Why do some attorney’s have an aversion to bringing their firms technology into the 21st century?
For example how many law firms, whether solo practices or slightly larger, can’t be located online through a company website? And how many attorney email addresses still end in aol.com?
Amazingly the answer is more than you can imagine!
The following article written by attorney Alexander Paykin from the law office of the same name addresses some of the issues and concerns that might be holding some firms back from taking the plunge in an IT upgrade of their office.
The Digital Office Can’t Have Walls
In the last 20 years, I’ve worked as an Associate Attorney, a CEO, a Managing Director, a President, an Office Manager, a Paralegal, a Loss Mitigator, a Loan Officer, an IT Consultant, Software Developer, Software Designed, Coder, Computer Repairman, IT Support Desk Operator, Customer Service Manager, Employee Trainer, Electronics Salesman, Automotive Technician and even a Car Salesman.
Of all the professions and professionals that I’ve worked with, two groups stand out as particularly computer-phobic and tech-averse. Doctors and Lawyers. I won’t focus on doctors today, since they are already being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century by various insurance and agency regulations. Lawyers haven’t been as lucky.
Law firms are, for the most part, unregulated. Sure, we’re bound to corporate regulations, attorney ethics rules, and depending on your state, possible volumes of other regulations. But they’re not important for this conversation. What I mean to say is that we are not at all regulated in the kinds of technology we use.
Many a lawyer I know still uses America Online as their primary work e-mail address. The majority still keep their case files in those large metal caskets that line the walls of their offices. They archive their files into cardboard boxes and pay exorbitant fees to keep them in storage for the requisite years. And if their client calls them on a Saturday afternoon, panicked that she suddenly needs that copy of the Healthcare Proxy, and she can’t find hers, they run out to the office and start digging. Only a tiny percentage would be able to put their client on hold, open up their firm’s cloud file access app, directly on their smartphone, and email the document over to the client that same moment, coming back to the line seconds later to assure the client that the document is on its way.
Is the cost prohibitive? No.
Is the implementation too complicated and costly? No. In fact, the mere savings of the space, the filing cabinets, the copy machine and the reduction in postage will more than offset the costs of going digital.
In reality, fear is the ultimate speed bump and the unknown makes cowards of us all.
How will I transition? What will happen to all the paper? Imagine the chaos of scanning everything in? What if there’s a power outage?
So many fears, so little reasoning.
The beauty of a cloud-based digital office is that your documents are available to you from off-site. Not by connecting to your on-site machines, but directly from the cloud. But you can also keep a synced copy on your local machine and continue working with Windows Explorer, Microsoft Word, and all of the other applications you’re used to. It’s just that when you hit save, the file copies itself into your private storage space, in the cloud. Then, you can shut off your machine and go to Tahiti. When you get there, log onto your cloud and surprise! Your document came with you.
Power outage at your main office? No problem. You are actually more protected with a cloud based digital office. A paper-based office is stuck where it is, with candles and no computers or copy machines, you’re closing for the day and going home. A digital office where everything is onsite is even worse off. You don’t even have the paper files to rummage through. A cloud based office? “Everybody, you’re working from home until further notice.” Home doesn’t have power either? Major catastrophe and the power won’t be restored for weeks? “We’re booking a hotel just past where the power isn’t down. Everyone grab a laptop. We’re working from Springfield this week!”
But more than anything, the crippling fear is of the conversion process. I can tell you now, it is not as bad as it seems. Once you have your office management and cloud software in place, all you need is a high speed professional grade scanner (not one you bought at BestBuy and certainly not the top of a multi-function printer). From there, you’d be amazed how quickly your staff will start emptying filing cabinets. Don’t have a staff? Many consulting companies, mine included, offer temporary document imaging technicians to come in and scan your filing cabinets away. You’ll be amazed how much real estate your office really has, once the filing cabinets and copy machines are taken away…
Of course a fully integrated system is more than just cloud based case management and document access. It’s automated cloud-based billing, with client portals allowing for instant online payments. It’s a phone system that knows where you are and routes your calls to you, rather to your empty office. It’s a postage system that remembers everything you mailed and creates a shipping log on demand. It’s your fax number emailing you PDFs of the faxes you receive and your phone emailing you your voicemail. It’s the ability to text with your clients on your business number.
It’s your phone, SMS, fax, email, address book, calendar, practice management, time entry, task management, billing, document storage, accounting, client communications and record keeping, all in one place. The cloud. And all available to you where you need them most: Everywhere!
The Law Office O Alexander Paykin, PC is primarily focused in litigation, specifically in complex real estate and business matters. The firm handles complex multi-million dollar commercial transactions and litigation, as well as actions to resolve and quiet title, lender and borrower side foreclosure representation (commercial and residential) and business shareholder disputes and derivative actions. In addition they also handle criminal matters, as well as general real estate and commercial transactions.Google+