As law firms begin to plan for a post-pandemic world, how we work and where we work — and all the associated questions — are on the table. In fact, never has the future of the firm been as up for discussion as it is today. In fact, it is ripe for disruption and innovation.

An innovative and agile mindset separates the organizations of tomorrow from those of yesterday. Law firms that are not afraid to question the status quo will find themselves better able to handle future disruptions and attract and retain the best talent and clients.

So, let’s take this moment as an opportunity to rethink the future of the workplace. The following are 5 considerations as we prepare for the law firm of tomorrow to come out stronger on the other side of the pandemic.

  1. Your office space- We will still have offices, BUT….. While we don’t see firms completely ditching offices, the new normal hybrid work environment will only require a few areas to meet with clients and hold meetings, workspace for support staff, and a handful of individual shared offices that attorneys and other staff can use when they come to the building. Leverage trusted partners and technology to help you reevaluate and adapt your existing spaces for the post-Covid-19 world.
  2. In cloud-based technologies - It’s time to debunk the common misconception that cloud is something new. Cloud-based practice management tools and online billing solutions are a key component of a remote workplace. Most on-premises applications can securely exist offsite. And you might even be able to move away from the traditional server room model while adding remote accessibility and decreasing IT costs. More importantly, firms must start thinking strategically about how to maximize cloud-based tools in anticipation of growing preferences for remote or hybrid work.
  3. A file lifecycle workflow - It's critical today to have a file lifecycle workflow where you track and audit the history of client material from beginning to end. Clients have been auditing how you handle their files for some time now. If you don’t have such a program, implement one because you will be asked about your retention policy if you haven’t been posed this question already
  4. Use business intelligence to improve your operations - Turn data into data-driven decisions to improve your operations. The Business Intelligence approach uses technology to analyze and uncover opportunities the firm hadn’t previously considered. Business intelligence can not only tell you where expense cuts need to be made or where you can eliminate inefficiencies, but it can help predict the future by allowing your firm to see trends and figure out clients’ needs faster. This will in turn improve your efficiency and make your clients happier.
  5. Develop best ways to recapture costs and reduce redundancies - Duplication of efforts is frustrating on top of being expensive. Historically, attorneys are famous for being OK with duplication of product thinking — the more places something is stored, the more likely they can get what they want when they need it. The opposite has become true now that the proliferation of duplication has created a massive headache for firms to be able to responsibly govern their information.

One note: when looking at new technology solutions, be open to doing a “deep-dive” on changing the firm’s habits. Too often, we see a firm move to a new technology solution only to replicate old behavior.

Given the urgency of investing in tools to support new ways of working, you might be tempted to invest in technology without giving it much thought. However, implementing tools without looking into what they can do for your law firm can cause more damage than you anticipate.

Identify your needs and pain points and invest in tools that address them. And work with a technology partner, internal or external, that is willing to invest alongside your firm throughout your technology transformation.

At VDS, we’re ready to help.