From automation to artificial intelligence (AI) and everything in between, if you can dream it, there’s a tool out there to help you achieve it.

In law, that means doing your job faster, smarter and more efficiently so as much of your time as possible can go toward billable tasks. But just because a technology exists doesn’t mean a firm necessarily knows the best use cases for applying it. Nor does it mean it always has the business case or attorney buy-in required to take the leap and try it. Technology needs are unique just like business needs are unique, and any change should first be met with thoughtful consideration.

In this article, we’ll discuss several technology opportunities your Apple-using law firm should consider after evaluating your business strategy. We’ll also share examples of how doing so can help you churn out more billable hours without having to put in any more time at the office.

Specifically, we’ll look at things like

  • How to know when it’s time to upgrade your firm’s technology
  • Which AI tools are right for your law office
  • Best use cases for applying technology like ChatGPT
  • What automation really means for your firm
  • What you need to know when preparing for a data migration

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.

How to Know if It’s Time to Upgrade Your Firm’s Technology

Keeping your technology operating at peak performance is critical to your business being able to operate at peak performance, and that means you must routinely upgrade your technology. But upgrading technology also comes with challenges – not to mention, a cost.

Your goal should be to upgrade your technology before it’s too late, but the challenge for many law firms is recognizing when exactly this is. Ultimately, it all comes down to performance. Here are some questions to help you assess whether you’re due for a tech upgrade.

  • Are you keeping up with maintenance? – Perhaps you don’t need to upgrade your technology yet. Rather, if you’re staying on top of regular maintenance by following an upgrade schedule, you can reduce (or delay) large one-time expenditures and invite small changes that can help you and your team identify whether upgrading a system really will result in a higher ROI.
  • How secure are your systems? Weakened security should be an immediate red flag. If your technology is no longer receiving routine system updates or your firm has experienced a security breach, it’s time to consider your options for an upgrade.
  • What is the cost of inaction? Technology is constantly evolving. It literally gets better every day. If your law firm wants to retain optimal performance, it also needs to keep pace – or at a minimum, not fall too far behind. As you evaluate the importance of a technology upgrade, be sure also to ask yourself what the cost of inaction looks like.

Timely tech upgrades paired with dedicated IT support can help significantly improve your firm’s operations and data protection. For Apple users, you can also power up your productivity with these tips tailored specifically for law firms using Apple products.

Which AI Tools are Right for Your Law Firm?

Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing every industry, and the legal sector is no exception. Law firms can leverage AI tools to streamline processes, enhance efficiency and deliver better legal services to your clients.

Like all technology, however, AI is just a tool and one that should be used strategically and with a dose of caution. When leveraged effectively artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT can significantly improve productivity in your law firm and save you time and money to boot.

The list of AI tools for lawyers is growing by the day, but not all may be right for your attorneys. As you evaluate your options on the market, keep these considerations in mind.

What to Look for in an AI Tool
  • Your operational needs – AI is fun and flashy, but do you need it? Before diving headfirst into the AI pool, you should first step back and evaluate your overall workflow and strategy. Consider which tasks are most time-consuming for you and your team, and then assess how AI might be able to help simplify them.
  • Your security needs – You need to be thinking about security protocols All. The. Time. Discuss your security concerns with your IT partner before implementing any new technology. Take into account the vendor’s reputation and customer support as well as the security networks they have in place.
  • Your comfort navigating the tool’s interface – An innovative tool is great…if you know how to use it. Find an AI solution that you and your staff can comfortably navigate, and get help and training if needed.

Turning to AI can be a great way to improve productivity in all areas of your firm’s operations, but what are the best use cases for applying them at your law firm?

5 ChatGPT Use Cases for Lawyers

ChatGPT has myriad applications but first, it’s worth reminding users that, like all technology, AI is just a tool. It needs to be used purposefully and responsibly. ChatGPT is not a human. It does not have a law degree. It comes with limitations. That said, it does have the power to transform your law firm’s productivity and operations. Here are some key ways your attorneys and paralegals can leverage its capabilities.

