The time is now

Charlotte-ParkinsonCharlotte Parkinson, Modern Law Magazine, spoke to Darren Gower, Eclipse Legal Systems, about how service providers are helping law firms remain efficient and cost effective during a time when many clients are expecting the same high levels of service for lower costs.

At a time when many law firms are being forced to adapt and look for fresh and innovative ways of running their firms, many are looking to their service providers for guidance. Of course, one of the largest and arguably the least utilised and understood of these is the IT service provider.

While it is impossible not to have noticed the – to use the word of the moment – change, some people are still uncertain about exactly how and why utilising technology could benefit them and enable them to start running their law firms as businesses. It has certainly become clear that, in light of the ABS era and other developments in the field, firms need to move away from the thinking and towards the doing in order to achieve this. In the past, many have viewed IT as an unknown quantity, preferring to stay in line with the traditional way of running their firms. Many have felt unsure of how they should be using technology to assist in the transition from the old to the new era of legal services.

Change for growth

There is no doubt that the time is definitely now for the legal sector to embrace technology, as other sectors have done already and it is clear that here are definitely lessons that can be learned by looking at these. The Insurance division, for example, now utilise aggregator websites to streamline the process of claims handling for all parties involved. There are certainly some law firms that either  have already, or are in the process of, acting and reacting to changes. They have realised the responsibility their decision makers have to understand and embrace technology so they can use it to deliver tangible business results. There are, however, still those whose understanding of technology leaves something to be desired.

It is therefore key to look at where the future of technology is heading as it is fast becoming a primary driver of market differentiation, business growth and profitability. Of course, while the needs and demands of each firm will differ depending on such factors as specialisms and size, all firms wishing to embrace the change are looking to their service providers to supply them with secure, efficient, value for money and innovative solutions.

So, in an ever evolving era where client expectation is rising, what is out there? While there is no doubt that the challenges that face the legal sector have never been greater, therein also lays opportunity to truly differentiate and generate competitive advantage.

Darren Gower comments:

“For example, one technology recently revealed is Eclipse’s own ‘TouchPoint’ client self-service portal. TouchPoint provides a secure, online, device-independent way for clients and customers to manage their own cases. Administrative costs are saved, and the opportunity to provide a transparent and instantaneous service is presented. As the market changes, and clients demand a different ‘type’ of service, firms should look to technology such as self-service portals as a key way to stand out from the crowd and deliver a truly different standard of client experience.”