In the legal field, technology is making firms' typical practice of using printed documents nearly obsolete and maintaining the security of information within those documents is more critical than ever before. In order to grow their digital transformation initiatives, evolve with the times, and most importantly, serve their clients better, law firms can set themselves apart from their competition by improving their unified communications (UC) and UC integration procedures.
Given the strict privacy regulations of the current legal landscape, as well as the increasing need for lawyers to reach clients and colleagues in a number of different ways, today's law firms use more and more applications for case management, document conversion and assembly, time and billing accounting, internal firm communications, and client relationship management. All of these applications and systems contain vital data about individual cases and the health of the firm, like the number of hours worked relative to billable hours, most profitable clients, and successful marketing funnels.
When these channels of communication aren't integrated within a law firm's system, however, tools become unnecessarily — and dangerously — siloed, making even more work fall on the shoulders of already-overworked lawyers and IT staff. When communication tools like chat apps, email systems, and conferencing features are not integreated with one another, even the most efficient legal teams end up spending unnecessary time and resources trying to collaborate and get a clear picture of their overall health.
Overcoming integration challenges can be simple: To combat the trouble caused by siloed unified communication tools, law firms are joining other industries in embracing unified communications-as-a-serive (UCaaS). Here's how UC integration and UCaaS can help law firms increase productivity and avoid the pitfalls of disconnected data.
Plug and Play
Modern law firms require secure methods of communication, so they often rely on private, isolated networks for phone calls, video conferencing, collaboration tools, and email. Managing separate tools, though, can create time-wasting problems, driving down productivity for both the legal and IT teams.
A UC integration platform generated through UCaaS can help a firm overcome these and other integration challenges and get the most from their unified communications. UCaaS integrates email, video, voice, and mobile communications methods into one centralized tool, and with a UC integration platform in place, law firm IT staff only need to plug into an existing internet connection to access all the tools on the platform. There's no additional hardware to purchase and install across the firm, which also means no other maintenance through updates and patches is necessary. IT staff can "plug and play" and get the firm up and running quickly.
Consider, for example, a legal team that needs to communicate with remote clients, while still following privacy regulations and protecting client data. By using a UCaaS system that integrates UC tools, a lawyer can use their cloud-hosted VoIP service to communicate directly with these clients, then seamlessly switch to a web conferencing tool to share documents and trial strategy safely. IT staff can provide the legal team with more methods of communication, and lawyers can reach clients through the channels they prefer.
A unified communications solution is the tool law firms need to create a productive firm environment — and to secure some fresh young legal talent as well.
One User Interface to Rule Them All
Or think about a law firm where each lawyer uses individual messaging and communication tools to reach clients and collaborate with clients. While one lawyer communicates via their personal smartphone, another uses a messaging service to contact clients, and when the lawyers need to collaborate with each other remotely, they have to take the time to integrate their communication tools before any trial strategy can occur.
Not only is this firm wasting time and resources that could be better spent servicing clients or preparing for upcoming legal strategy sessions, the firm is also opening themselves up to data vulnerabilties by communicating through non-centralized and potentially unsecure networks. On top of that, IT staff at the firm spend needless hours servicing individual devices and tools for legal teams.
IT staff doesn't have to install apps on every device within the firm, or perform device-by-device maintenance. Instead, IT professionals can make changes to various communication channels via one centralized platform, saving huge amounts of time on the back end.
UC Integration in a Modern Context
In a rapidly advancing industry, today's lawyers and IT staff need to have a finger on the pulse of their firm at all times to best service their clients and beat out competing firms. With UCaaS as a UC solution, all data is collected and stored through the platform.
All firm interactions are logged and made accessible through robust reporting features. Two things are accomplished by this: Legal teams can access communications data to better enhance client services and IT staff can customize reporting for a more detailed look into the firm's overall health. In other words, lawyers and staff can run reports from every application to see how a case is progressing, which bills are overdue, and more, keeping a close eye on both individual cases and the firm's overall well-being.
According to Law Practice Today, today's newly minted lawyers expect certain things out of their workplace, with remote and flexible working options and effective communication being two of their biggest desires. By providing legal teams with the ability to communicate effectively via any device and from any location and offering IT staff streamlined ways of maintaining communications infrastructure, a unified communications solution is the tool law firms need to create a productive firm environment — and to secure some fresh young legal talent as well.