In 2018, global investment in legal technology surpassed one billion dollars. The growing prevalence of technology in professional sectors has forced implementation in law simply to maintain competition. With the speed and security that come with artfully constructed networks and software, as well as the role of metrics in judicial rulings, law firms can no longer ignore the necessity of technology for the practice. Yet, technology often carries a daunting connotation, and the particulars of using it can easily mystify the average user. While law firms need to adopt technology as a tool, they sometimes lack the proficiency to optimize its use. Companies that specialize in IT lifecycle services work in conjunction with law firms to repair this shortfall, providing technological aptitude in acquisition, maintenance, and disposal of all the hardware that can enhance the legal field.
How Do Law Firms Use Technology?
Technology has transformed the basic procedure of law. The digitalization of paper communication has altered the way with which lawyers correspond not only with their clients but also each other. From welcome letters and retainers initially, to settlements, notices, and disclosures throughout the trial, document generation fuels every interaction between the client and the lawyer and the lawyer and the court.
Court proceedings possess a notorious level of technical precision that requires all parties remain constantly up to date. Frequent correspondence cannot overcome disorganization. Many law firms have turned to Digital Case Management systems to schedule dates, manage documents, and record contact lists, depending on computer automation to organize operations and distribute information to the relevant team members.
The proper distribution of information ensures that all appropriate counsel has access to all the information they need to fully represent their client before the court. At the same time, however, every client deserves confidentiality. Siloing information within a single file can significantly delay proceedings, but storing data in multiple locations or across email inboxes poses a severe risk to client privacy. Premier law firms guarantee privacy through adopting a singular, overarching system of correspondence and data management. Using in-house communication networks mitigates the potential for information compromise. Security software not only protects sensitive data but catalyzes its movement between the authorized members of a legal team.
Every reputable lawyer understands the gravity of malpractice. Internal communication allays risks and streamlines efficiency by consolidating information within a network as an avenue for collaboration. Centralizing an operating system within a law firm organizes the day-to-day functions and naturally induces productivity. It also holds bad lawyers accountable. Technology records analytics that represent lawyers’ productivity, the rate at which they work, and their coordination with team members. Technology helps lawyers manage their clients, but it also helps firms manage their lawyers.
A significant portion of law depends on access to historical cases. While the internet is the largest single repository of information in history, until 2018 it did not include legal archives. In October of that year, Harvard University’s Caselaw Access Project digitalized 334 years of legal history, roughly 6.4 million cases, constructing an entire database of state and federal rulings available to lawyers across the nation. While this project has fundamentally altered the way lawyers are able to construct cases, the growth of eDiscovery software has had an equal impact. Electronic-discovery allows professionals to search through the plethora of archived media for keywords and phrases they feel are relevant to particular cases. The growth of technology coincides with a growth of data, and legally-relevant data stored in emails, files, or IoT devices could easily vanish beneath virtual mountains of irrelevant information. eDiscovery eliminates the time it takes to sift through information, thereby streamlining the entire process and optimizing the nature of the court case.
How Can Lifecycle Services Help Law Firms?
The modern technology that galvanizes law procedure depends on the use of computers. Digital illiteracy can hamper a court case no matter the resources available to a lawyer. With the Caselaw Access Project, as well as the ease of finding analytics to support arguments, ignoring the value of technology can kill even the most prestigious firm. Yet, law firms may nonetheless struggle to properly adopt the use of technology.
Too often, businesses overspend on computers overqualified for their intended function. Hundreds of dollars can go to waste on computer traits that will never be used. With an emphasis on cost-reduction, IT lifecycle services begin with the informed selection of only necessary hardware. The deployment and installation follows, performed by trained technicians who will construct a centralized network of relevant devices. Throughout the lifespan of these computers, lifecycle services oversee their maintenance and continued upgrading, extending the life and cutting further, unnecessary costs.
When a device becomes defunct, however, lifecycle services will carry out not only a responsible disposal, but the certified destruction of all the remaining data. Data Sanitization marks the most important prerequisite to disposing of any piece of hardware. Gifted technicians can recover sensitive data from hard drives and mobile devices such as credit card information and social security numbers, but Data Sanitization verifies complete erasure of all contained data. In legal matters, privacy remains one of the most foundational pillars of impartiality. Confidentiality matters not only to the client but to the integrity of the legal system. Partnering with an IT lifecycle service company guarantees the destruction of data from retired devices, and in doing so preserves the strictures that keep the judicial system objective.
Law firms can no longer ignore the prevalence of technology within the field. It is not a question of if to use, but when. IT lifecycle services provide the necessary acumen to implement technology to its fullest extent. Maintenance and constant updates ensure that the equipment continues to operate at peak efficiency, until it inevitably ceases to work. All the information that was stored or ever stored on it will be destroyed through a verified process of erasure, and only at that point will the device be responsibly recycled, and all its usable material salvaged. Lifecycle services provide the technological support for law firms to not only compete within the business of law, but to ensure client representation to the fullest extent of their ability.