Conveyancing practices and procedures have been traditionally dominated by highly manual and paper-based tasks – especially when it comes to conducting due diligence. But, as firms continue to face strong competition from new players and ‘alternative’ business models, the pressure is mounting to use available technologies to provide a faster, more efficient service.
It’s often said that the legal industry has been slow to adopt new technologies; after all, it’s always easier to stick to what you know. But there are signs attitudes are changing fast. While one report says nine-out-of-ten lawyers think they’re operating in a period of unprecedented change, another survey of legal professionals found that 74 per cent think one of the biggest opportunities presented by new technology is improving operational efficiency.
So, when you’ve really got to be “in it to win it”, there’s no doubt embracing new technology could help your business work smarter (and more competitively) than ever before. In order to evolve with the times, you need to understand what solutions could enhance the way you deliver services to clients, and how. Here are some technologies that are currently helping firms become more agile, efficient and productive.
Relying on local IT systems and software is not the most efficient way of working today – especially if client meetings take you away from the office from time-to-time. Cloud-based solutions allow lawyers and conveyancers to continue working at any time and in any place, provided they have a laptop and internet connection. That’s right, your workflow and productivity will never be disrupted just because you can’t be in the office for a few hours.
There are other benefits of implementing cloud solutions too. While flexible working arrangements are said to be key to attracting and retaining talented staff, you’ll save money by not having to maintain expensive IT infrastructure and have peace of mind your data is always backed up and secure.
Integrated Practice Management Software
Integrating your practice management software with other applications you use every day can significantly reduce the amount of time you spend on administrative tasks, such as data entry, as well as the risks of error. This is because all your software solutions will be able to communicate and exchange information to create a more seamless workflow and one single source of truth. For example, you could use your practice management system in conjunction with an information broker such as triSearch to access your property or company searches while all information will be mapped back to the matter.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technology
If you’re still using spreadsheets to manage vast amounts of client information, quickly locating the information you need can start to get tricky. Meanwhile, there’s always the risk of double-handling data entry or falling foul of conflicting or inaccurate information across records. These challenges can sometimes make it difficult for different team members to get a clear picture of a client’s profile in order to provide them with the best level of service.
A CRM platform is a single source of truth which captures a vast range of information and interactions, such as email exchanges, meetings, contact details, information requested from clients and even their feedback, among other things. Essentially, a CRM platform makes it much easier to share and access client information so everyone in the business is equipped to build stronger relationships and deliver more personalised experiences.
In the legal industry, automated technologies are tackling some of the many repetitive tasks lawyers and conveyancers perform every day, so you have more time for higher value work. In fact, a study by Deloitte says 114,000 legal jobs are likely to be automated over the next 20 years, specifically in the areas of search and verification.
For example, triSearch can already help you with your everyday due diligence by carrying out property and company and business searches across multiple registries in seconds. Meanwhile, you could also find software solutions that’ll assist you with preparing a range of legal documents much faster and at lower cost than working on them manually.
E-billing and payment solutions
Manually generated invoices sent via email can make heavy work of record-keeping and accounting practices for both you and your clients. Integrating an e-billing solution into your practice management software could deliver several benefits including a streamlined billing and approval process, automated invoicing and payment reminders and much easier tracking and reporting. What’s more, your clients will probably appreciate having the choice of a range of secure payment methods.
Analytics and measurement
Lawyers and conveyancers have traditionally relied on billable hours as their prime indicator of performance but getting deeper insights into your business’ core activities could really help improve performance and drive success.
Analytics and measurement tools can record and analyse data relating to variety of customised key performance indicators (KPIs) which are crucial for taking proactive steps to optimise profitability. For example, you could gain insights into your billable time by activity, client, staff member or practice area.
Cybercrime in Australia is said to be a growing threat while one global law firm has already suffered the consequences of a vicious cyber-attack. It stands to reason, then, that clients are likely to be seeking confidence in your ability to protect all their sensitive information in this digital era. Getting up to speed with your cybersecurity will be key to maintaining the trust and loyalty of your clients, as well as reducing the risk your reputation will be damaged in the event of an attack.
At this time of digital transformation, there are many technology solutions that could help you run your business more efficiently. While it might not be necessary for you to implement every single solution that becomes available, it’ll be essential to keep up to date with changing trends to ensure your business is prepared for the future and ready to spot the opportunities.