I believe the legal profession is behind the times when it comes to embracing technology, including what has been labelled ‘teleworking’. Truly embracing technology goes beyond just handing each lawyer a shiny new blackberry or iPhone, or even the recent trend for law firms to use social media as a form of advertising, publication and recruitment. Teleworking at its core is the ability for employees to work remotely, from anywhere, using only IT to communicate and collaborate with clients and with each other.
There is an extraordinary evolution of consumer electronics in the digital economy, with people using smart-phones, tablet devices and laptops, and keeping up-to-date through social media. Clients who are time poor and output driven demand efficient electronic interactions with firms, and young lawyers expect the latest in technology from their employers and the ability to easily work from home.
Deloitte Access Economics Report, The Connected Workplace: War for Talent in the Digital Economy dated June 2013, found that employees are motivated by more than just perks and pay. Businesses where employees are most satisfied are those allowing people to bring their own devices to work, permitting access to social media at work, letting them work from home, and encouraging them to use collaborative technology.
Law firms need to keep up with other industries on the technology front, however with clunky paper file systems, traditional work from office policies, and a reliance on old school in-person meetings with clients, it may take some time.
I am personally embracing technology in the legal services I provide, and have been for many years now after previously working in-house in a large investment bank that introduced activity based working. With young children and the need for more flexible working arrangements, I discovered that my productivity and job satisfaction increased when working from home, and with that so did the satisfaction of my clients and the balance and happiness of my family.
I therefore carried this remote working philosophy, ‘teleworking’, into our philosophies when founding LAWYAL Solicitors, with bespoke software developed in-house that enables all LAWYAL consultants engaged by us to work from anywhere in Australia and on any device.
Our software facilitates complete interaction with clients online, with access by lawyers and clients to legal matter files, search functionalities, and matter management and storage. Most importantly, a client can instruct one of our qualified LAWYAL consultants to answer a query or draft an agreement from her smart-phone, and that instruction and our response, as well as all comments posted and documents uploaded, will be securely stored and accessible to the client from her smart-phone at anytime from anywhere.
We hope to be one of the first of many law firms in Australia who discover that technology should in fact be embraced in legal services for a better client experience.
By Leonie Chapman, Principal Lawyer and Director, LAWYAL Solicitors
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