What was thought to be a temporary shift to remote court appearances, virtual depositions, and lawyers working largely from home rather than within an office environment as a result of COVID-19 has morphed into full-scale, permanent changes. The practice of law has moved away from reliance on in-person communication and collaboration to almost exclusively a practice focused on online communication and virtual collaboration.
Although law firms muddled through at the outset of the pandemic by fashioning ways to communicate and collaborate both internally within the firm and externally with courts, adversaries, colleagues, and clients using their existing software and other tools, now that it has become clear that the change will be long-lasting, it is time for law firms to find more permanent – and more effective – solutions.
Law firms need more effective information governance and knowledge management to allow lawyers and other law firm personnel to work successfully in a remote environment. They need to find ways to collect, organize, use, and secure data faster, easier, and more economically.
As authors Kristie Blase & Bryn Bowen say in A Real Leap Forward: Can Collaboration Platforms Replace Conference Rooms, Coffee Machines and Institutional Racism, the COVID-19 pandemic “provided a rush of possibility and utility [that] soon faded as an example of siloed, standalone effort, with little possibility for leveraging content beyond the immediate team.”
To be competitive in today’s marketplace, law firms need to develop better systems and procedures to manage, maintain, and share knowledge across firm practice areas and locations, and to implement tools that can foster these information governance and knowledge management initiatives. The old ways of working, with information contained only within discrete silos or the minds of a minority of individuals within the firm and every practice group leader creating their own systems will not work in this new climate.
Well-designed knowledge management tools are fast, easy to use, and provide access to the right information exactly when it is needed most to improve the firm’s efficiency and save knowledge within the firm, and maximize the effectiveness of that knowledge.
One such tool is ioRefer, an online platform streamlining the referral and matter staffing processes for law firms, bar associations, and legal referral groups, allowing attorneys to quickly send and receive referrals to all relevant attorneys in their network at one time.
There is no better time than now to implement those tools. “Normal” work has already been disrupted by the pandemic and lawyers are more open than ever to anything that helps them work better in this new environment.
With ioRefer, your entire firm will be on one interactive network with its own private, internal directory that allows attorneys to quickly find and connect with one another and send or receive referrals or easily staff projects by connecting attorneys who need help with attorneys looking for work, ensuring that you never have an attorney sitting idle again.
Our new app makes the platform even more accessible, allowing attorneys to quickly post, distribute, and respond to referral and staffing needs postings with just a few taps of their phone. Register now to receive a demo.