Technologies to Help You Work Smarter (and More Efficiently)
By Mike Fenger, Esq.
For law firms, as for other businesses, profitability has two aspects: revenues, and costs. In this issue, the revenues aspects are discussed well by Neil Pedersen and Ed Poll. Here, I will discuss some ways to make your practice more efficient, and thereby lower the costs end of the equation. Not all of these ways will be appropriate for all law firms, but I hope at least some of them will be of interest to some attorneys.
If you use Microsoft Office (apologies to Mac users, I don’t have much experience at all on OS X), consider using Office 365. There’s a little bit of a learning curve, though it’s more in look than in function, but it has lots of collaborative tools that can be a great time saver. If you’re in a firm or partnership, with one or more person working remotely even some of the time, the ability to work on a document in real time, without e-mailing the same document back and forth, can definitely save you time. If more than two people are working on a single document, Office 365 can eliminate the danger of losing something due to versioning issues. (For example, when two different people make changes to one version that’s been e-mailed around.) The collaborative tools use Office Online, so the need to be sure your access is secure (as with any cloud application) is an important prerequisite to using the tools.
I was at LegalTech West Coast last June, and what they demonstrated there as "Oslo" has now been released as "Delve." Looks to be basically a knowledge management system that categorizes data throughout one’s network. In Microsoft’s own words, it "highlights key information of interest to you, based on what you are working on and the actions of people in your network." Only the very tech-savvy early adopters should be very interested in this now, but it is a glimpse into what computers will likely be doing sooner rather than later â "learning" how you work, and (trying to) help you work more efficiently. Windows 10 is likely going to be rolled out in 2015, and Delve is likely to be included at some level.