What are legaltech gaps and do you have any in your firm?
Let’s face it, IT and IT infrastructure can be pretty daunting to the uninitiated amongst us. All most of us want to know is that our laptops or PCs will function seamlessly when we switch them on. So it’s not unusual, when we mention legaltech gaps, that potential clients glaze over and ask: “what on earth are they?” – you’re definitely not alone if you’ve ever asked this question!
What are legaltech gaps?
First of all, it’s worth outlining how legaltech gaps come about. I’ll then look at what they are and how they might be holding your firm back.
Your law firm will most probably have one company that provides IT infrastructure. That infrastructure is made up of physical components including computers, network hardware such as routers or servers and services & facilities such as a secure internet connection. Then there will be another company that supplies your software. Software covers a variety of applications and platforms including Microsoft 365 and your Case/Practice Management System.
Almost inevitably, there are grey areas or what we call ‘legaltech gaps’ that don’t appear within the remit of either your IT provider or software supplier. When one points the finger at the other and neither knows the answer, that’s when you know you have a legaltech gap. Even if you only employ one firm for IT and software, you will still be able to identify gaps.
The goal, therefore, is to get your IT infrastructure and software platforms to work in harmony with each other with zero gaps.
Identifying legaltech gaps
When you start to scratch the surface, it soon becomes clear that a lot of infrastructure and software companies are one dimensional; they just don’t have a desire to collaborate or partner. This is one of the main reasons why we made the decision to step into this grey area and focus on helping law firms to identify legaltech gaps, resolve them and use the consequent technology implemented to exceed client expectations.
Legaltech gaps can provide an opportunity to provide value added services that will enhance existing products and improve the overall efficiency and productivity of your law firm. But first, you need to uncover them and there are several places to look.
- Telephone system: have a think about how efficient your telephone systems really is. Is it completely seamless end-to-end? Do clients move swiftly through the system when they contact you or do they have a bumpy ride to get where they need to go? Do new or potential clients get the same experience as existing ones when they call or deal with your firm? How easy is it for someone to reach the person they need to speak with quickly and efficiently? Do calls get missed or drop off? And how does the telephone system work for you and your colleagues? Can your clients get through to you easily or do they sometimes end up in the wrong department? Is it difficult to record and store calls? Can you log your time against a call for billing purposes?
- Secure communications: how secure are your firm’s communications? Do you fulfil all of the National Cyber Security Centre’s (NCSC) ‘10 Steps to Cybersecurity’? Do clients feel they are able to communicate securely with you wherever you or they may be? With the NCSC outlining in their report to The Law Society that one in two UK law firms have reported a security breach in the last two years, these are extremely important questions that can potentially damage the reputation and turnover of any firm.
- Client onboarding: how much personal involvement is required in your client onboarding process? How accurate and efficient is the process? Once onboard, do all clients have access to a data/deal secure room? Could your client onboarding be improved in any way?
- Building trust: gaining new business is difficult so client retention is key to the long-term success of every firm. How do you build trust with your clients? Do you have sufficient tools to ensure that staff are efficient and accurate in their work, thus boosting client confidence at every stage? If you asked your clients if they trusted your firm or would they recommend to friends or colleagues, would their answer be positive?
After thinking through each of those four elements of your law firm, have you noted anything that is lacking or that could be done better? If so, you have legaltech gaps.
By identifying your firm’s specific legaltech gaps and resolving them, you can spend more time practising law rather than worrying about your systems. And that means you’ll be on track to increasing the efficiency of your firm and exceeding client expectations.
Don’t miss our next post in which I’ll explore the issues that can be caused by legaltech gaps and how they can be addressed and resolved to improve your firm’s strategic direction and future success.
Jonathan Ashley is founder and director of etiCloud, affiliate partner of The Law Society. etiCloud are already delivering flexibility through their Agile Digital Workplace for over 200 UK law firms in the SME market. Jonathan has a wide range of industry experience working in both the UK and Canada.