The value that solo lawyers provide to their clients lies in their ability to deliver a comparable quality of work as big firms, albeit with a more personal touch and at a more affordable cost. However, as every solo lawyer knows, this indicates that you are often working alone to read through the sea of legal information and file documents, and as a result, the time is never on your side.
For solo attorneys, on your own and up against deadline after deadline, it can feel like you don’t have the right tools in place to manage your time properly. That is, files are scattered here and there between hard drives and emails, calendar and reminders are handled completely independently from your cases, and the timesheets are scrabbled in your diary. You have a slight chance of keeping up with the continual flow of work, let alone make use of the expertise you’ve built up in previous cases or tend to your clients every request.

In short, solo practitioners need to empower themselves with the right legal practise management tools to get everything done right and on time.

How can legal practice technology improve the professional life of solo lawyers?

The answer to this question can be found by looking at how technology has benefited professionals in other industries.

Just as in the legal sector, the value of professionals in industries like architecture, finance or medicine, is measured by their ability to manage large amounts of information in extremely short periods. The key to success is knowing how to adopt technology and integrate it into your everyday work. Only when technology is seamlessly integrated into your work processes can benefits like increased efficiency, improved client service, or firm growth become evident.

Here are 5 ways technology is helping solo lawyers stay on top of everything and provide the type of service clients demand:

Time management

How lawyers organize, their time is conditioned daily by all manner of deadlines and expiry dates. The only way to avoid falling into continuous improvisation and overwork is by tracking the time we have at our disposal to prioritize billable work.

Technology can help you manage your time to get the daily/weekly/monthly of all your case due dates, priorities, appointments and tasks. With alerts to remind you of your tasks and appointments, you can identify and manage every planned activity. Furthermore, some best-in-class legal time management solutions like App4Legal can estimate and track the time required to accomplish each task and link your activities directly to billing and invoicing, reducing the time you spend on administrative tasks.

Documents and files management

When case information is spread across a thread of emails and hard copies, it can be extremely challenging to lay your hands on the right contract or court submission at the right moment. Case management solutions that come with document management features can help you manage all of your files, helping you easily locate the latest version of any case document or email whenever you need it. Not only does this save you time, but the ability to quickly search through case archives means you are more efficient. For example, if you need to reference an important fact from a previous case, you can quickly pinpoint the relevant file to help steer your strategy.

However, effective document management doesn’t just mean organizing your documents but also ensuring that you can collaborate and share documents with your clients or colleagues in a secure environment. Communication via email can open you up to security and data loss risks (theft, virus, etc..) and compromise client confidentiality. Lawyers need to use technology to manage who has access to case files and encrypts data transferred online.

Contract generation & e-signing

Technology is also being used by solo lawyers to draft documents, contracts and emails more quickly, freeing them from the tedious task of replicating commonly used boilerplates, briefs, forms, emails, etc… Contract generation, or document assembly, can help solo lawyers produce a certain type of contract or a document frequently. Using a template, solo lawyers can add, delete or tweak clauses. Not only do templates save them time, but they can provide leverage to increase profitability, especially in the case of fixed-fee arrangements. App4Legal’s contract management solution integrates with DocuSign to automate the entire contract management lifecycle and make it easy for lawyers to be on top of their contracts from anywhere.

Workflow automation

Solo lawyers are also using task management technology to automate repetitive tasks and standardize processes. Using case management technology, solo lawyers can leverage templates to standardize tasks like client communication or court submissions. With an immediate overview of a client’s cases status and next steps, lawyers can stay on top of deadlines and are empowered to be more proactive, providing a better quality service to clients.

Mobility as a strategy

Finally, lawyers are using technology to make the most of time spent away from their desks, whether traveling or in court. Lawyers are limited when files are kept in the office or on a server that can only be accessed at the office. Furthermore, as every lawyer knows, working from home at night or on the weekends can be a nightmare if you are carrying case folders home, not to mention the security risks involved! App4Legal takes this issue very seriously with the aim to empower legal professionals with the needed working from home solutions to maintain the same level of productivity and efficiency as if they are working from their offices.

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