In the years preceding COVID-19, legal firms had started to embrace agile working to meet changing demands within the marketplace. Then in 2020, the remote-working ‘experiment’ saw all legal firms rushing to acquire the new technology that would provide business continuity. With client communication and confidentiality a vital part of any law firm’s service offering, how have legal firms adapted to this new way of working and what challenges still lie ahead?
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The Last 12 Months
During the first UK lockdown (March 2020), legal firms quickly adopted widely available communication tools like Microsoft Teams and Zoom and deployed them to keep communication flowing and the business running.
Significantly, over the last year, law firms found that technology could actually increase client time and billable hours. However, like many other organisations, they found the move to remote working presented new challenges for network and IT security.
The rapid switch to remote working presented a much larger attack surface with new opportunities for cyber-criminals to exploit vulnerabilities with IoT devices and home WiFi.
The SonicWall Cyber Threat report 2021 showed that attacks on IoT devices rose by 66% in 2020.
The Move to Hybrid Working
Legal has been one of the few sectors to exploit the benefits of remote working. The move to ‘hybrid working’ will be part of most firms’ strategies, as offices start to open up again.
With the long hours that lawyers work, hybrid working meets the demands of the marketplace for a more flexible approach to working.
If the right technology is in place, hybrid working allows lawyers to carry out their everyday tasks without the need to spend time and money on travelling. With effective communication tools and high-quality video and voice calling, lawyers can spend more time with clients and increase their billable hours.
The Challenges of Hybrid Working
As with remote working, hybrid working will have its share of challenges to overcome. However, once potential obstacles are identified, they can be quickly removed with the right technology.
Over the last year, lawyers have created safe home-working environments and easily adapted to joining a host of different video meetings via a variety of platforms to communicate with colleagues and clients.
With a return to the office, firms will need to ensure that the workspace is safe and easy to use. Joining meetings and working at desks will need to be simple and safe.
For this to work smoothly, firms will need to take into account how meeting rooms and desks will be booked, what scheduling software will be required to keep the office safe and whether they have the correct technology to enable video conferencing in meeting rooms to work with ease.
The Work from Anywhere Model
The idea that a lawyer could work from anywhere might have been a hotly debated topic a few years ago but now with the year-long proof of concept of remote working, work from anywhere is not just a possibility, it’s a reality.
Here are three areas that need to be addressed to ensure the success of a Work from Anywhere initiative.
There are plenty of software add-ons that can integrate with collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams that provide cloud-based call recording, quality assurance and analytics through AI. This coupled with the correct security software and tools can ensure compliance is maintained.
Using a single sign-on service such as enterprise-grade LastPass allows IT managers the ability to centralise and control every access point whilst giving users the ease of logging in with one click.
Additional bolt-on software is available that can automatically track every billable minute from apps that are used every day by lawyers. This means billable hours are calculated automatically in the background.
If a law firm adopts best-in-class technology and ensures that employees use the tools efficiently, communication improves, compliance is maintained, costs are managed and billable hours increase.
Join Us For An Upcoming Webinar
To find out more about the challenges of hybrid working for law firms and the tools that can enable Work from Anywhere, please join us for our upcoming webinar Anywhere Working for Law Firms on Wednesday 5th May by signing up here.
About Datasharp Integrated Communications
Datasharp Integrated Communications is an award-winning, leading provider of Unified Communications & collaboration solutions including voice, data, mobile, video, network security and contact centre technology for businesses of 50 – 5,000 staff.
We are a premier member of the Datasharp Group – established in 1980 – one of the longest-standing and most respected communications solution providers in the UK.
We have clients across the south of England and in Europe and our own, on-premises, 1,000 ft² Technology Suite at our Bath office, where we host regular events and showcase technology solutions for our clients. Contact us for your free comms audit or product demo.
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