Smartphones are providing 24-hour connectivity between lawyers and their firms, which drives a modern, mobile working lifestyle. Information that was previously inaccessible in in-house document management and accounting systems is now available to you as a modern lawyer where ever you are. With a great practice management system, you can move out of the office (or even around it to a conference room) and still have all your client information accessible.
Enjoy practice more: convenience for you, the lawyer
One of the most common requests we came across when designing a legal Smartphone App, was that lawyers need to have access to all client information and contact numbers to easily make important calls.
This might seem like a little thing, but it is a common requirement and, once solved, is a huge time saver.
If you frequently visit the law courts you will encounter lawyers calling back to the office to obtain a client’s contact number. With a decent Smartphone App this problem is eliminated.
- You can easily look up a phone number in your system.
- You can easily arrange for someone to send you a number you don’t have.
- To call you just tap the phone number.
- You can optionally record the details of the call for time recording purposes to maintain your audit trail.
Impress clients: 21st century client service
Today’s consumers mostly have Smartphones and that sets the pace at how they experience the modern world, including professional services. If your practice management system does not have a great Smartphone App, through which you can provide client service while you are out of the office then you need to consider how this will affect your client service.
From a client service perspective, the simple fact that you have all your clients’ information, including access to all documents and correspondence with you at all times will inevitably result in you providing clients with better service. Fom a marketing point of view, you will impress them. The ability to review, send or even print emails and other documents from your phone will leave a lasting impression on your clients.
Email and documents: accessible and useful wherever you are
Email is the most common form of written communication and a method to share documentation. With a good system all your emails, attachments and documents relating to a matter are available to you.
When your email system is fully integrated into your practice management system you can send and receive emails directly from a matter. This makes collaborative work much easier as you will have all the emails and other correspondence about a matter in one place. It also means that modern technology can provide you with access to those documents within the matter from your Smartphone.
Smartphone technology allows you to: read documents, forward them, create and email a PDF of a word document, and to create new emails from the matter, all of which instantly synchronise with the matter data back in the office.
To have access to all your matter related documents on your Smartphone from anywhere in the world is a revolutionary transformation. It no longer makes any difference where you are.
Time recording: accurate records on the move
You have a professional obligation to make contemporaneous notes; why not make time records at the same time?
It is now incredibly easy to record time against a matter whether you are out and about, in a conference room or even sitting on the sofa at home. (Our records indicate that Smartphone use spikes after dinner.)
You can record the time and make any adjustments needed to the variable data, such as billing rates, either when you first record the time or at any time prior to billing. You select the task code and type or dictate the billing description.
And best of all, every time slip that you make is instantly visible in your time sheet and against the matter ledger. You don’t have to remember to do anything and you don’t have to do anything twice.
When you capture your time as you work,your bills are easy to create and are far more accurate than any other approach.
Accurate time records enable you to be accountable and transparent in your firm and to your clients. This is easily achieved without having to remember details of out-of-office attendances and then finding the time to capture the information when you get back to the office.
Read one of our other blogs 5 Golden Rules of Time Recording
How many times have you been with a client and wished you had up-to-date accounting information to share with a client? The most common items are:
- How much money is in trust?
- How much does the client owe?
- What is the value of unbilled WIP and Disbursements?
This current information is now instantly available to you. Because unbilled time records are available, you can even edit and prepare them for billing and then just ask your office to generate the bill.
You will always know the financial status and can share information with your client with confidence. This reduces the stress involved in acting for a client when there is financial uncertainty and enables you to run a financially disciplined office wherever you are.
Smartphones allow you to work smarter which gives you more time to do what you enjoy.0