A number of electronic collaboration tools have emerged in recent years, dramatically altering the way in which legal support personnel and attorneys work.  These collaboration platforms provide a meaningful competitive advantage for law firms of all varieties.  Whether you work in a legal support role or have a JD, you can benefit from emerging collaboration platforms.

The Value of Collaboration Platforms

Take a moment to think about the many interactions you have with attorneys, fellow support staff and other colleagues throughout the average workday.  These interactions are necessary to manage cases, edit documents, update calendars and bill clients.  Though workplace interaction is essential for success, it is time consuming.  As is often said, your time is your money.  Time is undoubtedly your legal team’s most valuable asset.  Consider the amount of time you invest in composing emails, making phone calls, texting colleagues and sleuthing documents.  You also spend time logging in and out of your law firm’s systems for document management, client billing, calendaring and legal research.

If your communication methods are not as efficient as possible, you will unnecessarily burn through time and money.  The bottom line is nearly every law firm function can be enhanced with a brand new technology category centered on enhancing the productivity of legal support staff and attorneys.  The emergence of enterprise collaboration is dramatically changing today’s law firms and the manner in which law firms will communicate in the years to come.

The Rise of Enterprise Collaboration

Collaboration platforms rely on a single tool for messaging, on-demand document sharing, screen sharing, team conversations and video conferencing.  Documents and messages are organized through activity streams including discussions, projects and other important matters.  Collaborative platforms are available on just about every computing device from laptops to desktops, tablets and other mobile devices.  These platforms empower your legal team to interact with one another as an entire group or one-on-one.  It does not matter if your team is positioned in the same office or scattered across an array of countries across the globe; you will be able to collaborate with surprising ease.

All it takes is a single button click to video conference, share files or email your team.  In fact, enterprise collaboration even empowers you to poll multiple people for input through surveys updated in real time.  This way, you do not have to waste your time searching for a specific document across an array of servers or systems.  Collaboration platforms allow you to store documents in a completely secure manner in a single destination, allowing for optimal organization and efficient sleuthing with the use of keywords.  Today’s collaboration platforms are advanced to the point that they can integrate workflows, applications, communications, data streams and other business processes.  These platforms are quickly becoming the primary digital location for law firm work.  The enhanced productivity created by such integrations ultimately boosts productivity that much more.

Law Firms of all Types can Benefit From Collaboration Platforms

Businesses in non-legal industries have enjoyed the myriad benefits of enterprise collaboration in recent months and years.  Now that this breakthrough technology has reached the legal sector, law firms will enjoy the same benefits.  Take advantage of collaboration platforms and your law firm will no longer have to rely on distinct systems for billing, calendaring, sharing documents, messaging, email and video.  Rather, every staff member can use the collaboration platform across the entirety of the day.  Each employee will receive conversations sent to him or her individually or as a group member.  These messages are transmitted and received in the platform for unparalleled efficiency.

If you need to interact with a co-worker in a face-to-face manner, it will not matter where he or she is positioned.  You can video conference by simply clicking a single button.  Every single email, instant message and document can be seen in the hours after work on the uber-convenient app for mobile collaboration.  It will not be long until these platforms provide access to a seemingly endless number of legal applications across the entire marketplace.  From depositions to legal research, AI software, analytics and beyond, access will be available in an on-demand fashion.

How Law Firms can tap Into the Power of Collaboration Platforms

Law firm dynamics will continue to change as new tech platforms are created.  Law firm staff should consider the advantages of emerging collaboration platforms as a component of the overarching IT strategy.  Familiarize yourself with the merits of collaboration software and you will find these systems really are easy to use, fairly simple and quite intuitive.  There is no reason to be intimidated.

Most law firms find it best to start off with collaboration deployment through a pilot team and subsequently expanding throughout the organization.  Search for important integrations that can be implemented such as integrated email clients for functionality with the firm’s email system to guarantee there are not any interruptions as information is transmitted.  Collaboration software provides the ability to establish administrative controls, monitor employee use and ensure full compliance.  Take full advantage of these platforms and you will find your law firm staff thinks completely differently about daily communication and ultimately works in the most efficient manner possible.