Technology Investments In 2007 And The Long-Term Implications For Your Firm

A recent study by Thomson Elite reveals that software investments are a main focus for law practices in 2007 as firms are looking for ways to use technology to improve efficiencies and increase profitability. The survey was completed by technology managers and directors at all types and sizes of firms across the country.

In their study, they found that the number one priority for technology this year is solutions to improve business and administrative operations. Thirty-three percent of law firms indicated that it was their top priority. The other major focus this year will be practice and case management software, which came in second with 28% of law firms indicating that it was their top need this year.

The survey also found that 50 percent of surveyed law firms plan to increase technology spending over their 2006 budget. Right now, approximately 35 to 37 percent of law firms use case and practice management software and this figure will continue to increase alongside annually increasing technology budgets. This is important to note because soon firms that choose to go without case management software will not just be losing an opportunity – they will be unable to compete with rival firms who are using the software. If other firms are able to create a more efficient environment where they are able to take on additional clients without an increase in staff, can deliver better and faster information and services to clients, and have higher job satisfaction levels in their own employees, it will be nearly impossible to compete with them without these advantages.

With the vast array of proven benefits that case management software can offer, the question becomes obvious: why aren’t all firms using it? The problem is that firms are simply looking at the short-term instead of weighing in all of the long-term benefits of how improved operations as a result of this software can benefit and positively influence the future of a law firm. There are short-term obstacles: the time it takes to learn and implement the program and the initial start-up costs of new software. However, in order to compete not just as a law firm but as a business, they must look at how software will positively impact their operations and bottom line in the long-run. Among the numerous long-term benefits; more word-of-mouth marketing from satisfied clients as a result of streamlined processes to better address their needs, increased annual revenue as a result of more billable hours from saved time, and higher job satisfaction and lowered employee turnover from the decrease in monotonous tasks.

As your law firm makes decisions on how to use your technology budget this year, it is important to look at the objectives of your investments. If your law firm wants to use its technology dollars to maximize productivity and get the best return on investment while simultaneously benefiting your firm in the long-run, case management is the clear answer.

Sources:

“IT Survey Shows Law Firms To Prioritize Software Investments in 2007.” FindLaw. Dec 4 2006. http://technology.findlaw.com/articles/01046/010488.html>