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What are the issues caused by legaltech gaps and how can they be resolved?

AS FEATURED ON THE LAW SOCIETY BLOG ‘LAWTECH’

In a previous article, I explained what legaltech gaps are and questioned whether you have any in your law firm.

To recap: legaltech gaps are those grey areas between the remits of your IT provider and software supplier – anything that either supplier points the finger at the other and says: “they should be able to sort that”, but neither can. And even if you only work with one firm for IT and software, you will still be able to identify these gaps.

Legaltech gaps can hold any company back, not just law firms – it’s something we see on a regular basis. There are numerous issues they can cause; in fact, that’s probably how you identified your firm’s legaltech gaps in the first place. They stem from a specific problem or series of problems that keep happening. There’s something missing or something that doesn’t work quite right. Legaltech gaps can be damaging and very frustrating for those they directly affect.

What’s more, if your firm is running legacy software, it cannot effectively accommodate unified communications and unified communications are one of the ways to address a number of legaltech gaps. By having unified communications in place, and with that I mean everything from handsets and phone extensions to advanced call features and an unlimited call bundle, it makes communication with your firm as easy as possible for both clients and staff. For example, a feature of unified communications enables every member of staff to use their business number at home. It also provides the ability to make calls on your office phone from your computer and the option, using a mobile app, to make landline calls from a mobile.

In our experience, many of the legaltech gaps between an IT infrastructure and software actually relate directly to the overall client experience. That’s why it’s so important to fill them. Enhancing a client’s experience with a view to exceeding their expectations wherever possible will lead to repeat business and direct recommendation / referral, by far the easiest (and cheapest) way of both retaining and gaining new business. Here are some of the issues.

Issue 1: Problems with your telephone system

A telephone system should integrate seamlessly with your IT infrastructure and any software packages you use. If your clients have a complex journey to reach the right person in your law firm when they call or you struggle to find a client’s details quickly and easily when they call you, this is a legaltech gap issue.

This can be solved by implementing Intelligent Voice Workflow technology that we have jointly developed with Zeus Technology Solutions.

This is a telephone system that interrogates your Case Management or Practice Management System database and is then capable of routing each call through to the correct department or person, thus helping your team to become more productive and efficient. Clients are telling us that this is even more useful in the current climate.

Issue 2: A client on-boarding process that is complicated and lengthy

If a client has ever complained about how difficult it is to access, complete or sign documents or you struggle with getting documents uploaded and ready for clients to check in a safe, secure environment, you have a legaltech issue.

This can be solved by implementing a self-serve client on-boarding solution like Minerva (developed by Law Firm Services), or solutions like Virtual Signature.

Self-serve client on-boarding enables your client to complete on-boarding documents including uploading, electronically signing and verifying the documents through facial recognition to further enhance efficiency and security. It can take your client on-boarding to the next level and begin to build trust and confidence in your client relationship. There are a number of solutions available that offer this type of technology. We work with a couple of excellent partners who are at the forefront of this technology.

Issue 3: a client data breach has occurred

In its report to The Law Society in 2018, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) outlined that one in two UK law firms has reported a security breach between 2016 and 2018. Was your firm one? If so, the data breach could potentially have been caused by a legaltech gap.

One way in which you can protect client data and further enhance the client experience is by establishing automated data / deal secure rooms through a secure portal. In conjunction with self-serve client onboarding, as soon as you take on a client, a secure dataroom can be automatically triggered, allowing you to share relevant documents, safely and securely from any location or device.. You and your client can access the secure dataroom securely using a multifactor authentication process and read, sign and verify documents quickly and efficiently.

By building client confidence that they are exchanging confidential information with you securely, trust is boosted, and the relationship prospers.

Don’t miss our next post in which we’ll explore how you can exceed clients’ expectations with technology.

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.

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