How to Bring Your Practice Into the 21st Century

We all know that most risk management tools that worked ten or twenty years ago are no longer as important today. Whether we’re talking about engagement letters, fee contracts, calendar control systems, or document retention policies, one thing is certain. In the 21st century, old ways will not always get the job done.

Today, cybersecurity or cloud computing have become important tools for a good law practice. Bar members need to adapt their practice to modern technology. This will help them reach more people, it will improve their task flow, and it will help them monitor legal aspects competently. Not only that, but modern technology is here to help reduce the risk of legal malpractice.

If you are an attorney still working with tools that worked perfectly in the 20th century, you may find it challenging to meet the requirements of what the 21st century’s demands truly are. From ethic rules to legal authority, it is clearer than ever that upgrading your practice is a must-do. Moving your law practice to the digital world may seem challenging, but it sure is worth it. And the good news is that you can do it by taking small, steady steps towards implementing all the new tools that will help you align with today’s technological perks.

Avoid Malpractice Using New Tools

The new modifications in the law practice have shaped various challenges for minimizing or preventing a legal malpractice claim. But these modifications are the ones that new claim prevention systems can address.

A tool that can help is admitting that the law practice nowadays includes various encounters from past claims. As a matter of fact, rather than operating within the old framework, lawyers should increase the overall security of their practice.

Because the risk dynamics have changed, law practices focus more on claim prevention and less on malpractice prevention.

New Prevention Methods

Law firms usually have integrated malpractice prevention system for many years. But updating these procedures thus benefiting from the technological developments is essential. One example worth mentioning is in regards to client intake procedure and conflict searches. These have most definitely changed along with technology.

Of course, engagement letters or fee contracts that document the scope and responsibilities of the relationship between an attorney and their client are important aspects in a client intake. But just as modern technology and law have evolved, so can these fee contracts and engagement letters.

Many firms now update their engagement letters to make sure they include the recent issues and changes in the law. Whether we’re talking about document retention, withdrawal, nonassignability, or any problem in the nature of the relationship and the area of practice, one thing is certain. Computers are the best tools to successfully update every piece of information needed.

Another example that can lead to all sorts of administrative errors or missed deadlines is the hard-copy calendar. Tracking events and deadlines can be substantially easier with electronic docketing systems. These automated systems will certainly lower the chance of a missed deadline. However, they will only work if the information is provided to them.

Additionally, most law firms own time-entry systems, but the modern market now offers benefits that cut down on the unproductive time lawyers spend on nonbillable tasks. Automated time entry and billing work better simply because they replace timeslips and repetitive time reviews with pro formas that are computer-generated. This results in faster, more accurate billing, less edits on the bill, and all in all, in more consistent follow-ups. Not only that, but communication has become substantially more efficient with the help of voicemail and email, leading to an overall better communication between the firm and the client.

Reviewing Contracts

When it comes to partnership agreements or legal malpractice insurance policies, firms and lawyers can now review their protection and defend themselves better for any risk associated with practicing law.

Firms can now review their partnership agreements to make sure they are aligned to the recent changes in partnership law, liabilities, and other issues that may occur. Partnership agreements that have been around for decades might not get ahead of the protections presently available to firms.

Apart from the potential developments at law, some firms could also discover that their partnership agreements are not accurate enough to show the present state of the partnership, from the number of partners, to risks, liabilities, and structures.

Furthermore, the legal malpractice insurance industry has evolved in various ways in the past decade and it is now able to identify front-line risks and solutions for law firms. Irrespective of whether a law practice is a high-risk practice with an extensive range of prior claims or a law practice that has never had a claim, today there are more viable options that ever. The challenge is to simply explore all options and decide which coverage from which insurer offers the best price.

Some insurers offer immediate assistance with risk management matters, loss prevention or malpractice situations—but insured firms may not even be aware of all the benefits of their existing program. A law firm that does not reap the benefits of these developments may not be fully protecting itself.