable and eventually caught up to bite the firm in the rear end, as well as, the bottom line. The end result was numerous blown statute of limitations claims with hard costs incurred of nearly $4MM and soft costs estimated to be significant.

Fast forward to today’s availability of evolutionary case management systems and the customizations available to the individual firm’s, the above scenario would have never happened to this firm. IT CAN BE AVOIDED. It’s a whole new world for the present day law firm and you should embrace it!

Malpractice and Cyber Security
We’ve all been driving along and we can feel that something is wrong, but we usually just keep driving praying that somehow, some way it will pass. Occasionally it does but more often it is an indicator of something worse to come. Many firm operators have the same reaction when reviewing their internal policies, processes, systems and personnel. More often than not we find that most firms just throw money or more bodies at the problem. It’s just the same old habits that are hard to break – they know there are problems but just hope that nothing comes of it.

The dangers of this approach increase each day as new threats from hackers, mistakes and malfeasance can literally cripple a firm. To combat this the proper approach is to educate yourself, inform your staff and make the necessary investments ahead of time. Choosing the right partners and technology options is not easy and best practice is to lean on industry experts for advice.

Suspenders and a Belt
“The reality is firms need to be both proactive and reactive to fully protect themselves. They need comprehensive insurance coverage and the ability to track and control their data.” says Michael P. Shea, President of Shea Barclay Group, a Tampa-based insurance broker. He continues, “In fact we work with carriers who will actually incentivize clients with discounts and premium credits if they utilize technology that allows for automation and transparency. I mean think about it? If you have a program in place that almost completely eliminates human error then you are going to be a better firm and a better risk. It’s almost risk mitigation 101 in my eyes.”

1 – It can feel to the modern attorney that the earth is moving under their feet. Providing quality representation to their clients remains the #1 job, however it is imperative to be mindful of these other elements. It is a known fact that success today involves….
2 – Implementing Technology platforms that enable users to do their job safely and effectively, and
Diligently preparing for the known (and unknown) dangers facing today’s firms with proper insurance coverage.

Article written in collaboration with:
Michael P. Shea, President of Shea Barclay Group