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The Legal Software Shift: Recent Report Highlights Efficiency and Flexibility Gains

Stacked3Here is a recent Daily Record column. My past Daily Record articles can be accessed here.


The Legal Software Shift: Recent Report Highlights Efficiency and Flexibility Gains

Technology is advancing at a rapid clip, and keeping up isn’t easy, especially when you’ve got a busy caseload to manage. When faced with looming court deadlines, constant client phone calls, and an overflowing inbox, the prospect of incorporating new technologies into your daily workflow can sometimes seem daunting.

Fortunately, new technologies are increasingly user-friendly and it’s easier than ever to implement new software tools into your law firm. The results of a recently released legal industry report confirm this premise and show that legal professionals are embracing new technologies and reaping the benefits.

According to data from the MyCase and LawPay 2022 Legal Industry Report, lawyers are taking advantage of cloud computing tools at rates never before seen. The survey data indicated that 80% of the legal professionals reported that their firms now use cloud-based legal software, and 47% invested in cloud-based remote working tools within the past year. The top remote working tools invested in by law firms were: video conferencing (73%), e-signature (60%), communication software (42%), billing software (34%), and law practice management software (32%).

Another way that lawyers are using technology is to increase payment flexibility for their clients thus ensuring prompt payment of legal bills. Data from the Report indicated that 80% of law firms now accept online payments via credit card or e-check, and 75% rely on legal-specific payment processing tools to collect payments. Notably, 61% of the legal professionals surveyed reported that their firms collected more money as a result of using online payment processing software, and the collection rates for firms that accepted online payments were nearly 10% higher than those that didn’t.

Similarly, the data showed that the turnaround time for receiving payment was reduced when online payments were accepted. For starters, according to the data, firms that accepted online payments received invoice payments 32% faster than those that didn’t users. 

The same was true for consultation fees, with 26% of firms using online payments reporting that the turnaround time was reduced by 2-5 days, and 13% shared that it was reduced by more than five days. Firms that accepted online payment for consultation fees also collected additional money over the period of one year than those that didn’t to the tune of $12 million more.

The data also showed that law firms are increasingly offering clients multiple ways to pay legal fees, with 49% of respondents sharing that their firms offer or would consider offering their clients the ability to pay legal fees using legal fee loans. Another 65% provide clients with the option to set up payment plans for legal fees. 

Finally, the Report included data on how much customization legal professionals seek in their firm’s primary operating software, such as law practice management or project management software. The top features that the respondents sought to have included in their primary operating software were time tracking and billing (65%), calendar management (59%), document management (54%), online payment processing (47%), email management (38%), e-signature (31%), and task management (29%).

In comparison, the top tools that law firms chose to integrate with their primary operating software included: email (45%), document storage (43%), accounting (29%), and document automation (23%). 

Finally, data from the Report showed that the top functions that firms outsourced rather than handling within the firm were: website maintenance (53%), website development 52%), email marketing (35%), and accounting (33%).

No matter how you look at it, one thing is clear: the legal industry is in the midst of a transformative shift that is revolutionizing the way legal professionals work and deliver legal services. This Report highlights not only the increased efficiency and flexibility that technology offers legal professionals but also the broader implications of this impactful transition. 

Legal professionals navigating the technology landscape must adapt to these emerging trends or risk falling behind. In other words, for lawyers seeking to maintain a competitive edge, embracing the potential of legal technology is no longer optional; it’s a necessity.

Nicole Black is a Rochester, New York attorney, author, journalist, and the head of SME and External Education at MyCase  law practice management software, an AffiniPay company. She is the author of the ABA book Cloud Computing for Lawyers, co-authors the ABA book Social Media for Lawyers: the Next Frontier, and co-authors Criminal Law in New York, a Thomson Reuters treatise. She writes legal technology columns for Above the Law and ABA Journal and speaks regularly at conferences regarding the intersection of law and technology. You can follow her on Twitter at @nikiblack or email her at [email protected].