We’re living in a world of near-constant tech evolution, and the superhuman capabilities of some artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning solutions is truly astounding, even for those of us who work in technology.

Every industry is leveraging AI and legal software solutions to improve their businesses, and the legal profession is no exception. As the landscape continues to shift under our feet, there are wide-ranging implications for law firms. While technology will no doubt continue to revolutionize the way attorneys and paralegals engage in their work, it will not completely overtake the inherent human element required to practice law.

In this article, we’ll discuss several ways in which technology is reshaping the legal profession and what you need to know about it.

Specifically, we’ll look at things like

  • What lawyers need to know about AI technology, like ChatGPT;
  • Ways AI can boost your law firm’s productivity;
  • How to use your law firm’s CRM to its full potential;
  • Ways to encourage lawyer participation with your technology;
  • Tips for keeping your remote workforce productive.

If you have questions about legal tech solutions or how to improve productivity in your law firm, please get in touch with our team at Honeycrisp to schedule a free consultation.

What Lawyers Need to Know About ChatGPT

Tools and technology are constantly evolving to make our lives easier and more efficient. Among the latest AI advancements to blow our minds is ChatGPT. Aside from the simple “wow” factor of using it, ChatGPT has practical implications for how law firms can build their business and improve efficiencies within their practice.

Released in November 2022 by OpenAI, ChatGPT is a chatbot extraordinaire. Unlike other chatbots that sound, well, rather robotic, ChatGPT has some impressively human capabilities.

The GPT in ChatGPT stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer and is a language model that relies on a complex architecture to generate coherent text responses, translate texts, and develop personalized content, among other applications.

Users engage with the tool by submitting a prompt for the chatbot to respond to. For lawyers, this could mean anything from asking the bot to assist with research on a case to perhaps even drafting a demand letter.

It’s not foolproof and the responses it produces must be checked for accuracy, but the results ChatGPT delivers can serve as a very useful starting point for much of your law firm’s content needs. For example, there are several ways law firms can leverage AI to boost their marketing efforts and increase efficiency within their practice, including by using it as a tool to improve the content on their website or to draft email templates.

A Point of Caution When Using AI

There are limitations to AI, however. The most notable is that these tools are only as intelligent as the data that’s been input into their architecture – and they can’t give an explanation for their answers. AI-produced results may contain flaws and bias. They also are missing the human element of judgment and context as they relate to a given case.

While the future of the legal profession is no doubt paved with technology, it’s clear that bots will not completely overtake the industry. That said, those firms that remain cutting edge with their tech practices stand much to gain in terms of productivity, efficiency, and enhanced service offerings to their clients.

5 Ways AI Can Boost Your Law Firm’s Productivity

Smart law firms that are looking to put more of their efforts into maximizing productivity and less time into mundane tasks should be taking advantage of AI, stat.

Here are 5 ways artificial intelligence can improve productivity in your law firm and save you time and money.

  1. AI frees up time and mental headspace – Analyzing mountains of paperwork and data takes time and can be a mental slog. Taken together, this can result in errors and inefficiencies. Turning to AI applications to scan documents shaves hours from your day and can result in more accurate findings to boot.
  1. AI improves note-taking – Technology like speech recognition software can improve note transcription and allow you to swap the time spent on paperwork tasks to those better spent on more high-value endeavors.
  1. AI automates workflows – AI software allows you to automatically sort and scan documents to improve overall workflows at your law firm.
  1. AI reduces frustration – If you’ve ever wasted time searching for a document or lost hours to legal research, you know how frustrating it can be to lose precious productivity time. AI can automate review, research and document quality so you can focus on value-added client work without the frustration.
  1. AI enables you to produce your best work – Humans can be error-prone, especially when we’re tired, hungry or frustrated. AI technology doesn’t get tired or hungry so the work it produces is consistent (and while it still may be less accurate than your paralegals, it can do some of their heavy lifting). Most importantly, turning to AI for tasks it does well means you can turn your attention to the tasks you do well.

There are many forms of artificial intelligence that can transform the way your law firm works. From document scanning to newer tools like ChatGPT, AI saves time, money and angst so you can be a more productive attorney.

CRM Software: A Tech Tool Your Law Firm Can’t Go Without

Another important legal technology that improves operations, efficiency and productivity in law firms is customer relationship management (CRM) software.Legal CRM software has been around for decades, yet many firms are still not utilizing the technology to the fullest. They make do with less than efficient solutions simply because the burden to switch to a new software seems too great or may feel cost prohibitive.

