December 31, 2018 practice point

Hey Computer: Make My Law Firm Run Smoother

By Kelsey Heino

There’s only 24 hours in a day, and as much as I’d love to join you for happy hour/dinner/your 4th grade concert, but that paperwork isn’t going to complete itself! If you’re a solo or small firm practitioner, these probably all sound familiar to you. You know the feeling: So much to do and not enough time to do it in. Without the economies of scale that make Big Law firms run like clockwork, how can solo and small firm practitioners compete in this rapidly-changing legal environment? Technology.

Not only can legal technology make your life easier and help your firm stand out from its analog competitors, but in a majority of states attorneys now have a duty to remain up-to-date on emerging trends in the industry. Here are three strategies for keeping up with Jones Day.

  1. Use your smart speaker for more than just music. The holiday commercials for Amazon Alexa and Google Home Mini did a great job demonstrating all the different ways the smart speakers can be used around the house. But what about at the office? You can tell Alexa to do almost anything, from managing your calendar to analyzing your website traffic. Make sure you’re taking full advantage of all that little orb on the corner of your desk has to offer!
  1. Track your tweets and tags. We all know social media offers the potential for fantastic guerilla marketing, but how do we best capture that opportunity? Well, one easy step is to be sure you know what’s going on with your firm’s social media presence at all times. One quick way to sink your firm’s digital marketing efforts is to leave a bad review unanswered or fail to answer a question posed on Facebook. Big Law has sophisticated technology and sometimes even staff dedicated to any social media presence. Small firms can compete with free software like Hootsuite, or if the funds are available, with for-cost inbound content management options like Hubspot. Jones Day and Skadden are already household names (well, lawyer households); content management or social media analysis tools can get your firm on the way to becoming one too!
  1. Make cybersecurity a priority. IT consulting company Logicforce conducted a study in 2016 which found over 10,000 network intrusion attempts per day across just 200 law firms. Data breaches are making national news on an increasingly regular basis. Is your firm prepared to mitigate a breach? Having a plan in place is critical, but oftentimes it’s no longer enough. Many corporate clients are now conducting cybersecurity audits to verify that their valuable information is safe at their attorneys’ office. To get prepared for 2019, your firm should consider investing in cybersecurity technology and cyber insurance. A great starting point is the ABA Cybersecurity Handbook: A Resource for Attorneys, Law Firms, and Business Professionals, Second Edition.

Kelsey Heino is a civil litigation attorney with Goosmann Law Firm in Sioux City, Iowa.

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