Law Firm IT Strategy - Process Mapping


This is a short article that introduces the series of articles on law firm IT strategy, with a specific highlight on process mapping.

Legal technology is growing rapidly. The number of new systems on the market, the amount of hype, the different use cases – all law firms are thinking about it even if they are not using it. This guide has been written to (hopefully) give an overview of the processes mapping stage in IT strategies.

What is Legal Technology?

Legal technology is known for its deployment to assist law firms in their operations and day-to-day running of the firm. There is a vast array of legaltech firms in the market that are helping law firms in different ways. Some key areas of legal tech in the current market are:

  • Stand-alone KYC / AML platforms
  • Compliance Management System (Validient)
  • Case management systems
  • Practice management systems
  • Contract lifecycle management systems
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Billing and invoicing software

Before you start your law firm IT strategy

Before you start on your legaltech journey, one thing that all firms need to remember and think about is that the word ‘innovation’ doesn’t have an isolated meaning. It doesn’t just mean a complete transformation of the firm by utlising the newest AI system on the market. What innovation means in law firms is completely subjective to your own firm. To one firm, utilising Teams calls over phone and in-person meetings is innovation. To another, investing in critical client due diligence and compliance systems is innovation. And to another, automating all processes with artificial intelligence is innovation. And this is a crucial thing that all firms need to remember so that they are not disheartened and led to follow the bigger players for the sake of it.

Having an effective IT strategy is essential for law firms to effectively leverage technology to support their legal practice. There are some important questions that you need to ask yourself when looking at law firm IT strategies:

  • How often should you be updating an IT strategy?
  • What questions should you be asking of your suppliers / IT team?
  • What gets in the way of planning
  • How far in advance can you plan?

Where to start with your law firm IT strategy?

The most effective starting point for law firms looking at an IT strategy is to prioritise the areas of the firm that need improvement. Perhaps you have identified that risk management is an area that needs improving. However, this doesn’t mean that you should go ahead and start looking at the technology that you can start to procure to assist the firm’s risk management strategy. What this stage is all about is taking a zoomed-out view of where the firm needs to change. This is where a process map would be introduced.

Process Mapping in your law firm IT strategy

This element of the IT strategy is often the most overlooked and underutilised. This is where you can really get to the roots of the pain points that your firm is facing – and it’s at this point you may realise that technology isn’t actually the answer for your pain. Once you have identified the areas in which your law firm is lacking or struggling, this is where you investigate what the problem truly is.

Let’s take the example of risk management. Managing risks in a law firm is extremely complicated and it has multiple avenues. The key starting point is to understand the entire landscape of your risk management and to break it into ‘chunks’. From there, each ‘chunk’ should be analysed for effective processes. If something is not effective, then investigation into why needs to happen. Below is an example of a starting point of process mapping one of your priority areas:

Once your process map has identified the key areas needing improvement, you start your journey on strategising for each piece of the puzzle.

Stay tuned for the next piece coming next week which will discuss the following step once you have processed mapped your firm.

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