Solo and small firm lawyers often find it difficult to compete with larger legal organisations in terms of resources and costs. But thanks to the increasing accessibility and affordability of technology, the playing field is being levelled all the time.
The latest software packages are helping lawyers and law firms to network digitally with more prospects than ever before. In addition, technology is helping smaller organisations to reduce their costs — allowing them to compete with larger, more established firms on service and price. Stated simply: building a client base and developing a reputation within the legal industry is easier and cheaper than ever before.
The huge advantages associated with the use of law firm technology are clear. And according to the statistics, solo and small law firms are embracing the latest developments in hardware and software in order to improve efficiency, profitability and client satisfaction. The results of the 2016 ILTA/InsideLegal Technology Purchasing Survey are out, and they demonstrate just how important the use of technology is to lawyers right now.
This year’s survey includes data from law firms of all sizes and reputations, but the responses from solo and small firms were particularly interesting. When asked about their expenditure on technology in 2016, 39% of respondents said they planned to increase it. And on the top of most shopping lists was Cloud computing solutions.
Cloud computing benefits law firms in a number of ways
Most established law firms have already made significant improvements to their technology infrastructure during the last decade. But one area of business tech that is still growing at an astonishing rate is Cloud computing, and there are several reasons why.
While larger firms tend to take the relatively cautious approach of implementing Cloud-based systems for individual applications, a growing number of new and small firms are basing their entire operation in the Cloud. And why are they doing this? Firms see a great opportunity to take advantage of emerging technologies such as analytics, AI, mobile solutions and automation.
According to the ILTA/InsideLegal Technology Purchasing Survey, 62% of firms said they made the switch to the Cloud because of the versatility and mobility it offers. Just over half of respondents said they made the switch because of the flexibility it offers, while around a third said the efficiencies involved were behind the decision.
In an increasingly competitive and crowded marketplace, competing with large and established law firms is becoming more and more difficult. By making the switch to Cloud-based services such as IPzen, solo operators and small firms can increase their client base without increasing their cost base. The efficiencies and operational advantages delivered by Cloud-based solutions can be achieved without the significant outlay physical IT systems require. It is therefore easy to see why 61% of small firm lawyers indicated that more than half their firm’s services would be based in the Cloud within three years.
Globalisation and the need for flexible working are now part and parcel of the modern World. By making files, documents and data universally available to those who need it, law firms can operate anywhere in the world with a reliable Internet connection. Data stored centrally in accessible file formats makes remote working and remote collaboration easy. This was evident from the survey results, which revealed that 34% of respondents had purchased Cloud storage within the last year. And 25% said they would be investing in Cloud storage during the next 12 months — up from 16% last year.
Case management software
Case management software such as IPzen is helping law firms to streamline their operations, reduce costs and deliver a more complete service to their clients. And according to the survey, the use of such software is on the rise. In 2016, 12% of respondents revealed that their firms had bought a case management software system during the previous 12 months. In addition, 10% said their law firm will be making such an investment over the course of the next year — compared with just 8% the year before.
As well as making case management more efficient — thus more profitable — IPzen takes control of billing too. And according to the survey, this is growing increasingly important for law firms. Remote time entry was implemented in 16% of the law firms questioned in 2016. Moreover, 18% of respondents said that their firm would be implementing such a system in the coming year.
The move towards paperless operations continues
It seems that an increasing number of law firms are moving towards paperless operations. The survey revealed that small operations in particular are keen to embrace paperless technology wherever possible. The results revealed that 47% of all technology purchases made over the last year were for scanning and imaging equipment. The ability to create a virtual filing system in the Cloud — which can be accessed from anywhere in the World — is why IPzen is particularly popular with small and medium-sized law firms.
Automated security features
Small and solo law firms simply don’t have the resources to hire full-time, salaried IT staff. So issues such as security and system updates need to be planned very carefully. The automated security updates and virus protection offered by Cloud-based law firm management tools such as IPzen take the element of chance away from what is a crucial facet of managing any IT system. The survey demonstrates just how important this is to law firms, as it revealed that 45% of all purchases during the past year were related to antivirus and antispam software.
Make your small law firm more efficient and profitable with IPzen
IPzen is a Cloud-based suite of tools designed to help law firms streamline their operation, grow their bottom line and improve customer satisfaction.
From anywhere in the world, lawyers can access powerful case management software, trademark portfolio management tools, domain watch services, IP rights watch services and client billing services.
Safe, secure and user-friendly, IPzen has been developed by lawyers for lawyers. But if you want to see proof, contact us today for a free, no-obligation online demonstration of this powerful law firm management system in action.