Last year has brought so many drastic changes into our everyday lives that it will be talked about as a cornerstone. Right until the Asteroid hits Earth again.
In 2020, almost every single sector had to change their ways of operating, in order to simply keep working. Every one of us had two choices—to accept the future and adapt to it, or to go out of business. Because from now on, everything will only be as it will, never as it was.
“We change our tools and then our tools change us.” — Jeff Bezos
Law firms were largely unprepared. No client can come to the office, a proper website is needed, an online marketing campaign has to be devised. And services now have to be delivered online, without bottlenecks. No one was expecting that. Some firms had it easier because they already had a Contract Management Software that takes a bit of administrative burden off your shoulders, but many others didn’t.
It almost seems like 2020 can be called the Year of Accepting Change. Come to think of it: the last 20 years have been moving us in rapid progression through technological and social development. But we have been living like our ancestors from the 1900s. Always sticking to the old ways, always using the tools our father’s fathers have been using.
Right until the day the future has become so close we couldn’t get away from it. Here’s a stat that does not need proof checking: 100% of U.S. businesses made changes to their operations in 2020.
Those that didn’t—let’s just say we won’t be hearing from them again.
To give you a head start in 2021, we’ve done a bit of research and prepared a list of software for remote work to help you boost the efficiency of your legal ops, complete the adaptation stage, and start growing.
What to look out for when choosing the document management software for law firms?
Fortunately, there’s an ocean of web tools and applications available to choose from on the market. But which ones suit you? Previously we wrote about choosing the contract management software. Now let’s outline the key points to help you make a better decision. Here are some criteria to boost your thinking in the right direction:
- Price/performance ratio. Why pay more for doing less?
- Interface usability. Because you won’t use what you can’t use.
- Support. If something goes awry, they better get onto it, fast.
- Product popularity. It has to be something your partners and clients know and can use too.
Lawyer’s essentials. What tools do I need to work?
The question that always arises when something needs to be changed is: what exactly do I change? To answer that, let’s go through the basics that every lawyer or legal department needs to operate without hindrances:
1. Document automation. Yes, such tools might take a day or five to set up. But they literally save you MONTHS of work. Per year. You know what those months can be used for? Right, making more profit. Or having proper lunch time. It’s up to you to decide. Before you make that decision, here are 6 KPIs for Document Automation for you to work into your search.
2. Case management. Since it is difficult to keep a full-scale cabinet with paperwork for all your cases at home and look at them together with your partners, it’s time to move them to a spacious and well-protected cloud storage. And find a good tool to manage them all in one place.
3. E-billing. Let your client pay from his home, while you’re staying at yours. As fair as it can get
4. CRM. Customer relationship management software is crucial to keep information on all your clients and prospects together. Don’t lose your clients and you won’t lose your profits.
5. Collaboration. How do we best work together without seeing each other?
6. E-sign. E-asier than printing, signing, scanning, and sending. And saves you space and paper.
7. Appointments and Conferences. We no longer have to run to a conference room. That place was always so noisy. “Now I can just put a shirt on. Feels good working in my undies.”
8. Project management. Everyone needs a task board with the ability to check on the progress of your colleagues/employees.
9. Scheduling. It is easy to lose track of time when it’s been eons since you last left the house. Making sure your meetings are all set and you still have time to grab a sandwich from the kitchen is important. Scheduling tools can be of great help!
Now that we’ve got a list of processes that should be taken into consideration, let’s choose the right tools for them.
Document automation: AXDRAFT
Why we like it
AXDRAFT is a document automation software that also covers full contract lifecycle management . This solution works with all kinds of legal documents, from letters of consent to personal injury questionnaires, and is capable of processing 100-page documents as fast as 1-page ones. It was built by lawyers who hate routine, to minimize it in other lawyers’ workflows.
AXDRAFT is best known for zero-effort onboarding that ensures you don’t have to build your own document templates, convenient customer-facing interviews, and, most importantly, fast and simple document drafting process. All you do is fill in the questionnaire, enter the necessary data, and the platform does the rest.
For instance, Carlsberg company managed to speed up their document drafting by 88%, and go from 30 minutes spent on a single document to 3 minutes 48 seconds. That’s just to give you an idea—you might as well beat this result with AXDRAFT’s software for law firms.
Is customized for each client individually.
Case Management: Amberlo
Why we like it
Having an organized workspace can greatly benefit the case you’re working on. When it comes to having a digital workspace, Amberlo has taken it a step further.
Amberlo allows you to manage accounts, matters, and email communication all in one place. A great solution for law firms that want to keep it organized and have multiple tools under one roof. They offer cloud storage, e-billing services, even time tracking.
It makes it easy for lawyers to collaborate on one case and share different pieces of information in a simple way.
Good thing is that it can also be integrated with other software for law firms—like AXDRAFT. This can give you full control of the case and every document that belongs to it. All you’ll have left is to ensure seamless contract experience. Something we agree on with Amberlo—why have many tools, when you can have one that has everything in it?
