If before the pandemic, using certain technologies was a differentiation factor, today's reality is different: those who do not use them can hardly survive! Digital transformation is happening in all economic areas, changing people's behaviours and preferences and the law practice area is no different.
This fourth industrial revolution - the so-called digital era - not only introduces new technologies of automation and artificial intelligence, but also other significant changes, such as the integration between the various devices, software and users.
Every day new ideas, businesses and even legal relationships based on solutions and technological environments emerge, so the 4.0 revolution also imposes itself in more traditional activities such as law practice. But this is a challenge that must be faced with optimism, since this new digital era provides the personalization and rationalization of production processes that often translate into greater efficiency and productivity, with lower costs.
However, it is important to realize that digital transformation is not a destination per se, but a journey that must begin without a definite final destination, because the world in which we live is constantly changing. On this path, there are usually several development stages, so it is decisive to understand the stage of digital maturity your business is at, and take action accordingly.
Many law firms are still at the stage of incorporating technology, i.e. a maturity stage where the manager already understands the importance of technological resources to generate value to his/her business, but is in a transition phase.
So, in order for your office to definitely enter the 4.0 era, check below some essential ideas.
1. Stimulate an innovative mindset
Digital transformation success depends on people, so lawyers need to develop an innovative mindset, have a holistic and multidisciplinary vision, be autonomous, creative and capable of adaptation.
Of course, not all people have these characteristics innately, but they can be developed over time with some simple techniques:
- Raising horizons (thinking about alternative ideas and "outside the box", sometimes even outside the business environment, for example);
- Asking questions (asking "why", "why not", "and if"; not accepting answers like "because it was always done this way”; imagining opposite ways of doing things; being curious... An interesting exercise is, for example, writing daily questions about office’s or department’s the problems, competitors, activity area, etc);
- Observing (look for details to get inspiration; use the 3C's technique to observe: customers, competitors, countries, etc...);
- Networking (sharing ideas with friends, co-workers or partners. Diversity is important because people from different backgrounds, ages, nationalities, etc. help generate new ideas and adapt existing solutions to different environments);
- Believing in your potential (innovating depends on daring and courage and to believe that a new technological solution for the office is fundamental. This not forgetting that seeking the perfect solution often prevents its implementation).
2. Having an "innovation agent"
Did you know that Netflix went through an evolutionary process until it reached today's model? It started with DVD's rental over the Internet and is currently the largest platform for streaming movies and series. This means that there was an "innovation agent", attentive and able to point out emerging trends and innovations and that, above all, knew how to propose a change in the organizational culture.
But is it possible to apply this "agent" to law practice?
Of course it is! All you need to do is be attentive to the technological solutions that can be applied in your office or legal department and propose their implementation, guiding colleagues on the advantages of their use. This "agent" has a fundamental role as it allows you to anticipate and help make the right decisions, at the right time.
3. Using Project Management
In any area, project management is increasingly frequent in companies or departments.
A project is considered everything that has a beginning, middle and end and that must be correctly planned and managed in order to achieve the defined goals.
In legal practice it is also essential that the lawyer develops this capacity to manage projects, together with the other members of his/her team and client. It is therefore vital to use a simple organisational system shared by all.
It is frequent that, for example in corporate legal departments, employees participate in projects of different areas, with new colleagues, with other offices and in a mobility scheme. Fortunately, there are already numerous collaborative task management platforms, such as Rolling Legal, which allow constant assignment, interaction and monitoring of tasks of the entire work team.
4. Investing in digital solutions
With 5G technology entering the telecommunications market, the incentive to transform business management will be even greater.
To be a 4.0 lawyer, you must increasingly offer your stakeholders the possibility of enjoying this high-speed environment and this will only be possible if you consider as an investment the expenses with the acquisition and implementation of digital tools.
Along with the increasing internet speed, comes a growing tendency to use storage systems in the cloud, which offer countless advantages. Among others, a few stand out:
- the ability to work anywhere and from different devices;
- the instant access to information and applications;
- lower chance of data loss;
- reduction of storage costs compared to physical infrastructures;
- higher processing speed;
- greater capacity for integration;
- ensuring you have a permanently updated security system;
- lower power consumption due to shared and optimized resources...
Cloud platforms make information access and management possible for both the lawyer and the client, providing an advantage in terms of greater organizational efficiency. In this way, the dynamism of the legal profession will be favoured by this type of platforms that make it possible working from any place where there is available internet, with the additional benefit of offering the possibility of carefully sharing documents with fellow lawyers.
Having a platform such as Rolling Legal is definitely a fundamental step towards becoming a digital lawyer. This is a cloud management solution for law firms and legal departments. The platform offers a simple system to automate processes, control time and fee notes, companies, contracts, among others. All this available through a browser, smartphone or tablet. Thus, the office or department focuses its energies on what technology is not capable of replacing: strategic management.
In conclusion, the key idea is that the digital transformation passes mainly through a strategy, more than a mere technology. There is no simple digital strategy, but a global business strategy, supported by digital tools.
Digital age transformations certainly cause sudden changes and break paradigms, which leaves many people suspicious. However, it is necessary to face the transformations and see them, if not as an opportunity for constant evolution, at least as an irreversible path from which we cannot escape.
With technological changes at a crazy speed, only those who are able and willing to adapt will benefit!