The sensitive case files and delicate nature of attorneys working with clients to negotiate the legal system have become overwhelmingly reliant on technology. The need for email encryption, case management systems, billable hours, document organization, video conferencing, and mobile device connectivity, among many other technology assets has never been greater.
Despite the realities of law firms doing business in the technology age, less than half reportedly have a formal IT budget and upward of 25 percent have yet to adopt an IT policy. That leaves today’s law firms in a frighteningly vulnerable position. At On Time Tech, our team of trained professionals delivers law firm managed IT services in the San Francisco Bay area. These are arguments that could prove to be a winning case for your law firm’s managed IT services.
It’s important for law firms to consider that the days of independent cybersecurity decision-making are something of a dinosaur. A 2016 ABA Legal Technology Survey Report indicated that clients are now pressuring law firms to update and maintain the highest level of cybersecurity. In fact, the report pointed to more than 62 percent of large firms over 500 lawyers, and a total of 30 percent of all organizations being given requirements from their clients.
It’s difficult to present yourself as the best person to represent someone in a critical legal battle when the firms’ cybersecurity is deficient. When firms enlist the help of a trained IT contractor, these rank among the top benefits.
Undetected malware infiltrations and straight-forward system hacks place the attorney-client relationship in constant jeopardy. When a security breach occurs, confidential materials may be held hostage or distributed in a manner that damages the reputation of your client and law firm. In the legal community, reputation is the bedrock on which a firm’s success is built. Managed IT services put security protocols in place to prevent viruses from infecting your system. And, the 24-7 monitoring and constant security application updates provide the best possible defense that you and your clients deserve.
As a law firm, your team is most likely comprised of highly educated and bright legal minds. From the paralegals who research briefs to the admin people who keep the caseload moving to the frontline lawyers who argue on the clients’ behalf, you are experts. Of course, it’s unlikely any of your team members moonlight as IT specialists. When communications between systems break down, workstations malfunction, or switching an entire voice system are needed, it’s considerably cost-effective to have an ongoing contract with an IT outfit than piece things together. Expertise, skill, and forward-thinking planning matter.
People outside the legal professional sometimes fail to understand that law firms function under many of the same principles as other businesses. Office, space, payroll, admin costs, and expenses are real considerations when monthly and annual budgets are reviewed. It has become a common practice for firms to hire part-time, in-house technicians as a way to keep the cost down. The result has too often resulted in a penny-wise but dollar-foolish practice.
Although an entry-level tech person may be able to update software or service a desktop, the expertise required to sync mobile devices with onsite computer files and keep everything fully protected is a task left for people with substantial experience. Those same independent tech people law firms employ are often apprentice-level workers at an established IT services company. Until they reach a certain level of global knowledge about technology, expensive mistakes will be made. Some could prove debilitating to the firm’s focus. You wouldn’t send a first-year lawyer to argue a critical superior court case. Managed IT service people are no different.
Attracting good-paying clients requires a law firm to distinguish itself from the pack. Whether that client wants to pursue a multi-million-dollar civil lawsuit or is involved in a high-profile criminal trial, you want your law firm to get the call. Other than billboards and catchy TV ads, what makes a difference? Having a competitive edge. These technologies could deliver a critical advantage to your law firm.
Today’s law firms are faced with many of the same technology challenges as other industries. And like other sectors, your business also has unique issues that are better served by working with an IT service contractor intimately familiar with law firms. On Time Tech provides law firm managed IT services in the San Francisco Bay area.