There’s never a dull moment in a law firm. Everyone is busy, and a lot of the work they need to do revolves around the technology they have. Outdated technology can hold your law firm back. You can’t guarantee top-of-the-line security for your clients’ personal information. It takes longer to access the things you need on a computer running at a fraction of its maximum speed. Is your technology outdated? Here are the telltale signs:
- Your computer monitors are heavy.
Technology is now small and lightweight. Innovation has delivered us tiny, compact versions of things that once took an entire room to store. If you’re still using old, boxy monitors, you’ve been out of the loop for a while. You might want to look around for heavy pieces of technology. Chances are, many of them have already outlived their lifespans.
- You still have tons of file cabinets.
A secure computer system with desktop scanners and organizational software makes boxes and boxes of paper file storage obsolete. Keeping and encrypting old files that may need to be referenced again is relatively easy. It also saves you a ton of floor space. If your current technology can’t handle the task of modernizing your current file system, it’s behind the times.
- You aren’t automating anything.
Law firms are often inundated with small and menial tasks. Emails need to be sent out. Schedules need to be updated. Project management progress needs to be updated to reflect the current amount of work done leading up to a deadline. If your technology is so far behind that you don’t have any automation options to utilize, you’re wasting time. With better technology comes more options that you can utilize to be more productive at your law firm.
- It takes a long time to help clients.
Technology needs to be fast to be effective. The idea behind using a computer or a tablet is that the information can be accessed quickly and easily. Old technology is slow. In some cases, it will take the same amount of time to go into a back room and dig through boxes to find the information. You should never feel like your tech is holding you back. That’s why most businesses replace their computers every five years — they’ve lived long lives, and without a wealth of upgrades, they won’t perform the same way they used to.
- You frequently deal with tech support problems.
Many IT professionals and repair experts won’t remember what they need to do to fix specific quirks with old technology — their training has been updated, and the equipment or software you’re using may be so obsolete that current approaches can’t resolve the problem. Even worse, some problems cannot be fixed. It may cost more to attempt to salvage what you have than it would to buy a new piece of technology that won’t face the same problems. Opting for newer technology will allow you to receive prompt and accurate help when you need it.
- Your warranties or support arrangements are out of date.
Technology and operating systems that are no longer supported by the companies that released them leave people without options for recourse when they need extra help. Technology that’s significantly outdated but still theoretically supported isn’t much easier. Windows has stopped providing support for many of their earlier operating systems.
Unfortunately, many businesses still run on Windows XP because they haven’t considered upgrading since the operating system was released in 2001. If you’re running an operating system that’s close to two decades old, you cannot possibly have the support you need or access to software that would help you run your law firm — nobody releases versions for operating systems declared obsolete by their creators.
- Your employees would rather use their own devices.
If your employees are on their own phones and laptops all day, it might seem like they’re not doing their jobs. Sometimes, employees will use their own devices because they feel as though the technology provided for them is holding them back. If your computers are sitting untouched because employees are bringing their own devices to work, sit down and talk with them. Ask what they prefer and what they use, create a standard for the firm and provide them all with the same new technology. It will keep everyone on the same page.
Investing in technology is investing in the future of your law firm. Regularly update and maintain the technology you have available in order to provide the highest quality of service to your customers.
Lucy Taylor is an avid blogger who enjoys sharing tips and suggestions with her online readers. Working as a legal expert at LY Lawyers, she helps people dealing with legal problems, addictions and crime. The original article can be found here.
ABA Law Technology Today was launched in 2012 to provide the legal community with practical guidance for the present and sensible strategies for the future. LTT brings together practicing lawyers, technology professionals and practice management experts from a wide range of practice settings and backgrounds. LTT is published by the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center.