In June, we were fortunate to attend the 2019 SmartAdvocate User Conference in New York. The event brought together new and veteran users of SmartAdvocate®, a powerful and popular legal case management software platform with both server and cloud options, as well as vendors and partners of the platform.
At N8 Solutions, we’re a SmartAdvocate implementation partner, which means that we have the expertise to help your firm with any SmartAdvocate migration or installation, from set-up and training to long-term monitoring and support. As an implementation partner, we found many of the conference sessions and discussions to be very informative, and something that would be of key interest to all of our legal clients. In this post, we share some of the top trends that emerged over the course of a few days, and why you might consider leveraging some of the benefits of these new platforms for your own firm.
What is SmartAdvocate?
Case management software helps legal firms of all sizes work smarter and better. The top platforms drive efficiency and productivity by streamlining nearly everything you do at your legal practice, from calendaring to time-tracking to searching for specific materials related to an ongoing case. In fact, most tasks that you regularly perform can be safely and efficiently streamlined and automated through the use of these platforms and portals.
While there are many options available in today’s marketplace, we stand behind the full-featured benefits of SmartAdvocate. It offers capabilities and reports that other platforms lack, and the company really listens to its stakeholders. The latest SmartAdvocate release comes with over 1,000 enhancements that were based on input from licensed users.
Implementing a platform like SmartAdvocate at your firm will save you time and money and can also reduce errors and needless paperwork. It can also help you grow your client base, which is an important focus in an increasingly competitive field. At the SmartAdvocate user conference, we discussed a range of great business development features, from converting referrals to planning and executing effective digital marketing campaigns.
Now on to the top trends.
Trend #1: Productivity plus Technology equals Profitability
Increased competition, evolving client demands, and shifting market conditions. Does this sound like the landscape from which you manage your firm? These changing demands are pushing many legal firms of all sizes to rethink their profitability models. A notable trend from the conference was a focus on technology and how best-in-class tools can be leveraged to boost productivity, and, ultimately, profitability. Firms that implement and utilize the right technology, like SmartAdvocate, are more efficient with daily tasks, like organizing client files or sending invoices.
All of these tasks, while critical, take up precious billable time at your firm. A recent report suggests that lawyers spend about half of their time on administrative tasks and only 2.3 hours on billable tasks! Data from 2018 also shows that firms spend nearly an hour per day, on average, transferring information between software (.7 hours for lawyers and .8 hours for non-lawyers at a firm). Further, firms also spend on average at least half an hour per day troubleshooting technology and about one hour per day organizing firm information.
Imagine if you could reduce this time by half or more. It can be done! Implementing and using a platform like SmartAdvocate makes all of these tasks more streamlined and automated, which enables you and your firm to become more profitable on fixed fee arrangements.
Trend #2: Integrations Drive Efficiency
It’s no surprise that technology can produce game-changing efficiencies for your firm. When it comes to getting the most out of these technologies, integrations are key. Legal firms like yours utilize a range of different technologies to manage different parts of your firm. For example, your firm might use one tool to manage your financials and billing, another program to manage case work, and a third, separate technology to collect and share records.
While each tool on its own might streamline each individual activity, the most efficient way to manage your operations and information is to integrate your disparate systems into a single platform. In this way, you can share information, communicate, complete billable and non-billable tasks, and drive overall productivity across the entire firm as well as with your clients.
Fortunately, SmartAdvocate already integrates with many other great technologies that you’re likely already using (or would like to use) including industry-specific tools for hospitals and healthcare clients or everyday systems like telephone and email communications.
Trend #3: Data Security is Key
Though integrations can greatly increase efficiency, unfortunately, they aren’t always straightforward. It’s critical to keep your security in mind when implementing any new technology. API’s, for example, are a popular emerging technology that drive efficiencies between your people, your data, and your practice management tools. But, unfortunately, APIs are also one of the next targets for nefarious cyber-actors. APIs present a risk for many reasons, including increased visibility, shared responsibility, and simply more points of entry for an attack.
If your firm lacks the internal IT resources to plan for and implement APIs or a tool like SmartAdvocate, consider turning to third-party experts for help. Companies like N8 Solutions, for example, can help you select the best platforms for your firm, and integrate these in a way that is safe, secure, and scalable for the future growth and reputation of your firm.
Lastly, when it comes to implementing SmartAdvocate or other legal case management software platforms at your firm, you have a choice in how to install it, either on your server or in the cloud. With SmartAdvocate Server, the platform is installed on your server, giving you control over your data to help maintain your security. And, with SmartAdvocate Cloud, the platform is installed via the cloud, so everything is hosted on SmartAdvocate’s server with no need to buy or maintain a server at your firm. We can help you decide which option will be the best and safest fit for your firm.
Please get in touch with us anytime for a free consultation – we’d love to let you know more about some of the great features of SmartAdvocate and see how it could boost your legal business today and over the long term.