As with any industry, the legal sector has its own IT challenges and considerations that are important to be aware of. With the modern world progressing as it is, not being ready for the challenges that your organisation could face regarding IT may be the difference between success and failure.
The best way to prepare for these challenges is by educating yourself on them and learning the steps to take to get ready for them.
In this blog, we’re going to go over the challenges you’ll face and how you should prepare yourself to take them on.
1. Cybersecurity and Data Security
With 75% of law firms having stated that they’ve experienced a cyber attack, it’s clear that the legal sector is a high-value target. This is why keeping up with the latest advancements in cybersecurity is vital.
As attacks become more intelligent and powerful with novel innovations, an unprepared victim could be devastated. From social engineering and access breaches to hacking and ransomware, many different threats are always looming. Taking the time to ensure that you’re educated and have the proper preparations in place is vital.
Ensuring that your organisation has security covered is a large part of this — making sure that there’s nothing overlooked anywhere is vital, as any small vulnerability could cause a massive amount of damage and disruption throughout your business.
2. Meeting Compliance Requirements
Compliance requirements are everywhere. Between software compliance and more sweeping compliance issues like GDPR, ensuring that your organisation is compliant is critical — after all, not remaining compliant with important acts and regulations can result in hefty fines for your organisation. However, a lack of compliance doesn’t just end in fines. It can also lead to:
• Data Breaches and Security Vulnerabilities: A lot of compliance regulations are also in place for security reasons — these are regulations to stop recklessness and ensure that protections are in place.
• Loss of Business and Partnership: If your company is in breach of compliance, it’ll appear less trustworthy to those outside. This is why ensuring that compliance is met is vital to maintaining key industry relationships and keeping customers.
• Damage to Reputation: Getting caught breaching compliance regulations is a stain on your organisation that you won’t be able to wipe off. Your reputation will forever be tarnished, leading to irreparable damage to your company. Taking the time for due diligence to ensure that you’re compliant is very important for these reasons, and is always worth checking and tracking.
3. Remote and Hybrid Communications and Collaboration
Along with the rest of the world, the legal sector is experiencing a massive shift towards remote work and online communications. This presents many new challenges for your organisation, including:
• Logistics: The logistical strain of figuring out a solution to enable remote working and collaboration is, at first, daunting.
• Security: If your team will need to be able to access files while at home, there are obvious security concerns here.
• Cost: The cost of providing everyone with the tools necessary to enable home working is a new expenditure. Whilst cheaper in the long run, the initial cost may require significant capital expenditure.
• Reliability: Whatever system is used for remote working needs to be reliable. Especially with an organisation as time-sensitive as a legal firm, every second counts — and your communications app not working could be drastic.
Some tasks simply need to be done, but can be manual and time-consuming. These kinds of tasks are often critical processes that need to be completed accurately and correctly to ensure that everything works well throughout your organisation.
However, with the help of automation and tools like Power Automate, these tasks can be done by an automatic system — meaning that you can dedicate resources to the parts of your organisation that are more important.
Using automation, you can not only ensure that everything is completed to a high standard with efficiency, but also that there is no chance of human error — and you can further enable your organisation to grow and learn new skills.
Archival and Legal Hold of ESI
Holding data - whether that’s case files, evidence or sensitive information - safely and securely is crucial to every law firm. However, given that much of the legal system has transitioned to a digital-first workflow (including remote court hearings, digital case management systems etc.), legal organisations are now expected to handle archives and legal hold as electronically stored information (ESI).
This naturally means that a lot of materials used within the legal system have also moved online. This is a large consideration for any law business, as there are many challenges to integrating the digital-first system into a traditional legal organisation, including:
• Security: Ensuring the ESI handled by your organisation is secure and safe — preserved away from damage — is vital, as the ESI handled this way is often important to ongoing cases. Weak security could leave a window open to tampering and sabotage, putting your firm at risk.
• Redundancy: In the same vein, ensuring that multiple copies are made for this exact reason is vital. If an important ESI is stored on a single central server which is then damaged, there is no way to retrieve that. However, ensuring there are multiple copies will dramatically reduce the chance of catastrophe here.
• Accessibility: The files stored away digitally also need to be accessible both easily and quickly. Things change fast in the legal world, so ensuring that there’s no downtime in accessing the data is vital.
5. Upgrading Legacy Systems
Many law firms still rely on outdated technology and software, which can be slow, difficult to use, and prone to security vulnerabilities. These legacy systems may be running on older hardware and operating systems, which are no longer supported and may be vulnerable to security threats. Upgrading these systems can be expensive and time-consuming, but failing to do so can lead to inefficiencies and security risks.
Moreover, legacy systems can negatively impact the productivity of legal professionals, as older systems may be slow to load and process data. This can lead to increased time spent on administrative tasks, reducing the amount of time available for billable work.
How We Can Help Solve These Challenges
The modern legal world is taking IT into its stride fully, and the challenges that are arising as a byproduct of it are important considerations for any law firm that wants to ensure that they’re not hit by any of them in the future without being prepared.
Want to learn more? Download our free eBook to learn how to overcome challenges in the legal sector.