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Predictions possible for 2022 and beyond?

The current pandemic is without precedent, requiring resilience and new ways of thinking, both personally and professionally. Businesses have often managed in uncharted waters making the most of COVID-19’s challenges to our client service, team morale and managing cash flow. Nothing was out of bounds. By mid-2020, the legal profession had moved to virtual court hearings. Examining global and local trends to COVID-19 conditions could provide law firms with some worthwhile options to consider in order to navigate more smoothly through 2022.

In fact, some even deliver some silver linings in innovation!

Working remotely

The initial work in 2020 to work from home, safely and securely, was taken to a more sophisticated level in 2021.

Managing Director of management consulting firm Barolsky Advisors, Joel Barolsky, suggests a focus for the next year is rebuilding teams.

“Particularly in Victoria, we haven’t had much time for people to socialise. It’s not like we’re coming back after a two-week Christmas holiday. People have gone through a public health crisis and there’s lots of pent-up frustration, exhaustion, stress and disconnection.”

The CommBank Legal Market Pulse survey of 55 law firms across Australia by Beaton Research + Consulting found 75 per cent of firms are using flexible working arrangements, mentoring, mental wellbeing support, internal learning and development, or pro bono programs to engage, retain and develop talent.

For FilePro, adopting a suite of new software applications delivered positive outcomes in our teams’ communication and collaboration with our clients and other business partners, as well as managing our software development progress and much more. We also implemented a 30-minute daily huddle for our support team, to help with staff morale and efficient teamwork with support requests, triage, escalations etc. Not only did we gain more confidence in our team’s effectiveness and capabilities, but humour and personality were also added to our team’s day. This was a much-needed element to relieve any stresses from working in isolation.

Client service delivery

Legally Yours CEO, Karen Finch, recently highlighted that

“law firms will be client-designed and client-centric, they will feature fixed fees, be predominantly virtual and online and use subscription models and explicit service guarantees to demonstrate trust and transparency in their service delivery to clients.”

“Client service delivery technology, such as video connection platforms and intake of AI like Settify, will be in high demand and will result in more efficient, high performing law firms.”

At FilePro, we had become somewhat comfortable in the video meeting/call space prior to 2020.  However, the unprecedented mass adoption of Zoom and similar tools have exponentially improved our ability to easily communicate. We have seen the rapid adoption of video conferencing applied to connecting with our existing client firms, collaborating in joint projects with partners and assisting firms that are considering a change of Practice Management Software. Being able to bring people together without the drawbacks of last-minute calendar changes, travel and accommodation etc. has been a game-changer and, in most cases, the experience is richer, especially with features like screen sharing.

Training

Working from home has limited traditional ways of coaching staff to build team competencies within firms, a key factor in talent acquisition and retention strategies. So, we have been pleased to see how seamlessly staff at law firms have adjusted to online and video training, without sacrificing their learning experience. Video training sessions remain interactive for the most part and being able to learn from the comfort of your desk is practical and welcome by many.  We have also found that recording ‘how to’ content using ever-improving software is immensely helpful. Producing bespoke content such as ‘welcome to day one of using FilePro – here’s what to expect’ has become valuable across many pillars of our business.

Thought-Leadership webinars and large group zoom training have also been well received.

FilePro’s online Learning Hub is filled with such on-demand content and our nearly 1,000 subscribed learners continue to consume this content at an increasing rate. The silver lining of this adoption is that consistent training and knowledge is now available to all our clients regardless of firm size, location, experience, role or time availability.

Cloud solutions

The need to work remotely has brought into sharper focus the risk of being hacked and files held to ransom. As a result, businesses are bringing forward the cloud versus in-house server decision. In particular, there is a growing interest in and understanding of privately hosted cloud environments, delivering accessibility benefits of the Cloud while mitigating the risks of malware attacks via third-party software that your team may access in remote locations. Firms are also more educated in the benefits of housing all your software in a private cloud, fully protected environment.

FilePro now offers an array of cloud and hosting options for our clients, so that they too can operate efficiently and securely from various locations and have the best possible performance from FilePro.  A number of our clients are now relying on us to house their FilePro application and integrated software, meaning their FilePro experience is the best it can possibly be. There are fewer moving parts when fewer parties are involved.

The pen is now digital

The reality of working remotely saw the rapid uptake of digital signatures across the legal profession, overturning the saying that ‘the pen is mightier than the sword.’ Through services such as FilePro’s integrated DocuSign functionality, there is a greater level of comfort, and indeed an expectation, that documents will be executed securely via digital options.

Due to our ongoing investment and evolution, we continue to be well-positioned to work with firms on their specific requirements as conditions change and client needs evolve.

As always, if you would like to know more about anything mentioned in this article, we will be happy to hear from you!

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