What will be the three hottest topics in law office technology in 2014?
Mobility, mobility, mobility.
That seems to be the consensus of leading law tech experts.
“Lawyer mobility” simply means the ability to work anywhere – a hotel lobby, an airport, a park bench – using nothing more than a smartphone, tablet or other device.
The ways to do this are projected to explode in the coming months and years. This, in turn, is expected to spark a boom in virtual law offices and 24/7 delivery of legal services.
Brave New World
For some lawyers, this is not news – it is their present reality.
“Predicting the increase of mobile production for the legal work force is not earth shattering,” writes virtual lawyer Chad Burton. “It may seem a little obvious from me since I work exclusively off of mobile devices (the iPad and iPhone). I find that this concept increases efficiency in workflow by reducing multi-tasking and removing any kind of perceived chain from a desk. Working through mobile devices also puts a focus on stream-lined processes and simplified procedures for operating a law firm.”
But mobile technology is not just for those on the cutting edge. It is fast becoming today’s equivalent of the yellow legal pad.
As mobility plays a greater role in your practice, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What are the top mobile communication tools on the market?
- Which ones best fit my practice needs and budget?
- How much do I want to spend on mobile technology in 2014?
- What apps will help my practice the most?
- What tools can enhance my productivity while traveling?
- How can I stay plugged into social media even when I am out of the office?
- Will virtual conferencing and tweeting expand my reach?
- Where do I learn about new developments in cloud-based, mobile friendly platforms like Clio and Box?
- How do I juggle all this – while running my practice – without going crazy
Old Rules Still Apply
Relax. Despite new terminology, old rules still apply. Information, advice and expertise will continue to be the bedrock of your law practice. Only now this stuff is called content.
“The focus must not only be on access to information, but also creating, editing and sharing content,” writes Burton. “For lawyers, we are talking about documents — lots and lots of documents. Accessing information on the go is key, but so is collaborating with team members, clients and opposing counsel.”
And becoming truly mobile is less about acquiring a new gadget than adjusting your thinking.
“Mobility is not just about the device or the platform, it also is about the mindset,” says Burton. “For lawyers, that means being able to walk away from the old school brick and mortar presence. Does that mean that all law firms in 2014 will convert to a virtual law firm model such as ours? No, but every lawyer works away from his or her desk at some point and needs to access and create content. Adopting a mindset that legal work can be done on the go — without stacks of paper in tow — is a significant part of the battle.”
But remember: even the most marvelous technology is worthless if it doesn’t make your job easier and your work product better.
The goal is client service, not clicks and servers.
Jay Reeves a/k/a The Risk Man is an attorney licensed in North Carolina and South Carolina. Formerly he was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 919-619-2441.
- The Box Blog http://blog.box.com/2013/12/focusing-on-lawyer-mobility-in-2014/?goback=%2Egde_2691620_member_5819230486811144194#%21
Attorney at Work http://www.attorneyatwork.com/a-field-guide-for-mobile-lawyers