The Legal Technology Institute (LTI) at the University of Florida's Levin College of Law issued its detailed CASE, MATTER, & PRACTICE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM STUDY earlier this year. An executive summary by the Institute's Director, Andrew Z. Adkins III, can be downloaded here. It is an interesting read for anyone involved in making technology decisions for their firm.
Among the "surprising" findings is how few lawyers are using dual monitor setups despite the well-documented benefits of such an arrangement. Less than one-third of lawyers reported using more than one monitor, with the percentage higher in large firms than in small ones. Adkins recommends what we have suggested here and in our newsletter on several occasions, "With costs of an extra monitor less than $200, law firms and legal departments should explore this benefit of increased productivity (and billable time)."
Small law firms surged ahead of large firms in the adoption of MS Word 2007, with large firms and corporations continuing to use Word 2003.
Perhaps the greatest missed opportunity for law firms of all sizes, including solo practitioners, is the failure to improve productivity by implementation of a Document Management System (DMS). Adkins wrote:
It still amazes me that law firms and legal departments have not implemented document management. Our 2000 ASP Study (Legal Technology Institute - iManage, Inc. Application Service reported less than 50% of the legal profession did not use a document management system.This year, our CMS Study reports the same – more than half of the respondents (52%) indicated they do use a document management system. Larger firms and legal departments did, however, report a higher use of DMS (80%) than those in smaller firms and legal departments. Of those that use a DMS, reported a higher use of iManage WorkSite than OpenText/Hummingbird or WORLDOX.
Our experience is that law firms of every size realize significant productivity gains from a properly-implemented document management system (DMS).
I recall a visit to a public law department approximately six years ago to present the full range of software solutions we thought could help improve the department's productivity. Public budgets being limited, they could afford to purchase and implement only one type of solution. They selected a document management system, in that case Worldox. In their view it was the one addition that would add the most to their overall productivity. It was a wise decision.
For nearly all small and mid-sized firms, including solos, the right DMS choice is likely to be Worldox for its reasonable cost, flexibility, scalability as you grow, ability to integrate with other key law office software, and its ease of use. We use it ourselves.
If you would like to learn more about Worldox and how it can improve your firm's productivity, contact your Affinity Consulting Group office.