Globalization has changed the way that attorneys practice law and conduct their business. While the nature of their professional responsibilities remains the same, how they give legal advice and obtain their clients is now an entirely different game. This is mainly due to the changed scope and pace of law practice.
When the law sector becomes global in nature, it inherently means a quicker pace and more broad-based services that must be provided to clients. To keep up with globalization, attorneys will need to ensure that they have the proper infrastructure to handle the new demands that are placed upon them.
Before attorneys even begin to think about what tools are required, they need to grasp precisely what globalization of law means.
First, while law practices have never been a regular nine-to-five job, it is not even more of a round-the-clock engagement than it has ever been. Attorneys are now required to work with people outside of their own time zone and jurisdiction to the extent that legal rules permit them. While attorneys may have been limited to one area, that is becoming less common.
Second, another ramification is that attorneys must be ready to share their advice wherever they are. If one attorney cannot be prepared whenever the client needs them, there will be a dozen other attorneys ready to fill their shoes. Third, it means that attorneys have to compete for business much more than they ever did in the past.
With that is mind, here are some tools that can benefit attorneys in this era of globalization. These tools are useful for every form of practice (i.e., personal injury attorneys, family law, bankruptcy, or any practice area).
Case Management Software
Not only will an attorney need to have case management software, but they will need to make sure that it fits their practice. The era of the lawyer managing their cases through paper files is mostly over.
There are many different options these days when it comes to case management software. At a minimum, the software needs to be able to serve as a repository of documents and help the attorney stay organized throughout the duration of an engagement. This software should also track significant deadlines in the case and provide calendaring functions for the attorney.
While these are the essential functions, this software has become so much more advanced and offers a multitude of additional features. The right software will save the attorney from having to spend non-billable time on administrative matters and reduces the chance that deadlines can be missed. If this is the case, the software is well worth its cost.
Beyond managing cases, these software systems can also help organize client communication and project management. This software will primarily be the backbone of lawyers will run both their cases and their practice.
Virtual Office Tools
Since the law is now a 24-hour pursuit that can be practiced anywhere, attorneys will need to have the technology necessary to work anyplace that they are. Primarily, this means that attorneys will need a virtual office that facilitates their practice at home or on the road. Attorneys need to be able to access their documents and their entire office at their fingertips in their living room or a hotel room – instantly.
While many lawyers will still have a traditional law office, they will need to have an office away from their primary office. Some lawyers may even want to forgo having a traditional office to stay mobile while cutting back on expenses.
While a law practice has never been limited to fixed hours, the demands on attorneys to be ready to help clients at all times have only been heightened. All thanks to the fact that the law sector is more global in nature today than ever. This means that, while attorneys may not necessarily need the same device outside of their traditional office, they need to have the same software necessary to work on the cases.
Virtual office tools also include the technology required to set up a virtual meeting and to execute it smoothly and flawlessly. The globalization of law means that people in multiple locations around the world may need to have a conversation in which they share both ideas and documents.
An attorney’s choice of technology should help facilitate their connection with people across the world with fluidity and speed. One tool to keep in mind is something like Join.me that allows for meetings to be easily set up with documents that can be viewed by all meeting participants.
Communications can be utilized for the attorney’s benefit in several different respects. First, their mobile device can be made to be more effective beyond just a smartphone. The mobile device can be expanded to handle virtually any office function. It can link with the software that runs the practice, or it can be equipped with various apps that will allow attorneys to create and share documents with it.
With the right apps, the mobile device can become almost as effective as a desktop.
One essential function that an attorney will need in practicing law in the global era is the ability to turn their mobile device into a note taking aide at all times. One never knows where they will be that will require them to commit their thought process to virtual paper.
Also, office systems can facilitate communications with both clients and other attorneys. All attorneys should be using a communications system such as Skype and a document sharing system such as Slack. These systems can be integrated with the practice management software for seamless functionality. Clients and colleagues may not have the time to pick up the phone but are more likely to lend some time when communication is as simple as tapping out a quick couple of messages.
All communications need to be encrypted. As traffic is handled over multiple servers throughout the world, there is more of a chance that a bad actor can hack privileged and sensitive communications with clients. Thus, globalization also means that attorneys will have to invest in cybersecurity tools to protect their practice.