  1. To assist with legal research – ChatGPT can provide the perfect launching point for further in-depth legal research and analysis. Lawyers can engage with the tools to ask questions, seek clarification and find references to relevant case law and statutes. Check out some of these prompts when inputting inquiries into ChatGPT.
  1. To automate document drafting – Lawyers often spend a significant amount of time drafting legal documents, such as contracts, agreements and pleadings. ChatGPT can help lawyers streamline the document drafting process by providing suggestions, offering alternative phrasing and proofreading for grammatical errors and consistency.
  1. To summarize complex legal concepts – Often clients and their attorneys speak two different languages. ChatGPT can help lawyers summarize case law in plain language for their      clients, so they have a thorough understanding of their case and its implications.
  1. To assist with case strategy and litigation preparation – ChatGPT can assist lawyers in developing case strategies and preparing for litigation. Lawyers can use ChatGPT to brainstorm legal arguments, assess potential risks, analyze case law precedents, read and analyze PDFs and explore different approaches to presenting their arguments. ChatGPT’s ability to generate insights and perspectives can help lawyers refine their litigation strategies.
  1. To use as a continuing education or training tool – Whether training in new associates or onboarding a paralegal, law firms can use ChatGPT to develop interactive education modules or virtual training assistants. Lawyers can then engage in simulated legal scenarios, ask questions and receive feedback from ChatGPT to further enhance their learning experience and reinforce legal knowledge.

When leveraging artificial intelligence, attorneys must be mindful of their ethical responsibilities and understand the technology’s limitations, yet they should not be afraid to experiment with its capabilities.

Opportunity Costs and What Automation Really Means for Your Firm

Newer tech like AI is flashy and cool, but one not-so-new technology opportunity that often gets short-shrift is automation. We’ve been talking about automation as a way to boost productivity in law firms for a very long time, but often law firms can be resistant to a change like automation because it feels overwhelming to them. They claim it is a lot of work for what feels to them like a minimal payoff, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Automation is almost always worth it, and one major reason why has to do with opportunity costs. Let us explain what we mean.

When you automate tasks in your law firm, you suddenly open the door for more impactful work to take place. Failing to do so is a lost opportunity cost – and one your firm shouldn’t afford. With automation, you enable your staff, especially your higher-level staff, to take on business that truly grows your firm because they are not wasting time with routine tasks. Nor are they expending precious mental energy remembering to do said repetitive tasks.

When you look at the costs and benefits of implementing any tech change, be sure to also consider its opportunity costs. Change of any kind is hard, but when that change could yield significant earnings for your firm, there’s one thing for sure that shouldn’t be hard – and that’s the decision to automate.

What Law Firms Need to Know When Preparing for a Data Migration to New Technology

Adopting new legal technology can be a painstaking process, but perhaps nothing strikes more fear in a law firm than the data migration process that comes with implementing a tech change. Years of accumulated client data sit in the metaphorical rafters and packing it up and moving it all to a new residence sounds daunting, to say the least.

Despite how intimidating it may sound (and trust us, it’s really not that bad), the alternative to migration is remaining stuck in slow or outdated processes. Not only does this hinder your firm from growth, but it can also leave you vulnerable to security risks. If your law firm has made the decision to upgrade your technology, then it’s time to begin preparing your data for migration.

Pro Tips for Planning Your Data Migration

As part of your technology upgrade process, you’ll go through several phases of planning and preparation. When it comes to data migration specifically, there are some key areas to home in on with your planning.

  • Audit your current data – Before you move any data, you need to know the extent of your current data. This includes the type of data you have, its sources, format, and any accompanying documentation.
  • Clean your current data – Just like when moving physical property, a data migration is an opportune time to clear out the old and start fresh in your new system. Don’t waste time transferring bad data. Clean it now to get rid of corrupt files, poorly formatted data, duplicates or any incorrect or incomplete data before your migration.
  • Assess which data will be migrated – Understand compliance and regulations for storing legal files and be sure to maintain records for the requisite time period. Then, assess what else is essential to move. Once you’ve decided on which data will be transferred, create a backup of all the newly cleaned data that you want to migrate.
  • Create a migration timeline – Often, a lot of data migration pain comes from not understanding the rollout plan. Partner with an experienced legal technology provider to plan a realistic timeline for your data migration. You should also be sure to allocate time for validation, testing and training. For example, in most cases, it’s ideal to get Friday’s data and work with it for a week before going live on Monday of the following week. If you try to do it all in just a weekend, there isn’t a lot of time to test or correct. Then, that delta of a weeks’ time between getting the data and going live is a relatively small batch of catchup transactions that can teach you and your team how to use the system.

Migrating your law firm’s data may sound like a big undertaking, but when you work with technology professionals who understand the ins and outs of your business and the tech solutions that fuel your operations, the process is a breeze.

If you have any questions at all about upgrading your firm’s technology, improving your data security or leveraging artificial intelligence to maximize your productivity, please get in touch with our team at Honeycrisp.

Luke Kumanchik

Entrepreneur, programmer, backyard farmer & Dungeon Master Extraordinaire.