The legal industry is facing an increase in client demand and a shortage of legal workers. At the same time, legal matters are growing more complex and time-intensive.
For many legal professionals, this has meant longer and longer work hours—followed by burnout and job retention problems.
It doesn’t have to be this way. The age of innovation is bringing real benefits to overworked lawyers, calming the chaos, automating rote work, and freeing lawyers to focus on the work that matters most.
Take control of your workload, with these 5 tools for busy lawyers:
1. VoIP integration
Phone calls present a real challenge to busy lawyers. Every ring of the phone is a potential interruption, distracting you from other important work. But if you ignore them, they easily become lost and forgotten. Sometimes it feels like you must either live at the mercy of your phone, or neglect and enrage your clients.
But there’s another way. If you can get control of your phone activity and bring it into your workflow, you can set priorities, route calls, assign tasks, stay in touch with clients, and move your intake efforts forward.
The solution is a good Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) provider, integrated with your case management software. These tools bring phone data into your legal work platform. Your entire firm’s phone activity is centralized and tracked, keeping a record of your communication and allowing you to easily assign follow-up.
You can even view a transcription of your missed voicemails with the right VoIP integration provider, so you can not only save time on processing voicemails, but also keep a more thorough record of communication.
Tools like RingCentral integrate with Filevine, giving you control over the chaos.
2. Automatic document generator
When you’re under pressure, you can’t be draining away your time rewriting routine documents. You also shouldn’t have to bring up templates and manually enter data from your case files. Let technology take care of it for you.
Automatic document generators pull information directly from your case files and drop it in the right spots of your template. With a click of a button, you have an accurate, formatted, high-quality document. Not only does this save you and your staff time, it also ensures that all the communication coming from your firm maintains high standards and a unified, professional voice.
When you’re looking for document management tools, make sure they have other time-saving features. Optical character recognition scans and indexes all your pdfs and images, allowing you to find them when you search for text on the page. PDF editing tools help you annotate, redact, and stamp your documents without taking time to print and rescan. Tools that allow you to edit in place cut out the time it takes to download and reupload your documents.
3. Cloud-based case management
You don’t want to just sit around when you’re stuck waiting in court or delayed at an airport. These time sinks can become productive work, if you’ve got access to your case files, calendars, and task lists.
The simplest way to make this happen is through cloud-based case management software. There’s no need for special software or complicated remote access permissions. With a single log-on from any device you can get to work. While other legal professionals are twiddling their thumbs, you can be completing important tasks.
4. eSignature software
As a busy lawyer, you need your matters to move forward swiftly. You can’t afford a swarm of hang-ups and hiccups demanding extra work and attention.
This is particularly true with signature retrieval. The simple act of getting a document signed can be held up by any number of problems. The form gets lost in the mail or a cluttered email inbox, or the signer doesn’t have the hardware they need to print and scan their form. In the meantime, progress screeches to a halt.
Good eSignature software can iron out the wrinkles and get forms signed fast. You can send the form through email or—better yet—text message (far more text messages are opened and read than emails), and the recipient can securely add their electronic signature, without needing any special hardware or software.
Look for technology that allows you to use document templates, auto-fills the signer info, and allows for multiple signers and countersigned in one form. You also want to be able to monitor the progress of your form—to see whether the recipient has opened it yet
Once more, integration is key. The eSignature platform Vinesign is fully integrated with Filevine. That means you can request signatures from inside Filevine with just one click, and automatically port signed documents into the relevant case file.
5. Contract management software
Contracts can bog down the entire organization. A slow or confusing negotiation process will hold up your own work, and stop anyone else from being able to move forward.
That’s why more legal professionals are turning to smart contract management tools. These speed the process forward at each phase. Automatically draft contracts using advanced templates; reach agreement faster with real-time collaboration, commenting, and versioning features; and retrieve signatures electronically.
Contract management software like Outlaw can make it much easier and faster to reach agreement.
Whatever the future brings, we know that the practice of law will only grow more complex as time moves on. To thrive in this changing landscape, invest in the tools that will help you master your time, organize complex work, and enhance your productivity.