The Tech Savvy Lawyer – Web Technologies And Legal Firms


The Legal Industry & Information Technology

Like all different industries, the prison industry is not insulated from the great changes in statistics generation over the past decade, and the demanding situations and opportunities it affords. If anything, the changes have more concerning regulation firms & departments because records control is at the core of what they do – consulting with customers, colleagues or professionals; growing compliance & law needs, wading via a constantly expanding sea of rules and case law; handling outsourcing partners; keeping abreast with today’s tendencies; or handling a mountain of depend files.

Recent Trends

Perhaps the most full-size alternate inside the criminal services enterprise the decline of “courting lawyering”.

Recent times have seen accelerated opposition, & modifications in underlying marketplace shape. There has been a continuing fashion of decline of “courting lawyering”. Traditionally robust relationships among law corporations and corporates are eroding, with extra organizations opting for in-residence felony departments, or “purchasing around” for the excellent deal. Another massive trend is the increasing convergence of felony markets, in which competition is as in all likelihood to come from a firm in any other kingdom or remote places as from a local company. These & different traits are exerting extra pressures on criminal companies to be extra efficient, an it’s miles vital that lawyers spend their time studying statistics, in preference to organizing or coping with it. Web Technologies

Drivers of Technology Adoption by means of Legal Firms

Possibilities of Technology – The primary driver of greater use of statistics generation via prison companies is traits in technology itself. New technology & greater bandwidths allow incredible opportunities inside the arenas of facts management, productivity and far off collaboration. Information may be moved over the net with extra protection. And in contrast to yesteryear, regulation companies can access those technology with out hefty charges and the want to set up specialised IT departments.

In 2004, Forrester Research Inc estimated that a few 39,000 felony jobs will have moved offshore by using the cease of 2008.

Outsourcing/Offshoring – Legal companies are actually more and more open to criminal manner outsourcing of responsibilities they traditionally held close – studies, transcription, coding and even prison studies and the drafting of felony files. It is common to look a NY primarily based law company, subletting studies paintings to a group of professional lawyers & paralegals in Bangalore, India. This permits companies to majorly cut down costs & focus on core legal features. But it additionally necessitates a greater want to speak, collaborate & reveal the functioning of outsourcing vendors masses or thousands of miles away. Security is also an issue, given that overall performance of the services regularly calls for access to regulated customer facts or other touchy data.

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In 2004, nearly 60% of legal professionals labored at multi-workplace firms and over 10% of lawyers work at firms with ten or greater offices.

Geographic Diversification – As stated earlier than, there may be a awesome movement towards more than one workplace firms, with workplaces spread both nationally and globally. US-based total agencies at the moment are serving many foreign customers, or serving foreign pursuits of domestic customers. There turned into a sizable presence of international clients in even the smallest law firms of one to twenty lawyers. There has additionally been a spate of global mergers and acquisitions of regulation firms in the new millennia. All this necessitates a more want for communication, collaboration and facts exchange between branches.

Regulatory Compliance – Since the Sarbanes-Oxley Act got here into effect, information control has come to be an essential requirement. Organizations are required by means of regulation to keep sure files for predefined periods. Also, the amendments to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure went into effect on December 1, 2006, and practice to any firm involved in litigation within the U.S. Federal Court system. The amendments mandate that companies be organized for electronic discovery. Firms ought to substantially regulate the way they hold, retrieve and bring digital facts.

Competition is coming both from corporations spread across the nation & the globe, as well as experts & advisors who were historically no longer taken into consideration a part of the “prison industry”

Competition – Because of the demise of relationship lawyering, and “one forestall purchasing” by way of clients, companies can’t find the money for to be complacent anymore. Moreover, opposition is as probable to come from the other give up of the USA or globe, as from local businesses. Competition is likewise coming from other quarters, specialists and advisors who provide offerings that were previously the purview of attorneys. In this arena of intense competition, legal professionals ought to double up as “rainmakers” ; networkers (felony commercial enterprise development) similarly to standard roles.

IT Needs of the Legal Industry

Centralized Document Storage – The prison profession generates a high-quality quantity of virtual information within the shape of case documents, contracts, courtroom filings, exhibits, evidence, briefs, agreements, payments, notes, information and different office hobby which includes e-mail. This records is the firm’s collective understanding & gaining knowledge of which units it aside from competition and desires to be retrieved over and over. Compliance also calls for certain documents to be saved & retrievable for prolonged periods of time. Attorneys across exclusive workplaces need to access and collaborate on this data.

In 2007, fifty-three% percentage of lawyers used a PDA out of doors of the workplace, 32% to test e-mail.

ABA Law Tech Report 2007

Remote Access – Ready access to critical documents and information can sometimes be all the distinction between a good or destructive judgment. Lawyers now have wings on their feet journeying customers, interviewing specialists, or attending outstation court docket court cases, and are regularly out of the workplace. It is important that they’re able to gain LAN-like access to documents from the firm’s repository even if they’re no longer on the workplace premises.

Document Collaboration – It isn’t enough to simplest be able to access files from the company’s storage. A unmarried case file may additionally want a couple of inputs from lawyers with exclusive expertise, customers, experts, researchers, and other buddies unfold over the United States of America or maybe the globe (in case of outsourcing). Therefore it’s miles vital to have the capacity to concurrently access and work collectively on the same record, from proper wherein anyone is.

