By Steve Fretzin
Think back to three years ago. What technology was hot then? You can’t remember, can you? There’s been so much happening from year to year that it’s near impossible to keep track of or remember it all. While some technology doesn’t affect our lives at all, others have a direct impact that can change our lives for the better, forever. Since I have the great honor of hosting the BE THAT LAWYER podcast and interviewing dozens of legal technology experts, it’s much easier for me to share some of my findings to save you time, while growing more business. Here are the top five legal tech tools and automations that are making lawyers’ lives better.
Tech #1. The Remarkable 2.
You may have seen people using this tablet and wondered, “What is that?” This tablet was created to unburden us from the Post-it note and paper-driven world we live in. Look around you and see if there are piles of paper here and there. Since moving to the Remarkable 2, I am 100% paper free. All my notes, documents, and even funny drawings are recorded and saved in folders so that I never lose anything. I can even email the notes to myself as a way of acting on things later when I have time. The best part is that it feels like writing on paper.
While it’s not cheap at $500 to 600 (be sure to include the upgraded pen with eraser), it’s worth EVERY PENNY and even more when you factor in efficiency and time savings. Does a brain surgeon worry about the price of a high-end scalpel?
Tech #2. Calendly or Acuity.
Auto schedulers have arrived and almost everyone has become accustomed to using them. So, say goodbye to the back-and-forth that always seems to happen when busy people try to schedule time together. These auto schedulers are all customizable so you can set dates/times for availability for different types of meetings. Clients can be Monday to Friday from noon to 5 p.m. while networking and prospect meetings can be set for the mornings. It’s 100% up to you and how you want your day to run.
If you’re struggling with this concept and feel it might be a burden to your clients and networks, simply use the following line when offering up your scheduler. Something like this, “In order to avoid the back and forth between two busy people, John, please use my auto-scheduler link here to gain direct access to my calendar. Looking forward to seeing you in the next week or two.” You can also offer up a few dates and times for the less tech-savvy folks you interact with if that helps.
Tech #3. Chat GPT.
Yes, I know, you’ve been hearing about this non-stop for months now. Well, there’s a reason for that. It’s a content production machine. Most lawyers struggle with writing blogs and social media posts due to time constraints. With Chat GPT you can direct it on what to write and get your answers within seconds. You can then edit for five minutes and you’ll have a LinkedIn post ready to go for a total time investment of less than 10 minutes. By the way, there’s no harm in delegating this to your legal assistant.
The key is to log in and try it out. Ask it to write an article on something directly related to your practice area. Then ask it to write an infomercial about you. It’s important to note that it needs to learn about you through how you prompt the search box. Once you get an answer, go back and ask the same question with more detail and see how that improves the answer. It’s scary how good it can be when you practice using it.
Tech #4. Workflow/Project Management Software (Asana or Monday).
Why do things get lost in translation or forgotten altogether by you and your subordinates? Matters, projects and people can all come together like a well-run auto plant with some of the latest workflow software at your fingertips. To be clear, workflow management is all about creating and tracking processes, which is generally what lawyers are lacking.
In working with a ton of solo lawyers and small firm managing partners, their greatest challenge is time management, organization and developing processes to scale up their law practice. These software systems allow you to develop SOPs (standard operating procedures) to better delegate tasks to your team. Once completed, you can step out from the many “doer” roles that you have and delegate almost everything that is below your paygrade. The key is to get help customizing the software that works best for your needs and obtain proper training to use it, otherwise, there’s a greater chance of failure.
Tech #5. Better Utilization of Social Media.
I know, I know, you’re tired of hearing about this. Unfortunately, these platforms are a big part of a lawyer’s success in brand building and obtaining real business. Last month I wrote an article on “How to Build Your Brand on LinkedIn” and it was an eye-opening article for most attorneys who hate social media. The key to success is to focus on one or two things that it CAN do for you, versus all the things you dislike about it. Listen folks, social media is a game of attrition, you either lean into it or concede that other less skilled lawyers will be getting the lion’s share of the legal business in your space.
Talk to an expert who can help you figure out your goals for growth plans and is skilled enough to assist you in developing a social media calendar for your law practice. This allows you to pre-set and delegate social media content and posting to your team, where you have a smaller role in its execution. Also, there are tons of VA (virtual assistant) companies today that can help you accomplish tasks, like social media content creation and posting, to ensure you get out in front of your clients and network every month.
While it may feel like we covered a lot of ground here, there’s just so much more out there than ever before to help lawyers improve their lives. Between the new legal tech solutions like AI, project management software and paperless tools, you can really streamline your law practice more than ever before. To talk more directly about the intersection of technology, marketing and business development, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, be sure to check out my bi-weekly podcast BE THAT LAWYER to hear about more law firm technology trends.