All technologies, including CRMs, should make your life easier. If they’re not doing that (or you don’t have a CRM at all), it’s time to switch solutions. Full stop.

Where to Start When Switching to a New Legal CRM Software

First, a word about CRMs and how they are different from practice management technology. There tends to be a lot of overlap between these two areas, but they are different. It can be difficult to compare CRMs when some solutions offer case/practice management, some focus on marketing, and others stick solely to CRM. It’s worth noting that if your CRM isn’t working for you, it may be because your CRM isn’t a CRM. For help aligning your technology strategy with your business strategy, come talk to us at Honeycrisp.

A legal CRM should save your firm time, increase efficiency, help you close more leads, improve communication, streamline workflows, and so much more. While there will be a learning curve with any new technology (and you may experience some push-back – or at least grumbling – from others on staff), the payoff will be worth it – literally and figuratively.

For more about how to prepare to migrate to a new legal CRM, be sure to read our “Attorney’s Guide to Switching Legal CRM Software”.

How to Use Your Law Firm’s CRM to Its Full Potential

If we’ve seen it once, we’ve seen it a million times. A law firm (not our client, of course!) spends significant time and money investing in a new technology, only to scratch the surface when it comes to using its full capabilities.

If you feel like your firm might be going down that road, don’t get stuck. Rally your team to make the most out of your CRM by focusing on these areas:

  • Train everyone – The key to user adoption of any technology is training. Make sure everyone on your staff knows how to use the CRM inside and out. That means providing ample opportunities for lawyers and admins to attend training workshops as well as time to explore the software independently.
  • Focus on your lead pipeline – One of the biggest benefits of using a CRM is that it helps you streamline your leads process. If you’re not using your CRM for any part of the lead generation or client intake process, it’s time to get busy so you can be leveraging your law firm’s CRM to its full potential.

As you evaluate all the ways in which your law firm leans on technology, keep in mind the value you’re gaining out of each solution and search for ways to continually improve its benefits.

Leveraging Technology When You Have a Remote Staff

Remote work is nothing new. Many law firms pivoted to flexible workplace policies before the pandemic, and nearly all have followed suit to at least some degree in the years since. The opportunity to work from home can be seen as a benefit to many employees. It can also be a way for your law firm to reduce its office footprint and save money.

Benefits aside, there can certainly be challenges to managing a virtual workforce. Here are some key areas to focus on if you have staff working remotely just occasionally or on the regular.

7 Tips for Managing a Remote Law Firm Staff
  1. Set clear expectations: When your team knows exactly what’s expected of them, everything runs a whole lot more smoothly. Communicate clearly and frequently your expectations, including work hours, deadlines, and deliverables.
  1. Use technology to stay connected: With video conferencing, instant messaging, and project management tools like Notion, there’s never been an easier way to stay connected with your remote team members.
  1. Establish a regular check-in schedule: Out of sight should not mean out of mind. Schedule regular check-ins with your team members to ensure that everyone is on the same page and to address any issues or concerns.
  1. Encourage open communication: In addition to regular check-ins, encourage your team members to communicate openly and honestly with you and with each other. This is one of the best ways to foster an environment of trust and collaboration.
  1. Provide ongoing feedback and support: Not only does this help them improve their skills and achieve their goals, but positive support also helps prevent burnout.
  1. Focus on outcomes, not hours worked: While law firms are intrinsically focused on billable hours, most often it’s not about the hours worked but the outcomes achieved that really matter. When collaborating with your remote team, encourage them to focus on the outcomes and results they achieve, rather than the number of hours they work. This can help to reduce stress and increase productivity.
  1. Build a strong team culture: A strong team culture is one that fosters collaboration, mutual respect, and a shared sense of purpose. Celebrate successes and support each other during challenging times.

Allowing some flexibility with where and when your staff works can benefit everyone in your law firm, but remote work should be paired with an effective technology solution in order to align your strategy and goals.

For help and guidance in making the most of all your tools and technology, contact our team at Honeycrisp. We focus on helping Apple-loving lawyers ensure their tech – and their people – are operating at full capacity.

Luke Kumanchik

Entrepreneur, programmer, backyard farmer & Dungeon Master Extraordinaire.