5 Key Questions to ensure a real ROI on implementing Legal Technology

Bas Roodbeen
1 March 2019

A recent paper by MIT labor economist Frank Levy and Professor Dana Remus suggests that lawyers’ work hours would decrease by 13% if all new legal technologies were implemented immediately into a law firm. Given that legal technologies are being developed and pushed onto the market at a rate of knots, it’s more important than ever to determine which technologies offer a real return on investment – and which don’t.

To help you navigate the maze of legal technologies available, we’ve put together these 5 key questions that deserve your consideration before you implement any new legal technologies in your law firm:

1. Will implementing this legal technology address key inefficiencies?
If a technology doesn’t save you either time or money (or both), it’s not worth implementing – no matter what the bells and whistles look like. Of course, the reality is not as simple as: increased efficiency = investment.

Firms need to balance intelligent solutions with the cost of these solutions. Technologies that operate in areas where the firm has the most to gain should be implemented first.

2. Can vendors demonstrate successful implementations?
The vendors supplying your legal technologies should have a solid track record of successful implementations. By successful, we mean that their solutions address the business concerns or challenges that they purport to resolve.

With more brands entering the marketplace, we recommend looking for customer testimonials, reviews in relevant journals, blogs written by expert bloggers, and/or any awards that the company has received. These can help you determine whether the company delivers what it promises. Better yet, investigate which other firms have adopted the technology. If many of your competitors have adopted it, it’s likely worth the investment.

3. Does the technology meet critical security and compliance requirements?
Legal firms handle sensitive personal information on a daily basis. As such, firms need to be sure that any service providers implementing technology within the firm operate at industry standard security requirements at a minimum. Vendors with security features more advanced than industry standard are preferable.

Security breaches are costly for businesses, who remain accountable to their clients, regulators, employees, business partners and other relevant stakeholders. Investing in providers with subpar security measures in place usually isn’t worth the risk.

4. What are the costs and the benefits of implementing your chosen legal technology?
Simply put, a technology should not cost you more to implement and maintain than what you receive in return. In determining the costs of implementing a technology, a company should ascertain the upfront cash outlay, maintenance costs and monthly fees as well as business disruption costs. These are the costs associated with system downtime and the time required to train staff to use the new technology.

The calculation of intangible benefits is more difficult, but needs to be undertaken nonetheless. Consider staff who have come to rely on certain technologies. They might be reluctant to leave a firm for others that don’t utilize the same systems – thus, the legal technology may increase staff loyalty and retention, saving you the cost and hassle of replacing staff. Clients can also benefit from technologies implemented in law firms. Technologies that improve billing accuracy lead to happier customers and a reduction in bill rejections, for example.

5. How easy is it to implement the technology?
Whilst this should form part of your cost-benefit analysis, the ease of implementation of a legal technology is a consideration that should not be overlooked. Complex technologies might offer incredible benefits to businesses, but if the interface is such that staff cannot realize these benefits then the technology is basically useless. The same goes for technologies that have substantial downtime while they are being integrated and for staff training.

Easy implementation coupled with a simple and intuitive interface are key in the successful implementation of any legal technologies. You should thoroughly investigate whether a technology can be easily integrated with your system before signing on. You should also be sure to determine whether the system interface is appropriate for the tech-savviness of your staff. Many companies offer a demo of their product that can inform these decisions.

The legal technology marketplace is becoming more competitive every day. Legal businesses are tightening their belts to stay profitable while clients are demanding increased expertise, accuracy, and transparency from their lawyers. As such, implementing legal technologies that don’t offer a real ROI is an expensive lesson.

On the other hand, intelligent technologies that appropriately and adequately address critical inefficiencies in your legal practice can address these competing concerns. They can free up lawyers to focus on advice and strategy, instead of legal administration or non billable work, while promoting effective communications with clients. Worthwhile technologies will increase staff and client satisfaction. Get in touch to see how implementing TIQ’s automated time tracking software can improve your business.

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