If you’re a litigator, chances are you have strong thoughts about how technology might make your job easier.
Maybe you or your firm has invested in some products, like time tracking software or document management systems.
The truth is, there are many tools available today to attorneys, but not all of them address the actual needs of legal practice.
When evaluating legal software and apps, Above the Law suggests looking not only at “how a particular tool accomplishes a narrow task; how its algorithms work, how it extracts data, how it analyzes litigation,” and how users interact with the product, but also, “What problem within the legal department is a given tool solving, what value is that tool providing to in-house lawyers, and what highly desirable outcome results from use of the tool?”
Below are three variables legal professionals should consider when selecting tech tools:
Will the Technology Help Me Write Better, Faster, and More Accurately?
For most litigators, their days are spent researching and writing motion briefs, appearing in court, attending mediations/arbitrations and visiting with clients.
The most important challenge an app can help meet is helping lawyers write clearly, quickly, and with a high level of legal accuracy.
If a program promises to cite-check a brief, give it a test run with one of your briefs to make sure it truly addresses all of the citations and performs as promised.
Will the Technology Help Me Automate Repetitive Tasks?
Many lawyers take advantage of some form of automation, whether that means using document templates for frequently drafted briefs or using a program that pre-populates certain types of forms.
Some apps are even more sophisticated, promising, as Casetext does, to provide “contextual legal research” and even automate the research.
Be sure you understand whether and how a particular technology tool will fit into your practice.
Will the Technology Help Me Manage Time Wisely?
Project management software helps attorneys manage their time and have greater control over outcomes.
Recording billable hours increases an attorney’s day by a half hour or more, and time tracking software aims to address this issue.
One example, Ping, “keeps time, so you don’t have to.”
Ping connects to the applications and devices that lawyers use, including Microsoft Word and Excel, web browsers, and telephones.
The app records the activity from tasks performed on those apps and devices and automatically feeds the matter number and hours into your firm’s timekeeping records.
If you think time tracking will benefit your firm, consider investing in software that will reclaim even more time for your attorneys and paralegals.
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