A modest little piece of office equipment that often gets overlooked could play a critical role in the success of your law practice in 2021.
We’re talking about your office telephone.
“More firms will be looking to modernize their office phone systems so their distributed workforces can continue to communicate with each other, and with clients and callers, from anywhere,” according to legal tech expert Adriana Linares in the Clio Blog. “They’ll look for and to cloud-based systems with softphones, sophisticated features, and direct integration into their practice management systems. Alongside this trend, they will really dig into being able to text with clients via a platform that allows anyone in the firm to participate and also integrates with their PMS.”
Other 2021 tech predictions: more video conferencing, greater use of collaboration tools, and heightened defense against cyber threats.
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6 Law Office Tech Trends for 2021
In her Clio blogpost, Teresa Matich asked top business leaders for their 2021 tech predictions. Here are five trends they highlighted:
- Increased reliance on data analytics to gauge performance. “In 2020, law firms realized they can get work done with less. In 2021, they will now want to see how this transfers into more profit. The technology behind not only capturing the data but building meaningful and easy-to-understand reports to help measure these areas will help drive decision making … identify what work is getting done, by whom, and how efficiently to answer questions like: ‘How profitable is this practice area or attorney/ paralegal?’” (Peggy Gruenke, founder of CPN-Legal, Helping Lawyers Manage Their Finances)
- The password is innovation. “Nearly all the momentum created by the ‘overnight successes’ of the last decade came from rethinking the customer value chain. They didn’t focus on buttons and lights, but rethought how they get people what they want, when they want it, with a great experience. The legal space is in desperate need of that kind of imagination. This year, start small. Test an idea. Use brainstorming and model-testing methods. You may just create the habits the industry needs to deliver better on its promises.” (Mike Whelan, author of Lawyer Forward: Finding Your Place in the Future of Law)
- Cybersecurity looms large. “The most important tech trend for lawyers and legal professionals to follow in 2021 will be cybersecurity. As more of our work transitions to an online or virtual format, we will have to take a more active role in the security of our firms and our client’s confidential information.” (Alycia Kinchloe, Esq., owner of Kinchloe Law)
- Videoconferencing is here to stay. “Videoconferencing will not die with the pandemic. It has quickly become the preferred method of communication for clients who don’t want to meet in person if they don’t have to. Be prepared by streamlining your video conference scheduling to auto-populate and disseminate video conference links to your clients and equip yourself with the tools to present yourself professionally on that call. Both of these things can have a huge impact on the client’s experience and turn them into raving fans.” (Melanie Leonard, Esq., founder, streamlined.legal)
- Subscription legal services will grow in popularity. “The trend will be towards a suite of tech tools to support subscription-focused law firms and the elimination of hourly billing.” (Kimberly Y. Bennett, founder at K Bennett Law)
- Relearning and retraining. “The most important trend will be learning to use the tools we already have. Because of the pandemic, most firms will be struggling to recover economically for a year or two. So firms will look for ways to do more with less—but rather than turning to new tools and new expenses, firms will finally learn to get more value from the tools they have. I hope that what will start as a belt-tightening response will prompt an overall interest in learning and training in your everyday tech, like case management systems and Microsoft Word.” (Ivy B. Grey, VP of Strategy and Business Development, WordRake)
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