7 Legal Tech Tips for Small Law Firms

Technology has come a long way, and many of its advances and conveniences have helped businesses of various sectors become more efficient and successful. If you have a small law firm, it helps to consider how you can take advantage of these new developments and apply it to your legal business.

Prevailing in a court case is not necessarily the domain of the largest law firms, and the tools now made widely available by technology can help you earn more success. The golden combination of technology and psychology is at the disposal of smaller firms today as well. The following tools/strategies should be in the arsenal of every firm, but especially by smaller ones who want to get ahead.

Stay Up to Date
If you subscribe to updates or do your research with the help of your handy dandy mobile device, whether it be a phone or tablet, this sort of technology will electronically keep you aware of any details on other cases supporting those you represent. Being in the know now establishes courtroom credibility.

Use the Tools at Your Disposal
Being the last to know (or reveal) in matters relating to discovery reveals lackluster effort. E-discovery tools are readily available and certainly a wise use of time and money.

Become the Master of the Transcript
Navigating the facts of your current (or any) case from the court reports is “old school”. You want a transcript management tool. They exist in the digital world and make your litigation world light-years easier.

Motion creation? Way easier!

When the need for a motion arises in a case, electronic tools will expedite the process. Controlling all the data relevant to your case is vital. Your victory in court just may hinge on any and every name, fact, piece of evidence, etc., that’s tied to your case. Don’t let an overlooked detail result in a litigated loss. Use e-tools.

Judge Who?

Regardless of whether it’s trial by jury or verdict by judge, the judge is the one with the gavel. Using the tools at your fingertips can allow you to conduct all of the necessary research you need before entering the courtroom. Knowing what the presiding judge is like, what some of their previous cases have been, and what some of their likes and dislikes are can help you cater your argument to their liking. Learning this overview of the judge will reveal any nerves to avoid hitting or any courtroom etiquette he or she really favors. Don’t feel creepy because this isn’t for your entertainment. It applies to the jury too. That’s next.

Every Juror Counts

In order to be as thorough as possible before entering the courtroom or handling a case, check everyone involved in the case, including the jury. The legwork can easily be done electronically so it’s easier than ever. You don’t want to be blindsided by a juror who will not heed your argument due to a personal issue or previous experience. Considering you abide by tax laws, these background checks are totally tax deductible. It takes only minutes to complete with technology, not the days that might have been involved in the past. This is possibly the best money you’ll spend.

Courtroom Theatrics: the Modern-Day Way

Fair or not, jurors are susceptible to ruling in favor of which side presented the most compelling, even exciting, evidence. Any electronic device can aid you on the path to swaying a decision. A slide show can establish a timeline of events. Video testimony, with society’s current obsession with the camera, packs an extreme wallop for putting lawyers on a pedestal of credibility. The more technology you have at your disposal, the more likely your case will speak for itself. Visual evidence is also more likely to win over a jury – after all, seeing is believing.

It’s Not the Size of the Dog Fight

Small law firms should exploit the vast array of electronic tools from the simple to the complex, much like benefiting from a “handicap” in golf. Whatever the expense, their clout before and after a court case places less prestigious firms on a par with large ones. The small firms lack of size doesn’t have to be a handicap. You can use the technology at your disposal to get an edge on the competition and play with the big leagues.

How to Modernize Your Law Firm

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Technology is constantly changing the way in which businesses operate. The same is true for law firms. Both large and small firms are using technology to make daily operations more efficient, and it helps to stay in the know. Not only will it help you get work done, but it will also give you an edge up on the competition.


Develop or Update a Website

When looking for services of any kind, people look to the internet. Your website is the first impression a person will get of your law firm so it is important that you make a good one. It is important that the website is easy to use and has a modern look. This can mean updating the pictures and changing the background. Having a professional looking website is important especially if you want to promote yourself to potential clients. It is recommended that the website should be updated every two to three years in order to stay current.

Make Sure Your Website is Mobile Friendly

Many people access the internet from their smartphone or their tablet, especially when they are on the go. Make sure that your page is mobile friendly in order to accommodate these sorts of web uses. Doing so will allow more people to see the site and have access to the information it contains.

