In the year since the coronavirus pandemic first swept the globe, the legal industry has changed in dramatic and unprecedented ways, and many of these changes will likely become permanent. Legal teams have shifted their centers of gravity from physical spaces in shared offices to remote corners of individual homes, and clients may only ever meet their lawyers on a video conferencing service. And while new technologies have emerged to help bridge these sudden gaps, there is sometimes a steep learning curve and failing to grasp new tech can lead to additional continuity issues. Not to mention that lawyers are required to ensure of level of technology competence, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology.
As a result of the pandemic, technology is becoming increasingly ubiquitous and collaboration is more challenging and more frequently done online.
While drastic and sudden changes, which are unavoidable in the COVID-19 era, will always marshal new struggles, learning to leverage the best technology correctly can also help eliminate many of the negative issues associated with change. For example, with a safe, secure, and supported transaction platform, law firms can instead develop systematic workflows, remove the chaos that comes from physically running around when closing deals, and provide more specific value-added services for their clients.
Here’s how adopting the right technology can go a long way in enhancing client relationships and actually humanizing the overall deal process.
1. Focus on the client experience while improving efficiency
The client experience is at the heart of every deal and when lawyers are bogged down with paper documents, revisions, and everything that goes into capturing signatures, they can easily lose sight of this crucial piece. Adding insult to injury, the time spent searching for attachments, managing signatures, and creating closing books often gets written off.
Adopting a transaction management software tool like Litera Transact can actually help firms better engage and impress their clients all while improving internal productivity. Win-win solutions like this are effective because they establish trust by enabling legal teams to manage interactive checklists. External parties can, in real-time, access all documents, versions, and deliverables throughout every stage of the deal process. While clients are confidently looped in, legal teams can then focus on the tasks that matter in a timely manner. This can include customizing and organizing automated signature packets, creating closing books, and collecting and managing all diligence documents in a centralized data room with built-in communication and workflow tools. With less time and focus needed on completing tasks, legal teams and focus on achieving the best outcomes for their clients.
2. Enhance collaboration via improved communication
Simply meeting someone in-person does not guarantee that communication will go smoothly in the same way that corresponding exclusively online doesn’t ensure that communication will be impersonal. Even when everyone works in the same office, relevant parties are still divided between multiple organizations and jurisdictions. Just think about how easy it was to get caught up in a slow game of telephone when one person had to manually update closing checklists and then circulate updates to every deal participant via whatever communication method they preferred, be it email, phone call, or a scheduled meeting. Most concerning, a single misstep by one individual could lead to a wide ripple effect, causing fragmented communications and even missed deadlines.
Instead, a strong transaction management tool can efficiently synchronize communication among the entire team by providing real-time updates thanks to centralized diligence and closing checklists. Tools like Litera Transact actually convert manual, tedious processes into secure collaborative workspaces so that legal teams can efficiently manage multiple inputs from multiple parties, ensuring everyone is on the same page at the same time. This kind of enhanced collaboration goes a long way in making all involved parties feel represented and clued in.
3. Embrace technology for the friend that it is
It’s nearly impossible for any human living today to not be intimately familiar with technology. From our phones to our kitchen appliances, technology powers much of our daily life. Yet many of us still greet advancements with some resistance or even downright hostility. The legal industry comes by its reluctance to adopt technology quite honestly since protecting client interests is the bread and butter of every practice and few things make us feel more vulnerable than cybersecurity threats. But instead of viewing technology as a component of cybersecurity issues, it’s helpful to view it as an ally and our best defense in protecting our assets. Email has always been the biggest point of vulnerability for law firms, but by pulling the confidential documents and communications out of email and into a secure platform, law firms can truly enhance the defense against hackers.
Transaction management tools further leverage the benefits of technology by automating and streamlining processes while mitigating risk of exposure. Instead of relying on manual files or even human memory to extract exemplar material, collaborative workspaces such as Litera Transact allow legal teams to draw on previous work, which accelerates crucial steps such as creating custom closing books and ensuring every signature page is received.
The bottom line is that the legal industry is unlikely to return to the way it operated before the pandemic. But instead of resisting the avalanche of new technology, innovative legal teams can actually better humanize their practices by adopting a trusted platform that streamlines the tasks that tend to get in the way of providing the best experience for their clients.