February 1, 2022
The Latest Tools for Hybrid Legal Pros
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally changed how law firms function. Nearly all firms had to make an immediate switch to remote work that continued through 2021. Now in 2022, more firms are requiring their staff to return to in-office work for two to three days a week. The adjustment to hybrid work actually presents more obstacles for firms than the initial switch to remote work back in the spring of 2020. Why, then, is hybrid work a unique challenge for the legal industry?
When employees can pick which days of the week they will be in-office—and those days may change from week to week—it can be very difficult to plan who will be in the same place at the same time. How can you ensure information doesn’t get lost if you don’t know who will be in the office from one day to the next? How do you keep all employees on an even playing field so that no one is left behind, regardless of where they are working?
Hybrid work is also accelerating the digital transformation of law firms at a more rapid pace than prior to the pandemic. According to a McKinsey & Company study, COVID-19 has sped up digital transformation by seven years.
Hybrid work will look different in every law firm, but all law firms must embrace it to some extent, since clients and employees have a strong preference for hybrid solutions over solely in-person environments. If law firms don’t adjust, they’ll notice their talent moving to more digitally focused firms and clients opting for competitors that offer more flexibility.
So, how can your law firm adapt? To thrive in a hybrid environment, you’ll need digital tools that: allow for employees and colleagues to securely communicate with each other, enable document collaboration and secure e-signing, and provide clients with a portal to sign documents and communicate with their legal counsel. These tools increase accessibility for both parties and allow workers a newfound freedom to choose how they work best. While it is an exciting opportunity for law firms to dive head-first into the future, it can also be overwhelming for employees who are not well-versed in these digital tools, or for law firms who have yet to find the right digital tools.
Email is a crucial channel for official business and client communications. But for casual work-related discussions, your firm should opt for an enterprise messaging platform. Here are some of the best messaging apps available:
Slack promotes team collaboration and coordination by organizing discussions into different channels. Whether you’re looking to brainstorm ideas about a new case or see if anyone wants to order Chipotle for lunch, you can easily find the appropriate channel to send a chat. Depending on the needs and culture of your firm, Slack can be a great option for instant messaging.
- Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is another fantastic option for enterprise messaging. Similar to Slack, you can easily chat with different coworkers, or set up more robust “Teams” where you can send project updates and files. Teams also syncs with your Outlook calendar and video, so transitioning from chatting to calling to a video meeting is seamless. If your firm is already utilizing Microsoft tools, Teams can be a useful and easily integrated addition.
- Webex by Cisco
The Webex app is an all-in-one app to call, meet, and message your team. Similar to Microsoft Teams, the Webex app integrates with other Cisco tools to provide unified communication. Webex also offers group messaging, file sharing, and whiteboarding to keep collaboration flowing between meetings.
Document Review and E-signing
A crucial day-to-day function in any law firm is the ability to sign and verify documents easily and securely. While some firms may simply want a digital solution for document review and signing, there are also more robust solutions that include client communications and management. (We’ll tell you more about that in the next section.)
Here are some of the standout solutions for document review, electronic notarization, and e-signing:
PandaDoc is an intuitive solution that is secure and reliable. Legal professionals and external recipients can sign documents from any computer or mobile device. All signatures are paired with an automatically generated audit trail to ensure all information is authentic.
DocuSign saves time, increases productivity, and is one of the most secure solutions on the market. All electronic signatures are secured with a tamper-evident seal. The names, email addresses, IP addresses, and signature timestamp are imbedded into the document. Not only is signing faster with DocuSign, but with its robust digital footprint, it’s even more secure than pen and ink signing. DocuSign also offers electronic notarization, making it more efficient for law firms to notarize documents to provide the best client experience.
Though Clio has many functionalities, it is routinely lauded for its document management, document automation, and e-signatures. Clio makes it easy to store, edit, sync, sign, and organize documents. Keep this crucial information secure and accessible in the cloud for optimal hybrid work efficiency. Electronic notarization is also available through Clio’s integration with OnlineNotary.net. Clients can get their documents notarized in 10 minutes or less, and the notarized documents are sent back to the firm through Clio.
Robust Client Portals
If you are looking for an online portal that can facilitate secure client communications, here are some options that could work for your firm:
Leap's client portal allows for secure communication and collaboration 24/7. Clients can complete intake forms, make payments, schedule appointments, and share documents all within the Leap portal.
- OneSpan Sign Virtual Room
OneSpan aims to bring the human element to remote signing and agreement processes. The OneSpan Sign Virtual Room is an all-in-one digital client engagement solution. It offers real-time communication, simultaneous review, and clarification that allow clients to walk through paperwork — all while capturing electronic evidence that is compliant with legislation requirements.
Moxtra's OneStop Client Interaction Hub provides a modern solution for servicing clients in the digital world. The hub provides a suite of portals supported by client interaction workflows to fast-track client business. Moxtra's OneStop Client Interaction Hub also includes client-centric workflows, interactive capabilities, case workspaces, and top-notch security.
The Future of Hybrid is Now
In addition to the right tools, you’ll also need the perfect set (or sets!) of hands to help your law firm embrace hybrid work. The right talent can accelerate the digital transformation of your firm. We can help you find them. JurisTemps is an industry leader in matching legal professionals at every stage of their career with the right law firms. We pride ourselves in finding legal specialists to fit a law firm’s specific hybrid work needs, like paralegals with experience in digital document review and e-signing compliance. We also offer staffing for temporary positions, newly licensed attorneys, and more. Contact us today—we look forward to assisting you!