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Tech-powered workflows reduce friction in law firms

Law firm modernization strategies

Firm leaders must clearly articulate the strategic vision for modernizing firm operations. Lawyers must be informed, trained, and supported during this transition.

Strategy 1: Foster a culture of collaborative growth

While technology facilitates collaboration, teamwork is the foundation of success. Shift firm culture toward embracing cooperation and innovation.

  • Encourage collaboration between traditionally siloed departments.
  • Establish online repositories and internal communication channels for lawyers to share documents, best practices, and insights, and coordinate technology use across departments.
  • Align everyone around measurable firmwide goals such as profitability, productivity, and growth.
  • Enable the use of data insights to identify cross-selling and other profit opportunities.

Provide lawyers with access to dashboards to track their performance and make informed decisions. Incentives and celebrating team successes reinforce the importance of collective effort.

Strategy 2: Design and refine tech-enabled legal workflows 

Align new tools and processes with the natural flow of legal work. Like tailors crafting custom suits, technologists must directly collaborate with lawyers before investing in change to:

  • Understand root problems and their related inefficiencies and pain points.
  • Map legal workflows. Document the steps taken, the data exchanged, and the systems accessed.
  • Identify where technology can automate repetitive tasks, eliminate redundancies, and support decisions.
  • Determine where to incorporate role-based and customizable functions, such as those that support contract review, due diligence, and e-discovery.

Embrace an iterative approach with periodic reviews that show if you’re achieving desired results. Continually refine workflows and address usability issues to improve the user experience.​

Strategy 3: Build firmwide information-sharing solutions

Firmwide solutions meet many varied needs simultaneously, transforming progress from a mere illusion into a measurable reality.

You can apply automation, analytics, and AI tools at nearly every step of a legal matter. Connecting people, processes, and data creates an agile information-sharing network.

This reliable source of truth fosters visibility across practice areas and enables lawyers to quickly find best practice work product so the firm can leverage its collective knowledge.

Access to matter-specific and business intelligence data empowers legal professionals to refine processes and deliver more profitable services. Prioritize data-driven decision-making to gain actionable insights on:

  • Clients' legal needs and risks
  • Optimizing resource allocations
  • Streamlining operations and improving service delivery

Strategy 4: Address specific legal workplace requirements

In a modern legal workplace:

  • All new technology seamlessly integrates with existing infrastructure, including Microsoft 365, for a unified experience spanning the entire legal matter lifecycle.
  • Third-party system integrations enable the effortless flow of information and collaboration across locations and platforms.
  • A robust, Zero Trust security infrastructure helps ensure that only authorized users can access sensitive information, creating an impenetrable fortress against cyberthreats and building client trust and confidence.

Source: Generative AI in the Law

Partnering with external technology providers can offer access to specialized expertise and additional resources to reduce the burden of internal development.

Strategy 5: Develop critical information governance infrastructure

Firms now need information governance policies to manage the flow of data, protect sensitive information, and comply with legal and ethical standards.

  • Provide a centralized platform to manage and track client and matter information, documents, and communications and enable collaborative work.
  • Use configurable access protocols to meet the diverse needs of various user groups.
  • Standardize methods of data collection, organization, and analyses.

This structured approach also makes it easy for lawyers and staff to find and access relevant information quickly.

Strategy 6: Get everyone on board

A concerted effort with commitment from all levels is necessary to modernize operations and integrate AI, analytics, and automation tools seamlessly into workflows, yielding tangible benefits.

Lawyers, paralegals, administrators, and IT professionals must work together to design modernization strategies, identify areas for improvement, develop and implement solutions, and continuously refine and optimize their technology use.

Trainers, knowledge management teams, or learning & development must offer easily accessible training opportunities such as online tutorials, webinars, and one-on-one sessions.

For any engagement, bring vendors in on the effort when appropriate. In RFPs, don’t just list feature requirements. Ask vendors to solve specific problems. Encourage intuitive and easy-to-use solutions for the less technologically savvy.

iManage Commentary

Knowledge is the new global currency

iManage analysis of the Knowledge Work Maturity Model.