The digital revolution is in full swing, making its mark on all industries. The legal industry is certainly no exception. How are digital workplaces impacting the legal industry? Consider the evolution of the digital workplace, beginning with a good definition.
What Is a Digital Workplace?
Defining “digital workplace” can be pretty challenging – there is no single, universally-accepted definition of the term. In the broadest terms, it is nothing more than an increasing reliance on digital technology within the work environment. For law firms, this means less reliance on hardcopy records and more focus on digital tools that replicate the information storage capacity of physical files, but couple that with other benefits.
Another term you might be familiar with, but that was not used much in the legal industry until lately, is “technology stack”. This goes well beyond having a website with click-to-call capabilities. It speaks directly to your ability to securely store, access, and share information within your firm, while simultaneously supporting your growth and culture-related goals.
Digital Workplaces Empower Clients and Law Firms
Information silos, closed-door meetings, long hours spent combing through handwritten notes, typed court records, and more – these don’t sound particularly innovative. And yet, most law firms claim that innovation and collaboration are key elements of their team’s culture. The digital workplace does away with factors that encourage information to be departmentalized and slow down communication, replacing that with a faster flow of information and improved client-facing communication, allowing true collaboration to occur.
More Than Possessing the Right Technology
The “technology stack” term is somewhat misleading. It leads to the notion that simply possessing the right technology is all that’s necessary to drive successful client relationships. That’s simply not true. There is a huge difference between possessing the tools and actually knowing how to use them to drive improved client outcomes.
Combining cloud and mobile technology allows you to expand your services far beyond your geographic area and serve clients anywhere you want, across the country or around the world. Social media allows you to expand your reach and build authority as a thought leader and legal expert, while CRMs help ensure that you’re able to build rich, robust relationships with your clients by organizing, aggregating, and parsing data to ensure that you’re always in the know. Digital technology that’s transforming the legal workplace also includes electronic discovery solutions, performance management tools, and cybersecurity systems designed to help prevent your clients from becoming the next in a long line of victims.
Digital workplaces are certainly making inroads into the legal industry. In fact, they are the future, and any firm that fails to keep pace runs the risk of becoming irrelevant.