Starts at EUR 25 per user/month
Why we like it
When it comes to money, everyone wants to make sure it goes the right way. The best way to manage your LD’s invoices and budgets is SimpleLegal.
This tool also allows you to manage your clients and cases. But what we love most about them is that they help you enforce, track, and analyze your billing & spend management.
SimpleLegal can integrate with your payment systems, perform analysis and let you request and approve budgets from vendors. Basically, a perfect tool if you create a lot of invoices and want them managed, hardcore to the bone.
Individual for each client, depending on the required functionality.
Why we like it
“HubSpot offers a complete CRM platform with all the tools and integrations you need to grow better—whether you want to generate leads, accelerate sales, streamline customer service, or build a powerful website.” Their landing page says it all.
Another appealing thing is they offer a free version of their tool with full-fledged inbound marketing tools and have decent email marketing settings.
Marketing aside, HubSpot helps you organize customer pipelines, connect with your clients via VOIP or a chat on your website, and track your business’s goals.
To give you even less headaches, Hubspot is designed to work with G Suite and Microsoft Teams to suit every business’s needs.
HubSpot has a free version of their software for law firms but can cost from $45 to $3200 per month, depending on how big your company is.
Why we like it
When it comes to collaborating with clients and co-workers on multiple projects, there’s one soft worth talking about, Slack.
Slack gives you the opportunity to create multiple projects, each separate from one another. A lot of variants for chat rooms, document sharing, third party software integration, calls. Slack makes sure you get all of that in one app, available on Desktop and Mobile.
Need we say more? Oh yes, custom emoji creation! I doubt you’ll have that in your checklist for choosing the best collaboration software for law firms. But who doesn’t like using authentic emojis of your creation?
Slack is free to use. But if you want features like group video calls or have an unlimited message archive, they start charging you as low as $6.67 per user/month.
Why we like it
The Law states that the document is not valid without a signature. For years it was, is, and will be THE sign of one’s proven agreement with what’s written down.
We’ve gone digital years ago, but still some companies spend up to 5% of their revenue on printing documents to sign. And then, according to PrivewaterhouseCoopers research, waste 17% of those documents. This means that a company with annual revenue of $5M wastes $150K on paper, every single year. That’s about $1200 per employee.
So why not cut these costs and use DocuSign? A world-renowned signature tool for businesses and individuals, that’s been years in the market. They also offer API integration tools for signing documents directly in your automation platform. Something like AXDRAFT would suffice.
Besides, DocuSign allows you to generate documents directly from Salesforce, automate workflows, and perform contract analysis with “proven AI”.
Starts at $10/month
Conferences & meetings: Zoom
Why we like it
One of the main questions since the pandemic has hit us hard—how do we meet with our client, if we are not allowed to meet with anyone? How can we discuss the company’s goals for the month if we can’t gather in one room? The answer was simple—video conferencing.
Do you remember Google and Microsoft increasing their meeting room limits for Hangouts and Teams, and making it all free, almost the day the quarantine hit? They still try their best to capture the market of video meetings. And all because of one player — Zoom.
When Zoom came out, everyone was blown away. They offer communication solutions of all types. Period. Seminars, conferences, workspaces, chats—you name any type of action that involves live communication—they have it. So now, all you have to do to meet your client is send them a zoom invite with a link, a date, and a time. It’s become that simple.
Starts at $149.90/year
Project Management: Trello
Why we like it
Atlassian’s Trello is a simple yet very effective project management tool. Suitable for teams small and big, it helps you organize and prioritize tasks from anywhere in the world.
This software for law firms has a neat intuitive design and awesome collaboration tools. Also, they have a robot Butler for workflow automation. That makes task management faster and easier. Especially after you find out about the Legal Project Management 101 for law firms.
Trello offers limited functionality free of charge and can cost up to $17 per user/month
Why we like it
Planning your day is important. What’s more important is the ability to sync your plans with your clients and be able to fit every call into your busy day. Calendly is a nice software for remote work that can help with that.
This online appointment scheduling software for law firms helps you plan your day without back-and-forth communication. The process is simple: tell Calendly your availability and preferable time slots, share the link with your clients, and let them do the rest.
You can start using it free. But the Pro version can cost you up to $15/month
We now know several things:
1. Progress is imminent. And we have to adapt to not only survive, but to be efficient, effective and e-present. In 2021, this means moving your business online and making full use of software for law firms.
2. There are many processes that need to be managed. Of course, we miss having the office, sitting under one roof with the team and having a workspace suited for everything I need to do. All you have to do now is make sure all of your processes are transferred to the space of your home and are properly set up with the right software for remote work. You’ve seen the checklist. Also, don’t forget about the legal burnout — managing yourself is also a key factor.
We recommend you do the following: create your own checklist, analyze your current tools, and prioritize the ones that really need to be changed in order to suit your business goals. Then find the software for remote working that gives you most of what you need, and meets the legal budget you have in mind. And spend a week or two setting it up.
The best way to meet the future is to embrace the present. If you are still not sure about it, book a demo with us and see how AXDRAFT can impact your business starting today.