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One of the many tasks today’s mobile lawyer can perform on a smart device is legal research. And while this is certainly convenient, it is becoming clear that mobility can also maximize the value of legal research in terms of productivity, quality of work and cost containment — all important components of an efficient, successful practice.
Productivity is the most obvious benefit of mobility for legal research. The ability to find, review and share content using an app means legal professionals can get things done far more efficiently. This accelerates the time to insights, speeds up action and supports better client service. These tangible everyday benefits also help a firm or legal department with their bottom line. The adage “time is money” summarizes the impact.
For instance, law firms and corporate legal departments truly seeking bottom line business value from mobility can deploy a cloud or hybrid technology environment that offers a seamless ecosystem for constant connection to research tools and results as users move from computer, to phone, to tablet. This powerful capability enables users to complete tasks faster or even simultaneously — tasks that have a direct influence on a firm’s ability to win and keep clients, or a legal department’s ability to assess and act on an issue, reduce risk or ensure compliance.
Imagine an associate pressed to deliver research results to a partner by the end of the afternoon, but has an important client meeting set for that same timeframe. Missing the meeting is not an option, nor is delaying the research request. He starts the research for the partner while sitting at his desk and using his laptop computer. Initial results on case law come in and he saves them as he gets up to go to the client meeting. As his fellow associate drives, he is able to use an app on his phone to re-open his research project and gather relevant court dockets, jurisdictional and judicial information, and news articles the partner will need. On the way back to the firm following a successful client meeting, he continues to take advantage of valuable time in the car by using his phone once again to finalize the results and verify citations. Back at his desk, he reviews his research one last time and sends it to the partner on time. The associate was able to both supply information for the partner to form the basis of a case strategy for a new client, while also providing quality, in-person service to an existing client. Situations such as these yield positive outcomes for a firm’s business and support the investment in mobile infrastructure.
Another way to use mobility to positively impact business is through alerts. Smart legal professionals sign up for automated updates on breaking news and court information that arrive to their phone or tablet. Because this type of information is automatically pushed in near real-time directly to the lawyer’s device, it can be highly valuable in identifying new business opportunities, beating the competition and making sure not to miss critical decisions or judgments that could impact a case.
Speed and clarity of information in critical moments also delivers business value. Lawyers like to prepare; they want to know their case, their client and the strategy they’re going to use to win, make a point or land a new business. However, not everything always goes to plan. Unanticipated questions arise, new information comes to light or something is put into doubt — possibly while in front of a judge, with a client or in a meeting with the boss. Even the most prepared lawyer can be caught off guard, and these are critical moments that may have a direct bearing on the success of a practice.
Recently, one of our customers shared a story about how she used the legal research app on her smartphone, effectively illustrating the value of on-demand, mobile legal research in critical moments. In the middle of a trial in which she was lead counsel, an evidentiary dispute came up that momentarily put her on the defensive and, in her opinion, cast doubt on whether she could win the case. With only a 10 minute recess to solve the issue, she had no time to go back to the office or rely on anyone else to find what she needed. Instead, she conducted a search on her phone and quickly found the case law that supported her position. Upon pointing the judge to this ruling, the issue was resolved and the evidence in question was allowed. Without the mobile app, she could not have uncovered the needed information in time — information that proved the difference in her winning the trial.
The ability to get answers fast, adjust to new information, look smart and avoid mistakes in critical moments has a bottom line value. Winning cases, providing timely answers to existing or potential clients and the ability to jump first on opportunities all accrue to a firm’s ability to generate revenue through client retention and new business.
Finish reading this article Utilizing Mobility: Creating Maximum Business Value for Legal Research