This post will take a look at some of the technology changes that have taken place within criminal defense law firms as a result of the pandemic.
Legal Practice Management
Effective case management became more vital than ever during the pandemic, prompting many criminal law firms to implement comprehensive legal practice management systems. These platforms house all data and records related to a matter in one centralized location for improved organization. In addition, its cloud-based technology provides accessibility for all credentialed firm members.
With comprehensive case management software, law firms can easily automate many of the processes involved in matter management. Tasks such as scheduling appointments, organizing contact lists, managing documents, and entering billing data can be handled by these platforms in an efficient manner with less effort on the part of firm members.
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Videoconferencing is now a firmly embedded staple of internal and external legal communications. Internally, criminal defense law firms rely on these technologies to maintain communications between firm members as they work from the safety of their homes. Conferencing platforms like Zoon and Microsoft Team firm members to collaborate on the client and administrative tasks, even when working remotely.
Externally, law firms rely on videoconferencing systems to maintain client relations. Even at the height of the pandemic, many criminal defense attorneys recognized that simple telephone calls and emails could not always provide the level of communication that clients expected. Conferencing technologies allowed for face-to-face interactions, even when the physical office was closed.
In addition, many courts turned to videoconference for less severe criminal court proceedings. Even two years into the pandemic, some jurisdictions still use video conferencing to facilitate bond hearings, preliminary matters, and even some bench trials.
Improved Security Measures
While remote working arrangements helped criminal law firms become more efficient and profitable during the pandemic, the rapid shift also exposed security vulnerabilities, resulting in increased numbers of cyberattacks. In response, criminal attorneys have become more diligent about the platforms that they use. They understand the importance of using software that offers high levels of cybersecurity.
Many criminal law firms evolved from older, more traditional processes to newer technologies with greater security safeguards. Widespread suspicions about cloud-based software finally gave way to a greater understanding of the elevated level of security that is maintained to keep these systems safe from cyber-attacks. As criminal attorneys began to recognize the inadequacies in the older systems, cybersecurity took center stage as they considered new options.
When separated from a physical office, document management becomes extremely important, particularly within a criminal law firm that is inundated with volumes of paper files and documents. Without adequate technology, legal practices may not have the systems in place to keep everything organized, safe, and available for review by appropriate parties. Lost documents can lead to a variety of problems for a criminal law firm, so comprehensive document management became a must-have during the pandemic.
Electronic document management turns paper files and documents into digital files stored in the cloud. It is much more secure than transporting paper files from one location to the next and significantly more efficient when firm members work from various locations. With the right document management system, criminal defense lawyers have been able to easily find, edit, access, and share documents throughout the pandemic.
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Legal Billing and Collections
Profitability has been a major challenge for many criminal law firms thanks to the roadblocks of COVID-19, but a key aspect of maintaining revenues and profits is adequate billing and payment collections. While it was already growing in popularity before the pandemic, electronic billing quickly became a staple of the legal profession in response to COVID-19. Mandated lockdowns left many criminal law firms without the ability to bill and collect client payments while operating remotely, which highlighted electronic billing as an absolute necessity for maintaining profitability. These firm leaders recognized the value in replacing traditional methods of manual track time and invoicing with more streamlined processes that can be handled remotely.
They were also awakened to the value of online payment options. Without these systems in place, some criminal firms started the pandemic without a standard method of collecting client payments. They quickly turned to credit card processing companies for assistance in collecting client fees online.
COVID-19 Highlighted the Need for Legal Technology Upgrades
The importance of effective legal technology has become crystal clear to criminal defense law firms across the country. From document management and communications to heightened security and legal practice management, these firms made significant strides in their choice and use of legal tech.
TimeSolv legal billing software provides criminal defense law practices with technology that streamlines every step of the billing and payment process. It is the innovative billing and payment solution that criminal law firms need to invoice consistently, increase collection rates, and keep thriving during the pandemic.