Go Paperless

Law firms use a lot of paper. This can lead to clutter and lost documents. Going paperless and having information and files on the computer will help the firm become more organized and save time trying to locate information. Files can also be sent inter office and can be sent to clients with a simple click. Losing a document and spending time looking for said document can cost you big bucks. If this happens several times a week, you may be wasting a lot of money. Going paperless will also save workers valuable time they spend coping or faxing paperwork, as well, and helps to clear your office for meetings and waiting areas.

Use Cloud Software

All your computer files can be backed up with a cloud storage program. This will keep the files safe in case the system goes down. You or any other lawyer in your firm will also be able to access this information from other devices anywhere with internet service. But because you are using a cloud server to host your info, make sure to use passwords to protect this information.

Update Management Software

Many lawyers are looking to update their management software. This will improve services that are provided to the clients and will help you and your partners stay organized. There are additional features where the lawyer can enter the dates and time of meetings, court appearances, and other important events so that it is easily accessible and reviewable. You can even set a reminder so they know what event is coming up. Lawyers will also be able to start accepting credit or debit cards as forms of payment, too. This can be very helpful since fewer people are using cash during business transactions.

Staying up to date with current trends and changes can help you run your firm much more efficiently and will help you stay ahead of any competing firms, too. Modernizing your firm can make the difference between your firm and another when a potential client is scoping out attorneys they may be looking to hire. Do your research and stay on top of things in order to make sure that you are doing things right and to stay informed of any new developments or trends that might help your firm.

What Activities Can Put Your Business’ Data at Risk

Whenever there is a data breach, organizations and individuals usually have a lot at stake. Other than losing revenue, many small businesses have lost their business entirely and have been forced to close down due to such breaches. The unfortunate thing is that many times it is the way you dispose information and even how you conduct yourself online that actually facilitates hacking. To ensure that you protect your data, you need to be wary of the following activities that put your business’ data at risk.

Disposing Paperwork before Shredding

It is common for people to throw away some of their paperwork especially when their desks start looking messy. Although this gives you some much-needed space, you are giving data thieves a field day. Old receipts, bank statements, W-4 forms and pay stubs contain a lot of information that can be used against you or the organization. Recently, a YMCA in Pennsylvania was in trouble for throwing away employee files that led to the exposure of their personal information. To avoid such incidences, black out or shred important information before disposal in order to render the data unreadable.

 

Sticking with Default Passwords on POS Systems

A 2015 report by Computerworld shows that point of sale systems are some of the most hacked systems today. This is because they are full of vital customer information. Despite containing this critical information, many users do not care about changing their passwords. Paired with the fact that many POS systems can easily be hacked through an insecure remote access makes them the perfect hunting grounds for hackers and identity thieves. Therefore, it is wise to always change POS and company passwords regularly and to never work with the default one to keep your data safe.

 

Using Similar Passwords in General

This is one of the biggest, yet most common, mistakes that people make. Relying on the same password for your social media accounts, business emails and even online banking accounts means you are making it easier for hackers to get anything they want with just one hack. Try and make things harder for hackers by using one unique password per every account that you have and ensure that you keep changing it regularly. Where possible, go for two-factor authentication.

 

Using the Same Device at Home and Office

When you use the same tablet or phone for office and personal work, it can sometimes become a little easier for hackers to access your data. Many people tend to be a little relaxed with their internet security while at home, making it easier for malware to get its way onto your device. Through the malware installed when you are at home, hackers can easily access your important office information, too.

 

Printing Crucial Documents on Public Machines

When in a hurry, people tend to copy sensitive information on public machines. These machines have a hard drive onto which your data is buffered as it is being printed, and anyone with access to the hard drive can easily pick out the digital version of your documents. As much as public copiers and scanners may be convenient, you must avoid them at all costs. Find time to print whatever documents you have at the office and your sensitive information will remain safe and even if you want to dispose the office printer, wipe it out first.

In order to protect all of your data, including the data you keep as well as the data you throw out, you need to think like a hacker. It really helps to be careful with your data and know all of the possible ways that it can be accessed by someone other than yourself. Sometimes, dragging and dropping something into the trash bin on your desktop is not enough. Disk cleaners and disk defragmenters can help clear up space on your computer, whether at home or at the office, but it also helps to invest in a professional cleaner that will ensure any deleted files are inaccessible too. Also, make sure that you clear your browser history whenever you get offline, especially after you have made an online purchase and typed in any addresses, credit card numbers or other pertinent information that may be dangerous in the wrong hands.