Remote Conferencing – Sometimes the ability to collaborate on a document won’t suffice and actual discussion and knocking collectively of heads is probably wanted. Web conferencing lets in a couple of human beings to get together in a digital meeting room and discuss problems as correctly as being there in person.Legal Firms

Security – A lot of the facts a legal company handles is rather sensitive customer data, which it’s miles sure my business ethics and contracts to guard. Since this information is more often than not accessed and allotted over the general public community of net, and frequently disbursed to 1/3 parties at some web page, protection is right at the pinnacle of a difficulty.

Access Control – Another stage of protection is the capacity to control who sees what facts and what they can do with it. Since multiple parties like legal professionals and buddies throughout the organization, outsourcing companions, and more than one customers access records from the company’s significant garage this is of top importance.

Productivity Applications – Although handling documents and facts is one of the maximum crucial matters a law companies IT systems want to do, it isn’t always all. They also need the capability to manipulate and percentage schedules, to keep lists of important contacts, to manipulate and tune special responsibilities and litigations teams or individual lawyers can be worried about, or billing management.

What They Don’t Need

Forty-one% of attorneys had no IT group of workers at any places for their company, whilst 17% have one individual, eight% have two, and 38% have three or greater

ABA Law Tech Report 2006

IT Hassles – If getting all the above sweets calls for setting up a specialized IT branch, putting in high priced hardware, and coping with ongoing preservation and upgrades, it’d just no longer be worth it for a small to the mid-sized regulation company. Bigger corporations have the deep wallet and incentive to installation devoted systems, however, it may not be sustainable for smaller firms.

Complexity – To make sure that lawyers include the IT gadget, attorneys have to be capable of giving attention to the facts itself, as opposed to grappling with the nitty-gritty of the device.

Costs – Cost, of course, is a top consideration for small to mid-sized corporations throughout industries. The ongoing charges and hefty capital investments needed for custom and enterprise structures are just out of reach.

The Software-as-a-Service Advantage for Legal Companies – HyperOffice as a Case in Study

SAAS lets in companies to pay for the usage of the software program in place of proudly owning it

About 8 to 10 years returned, it turned into authentic that get admission to the above technologies was available simplest to big companies whose budget and scale justified dedicated IT departments. Times have modified considering then. The software program as a service (SAAS) approach, lets in even small to mid-sized companies clean get entry to massive commercial enterprise technology, but without having to address the messy underbelly and large expenses associated with them.

Benefits of SAAS Solutions

– Low Implementation

– Cost Effective

– Flexible

– Mobile Access

– Enterprise-Class Features

– Backup & Security

– Updates & Enhancements

Software as a service (SAAS) is an approach wherein the software seller undertakes the burden of making, website hosting, retaining and securing the utility upon himself, and similarly shall we it out to customers over the internet as a service. Customers do no longer pay for owning the software itself however instead for the usage of it. Some unique benefits of the SAAS method are as follows:-

No Implementation, No Dedicated IT Department – Since the backend is taken care of by using the seller, users don’t ought to hassle approximately hardware, software program downloads, server security, configuration and many others. Implementation cycles of months are cut right down to only some days. For instance, HyperOffice simply requires a sign on, and customers can get it up and strolling within minutes.

Cost Effective: Scale Up & Down as Needed – The cost structure of SAAS answers is usually a reasonable monthly in keeping with consumer charge. This ensures that minimum prices are locked in, unlike corporation solutions in which tens of lots of bucks are committed. Moreover, there’s no cost uncertainty, as phrases are certainly laid out, which lets in for greater predictability.

Big Business Features – A range of big enterprise capability is to be had to users, however, they don’t must trouble approximately the complicated backend which goes with imposing this functionality, for the reason that this is the vendor’s headache.

Flexibility & Mobility: Keep Connected Always – These answers are advanced with a view to transporting over the internet. This guarantees that the gadget with full functionality is to be had over genuinely a web browser, saving users from tiresome downloads or implementations on local workstations. Moreover, since those answers are youngsters of the internet & mobility generation, they also allow access to cellular devices. HyperOffice lets in almost complete capability over many cellular tools with the internet get entry to together with iPhone.

User-Friendly – Ease of use is of top importance to a nontechie legal professional. SAAS solutions are out-of-the-box. Emphasis is on ease of use, with the messy backend taken care of. The entire HyperOffice solution can be controlled from a significant console and desires no technical expertise in any respect – truly baby’s play!

Backup & Security: Let the Experts Handle It – Ensuring safety and disaster preparedness requires attempt. Antivirus software program desires to be purchased and implemented, the machine needs steady monitoring, and physical protection of the servers desires to be ensured. Disaster healing plans additionally have to be installed area in case of occasions like a hearth, herbal screw ups and so forth. Backup servers and magnetic tapes must be maintained, the frequency of backups must be controlled and so forth. Whew!

With SAAS, all that is part of the messy backend taken care of via the vendor. Moreover, those providers have evolved a know-how web hosting and securing applications, on the grounds that that is their core operation. This is an expertise a mid-sized regulation company can’t, nor would like to increase.

Updates & Enhancements – Since it software resides on the vendor’s servers, the vendor can definitely upload updates, upgrades and new capabilities at his very own end which might be right away to be had to the users of the application.

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