Law firms need to focus on the law, not on the technology that can help them become more productive.
It’s a Catch 22. Your law practice is successful and growing fast. You’re hiring more attorneys and taking on high-profile cases. But your technology isn’t keeping up. PCs have become outdated and in some cases, unsecured. The server room is a jumble of servers and cables. The network sometimes crashes, which is particularly embarrassing if it happens in the middle of a client presentation.
Nevertheless, you want to focus on the business of law, not on IT.
Technology should enable efficiency gains, increase your productivity and help your firm grow. But in many businesses, it falls short. A survey conducted by IDC, commissioned by Ricoh, found that half of employees need access to more than six databases to get their jobs done, yet only 18 percent of companies enable search across all databases. And just 27 percent of organizations provide collaboration tools to all employees.
Get a fresh outlook with an outsourcing partner
To alleviate such silos, I recommend seeking a qualified outsourcing partner that can not only deliver the latest technology, but also bring a fresh, critical eye to your operations. The combination can result in dramatic efficiency improvements. In fact, using an outsourcing partner is the choice of more and more firms as evidenced by the recent ILTA/InsideLegal Technology Purchasing study that cited 92 percent of respondents use outside technology consultants.¹
Our team has worked with a firm that had grown from three lawyers to more than 50 with offices across the United States. It was representing major corporations, including several Fortune 500 companies. It lacked the manpower to keep PCs and servers patched and updated, which not only caused technical problems but made the firm more vulnerable to hackers. Staff complained about the slow and unstable network. When they had a problem with a PC, it took hours – sometimes days – to get it resolved. What’s more, lack of IT support inhibited the firm’s growth by making it difficult to add new office locations and new employees.
The firm needed stable technology, faster response times (both by the network and by technical support staff), and reliable, regular maintenance of equipment. Yet, the partners preferred investing in more legal talent rather than technical staff. That made outsourcing the right choice for this firm. A service provider would support technology across the organization, handle the most time-consuming tasks, ensure high PC and network uptime and security, and proactively upgrade and maintain the IT system. By paying a monthly fee, the firm would have predictable IT costs, reliable technology and peace of mind.
The solution was a partner that provided 24/7 remote support for the firm’s data center and up to 20 hours of on-site support. The partner designated one person as its single point of contact, who was to collaborate primarily with the firm’s in-house IT coordinator. This created a communications channel that streamlined the identification and resolution of problems. It also enabled the outsourcer to anticipate the firm’s needs, including planning and installing IT in new or relocated offices and developing a schedule for upgrading computers over the course of a year.
As a result, the law firm saw the efficiency benefits of well-implemented technology without having to divert its attention from practicing law and serving its clients.
- 1. Source: "2015 ILTA/InsideLegal Technology Purchasing Survey." International Legal Technology Association and InsideLegal. August, 2015. http://insidelegal.typepad.com.