Digital technology is fundamentally transforming the way that law offices do business. These changes will continue to change the face of law firms in the 21st century, and the coming years will probably see a more competitive marketplace. Nevertheless, the legal industry as a whole is expected to grow over time. This will make many in the industry view technology updates as an investment more than expenditure. Keeping up to date will help to ensure that legal businesses stay competitive in the years to come.
Necessary Technology Updates
While attorneys perform a needed service for their clients, they have to ensure that they still think of their practices as businesses. As expenses go up, law firms are looking for new business opportunities in order to protect their bottom lines.
E-Discovery is a field that some are turning to in order to do so. There were a number of recent amendments to regulations outlined in Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. These rule changes make it so that information that was stored electronically are discoverable in litigation. Electronically stored information can now be used in lawsuits.
Electronic discovery options are lucrative for law firms that are equipped to offer them. Instant messages, voicemail, e-calendar data, information from handheld devices, computer graphics and e-mails are all fair game if they’re collected in a legal fashion.
Law firms need to make investments in technology and personnel in order to take advantage of this rapidly emerging field. Many organizations lack the type of experience necessary to make the right choices. Those that are able to are finding that this kind of evidence can help them in the court of law, so they’re not balking at spending when it comes to necessary updates.
Paradigm Shifts are Free
Not all technology-based changes will cost firms money, and law firms who use free sources wisely are reaping some major benefits as a result. Social networking, for instance, is starting to transform how law is practiced. Legal professionals have numerous social media tools at their disposal, and many of them are inexpensive or even free.
Legal professionals can use these tools to aid in their job hunts, recruit other employees, manage careers and interact with clients. Law offices that are particularly savvy have started to use them to locate and even discredit witnesses.
Some established professionals have looked to the Internet to increase their business as well. Take Bob Bratt, for instance. Despite being the Chief Operating Officer of legal giant DLA Piper, he hasn’t considered himself too big to increase his presence online. Legal professionals will continue to follow suit and start to setup their own profiles if they haven’t already. While it might come as a surprise to those who have maintained a major social networking presence for years, many people in the legal profession have been very slow to adapt to Internet trends.