7 Secrets to Building a Healthy Law Firm Office Culture

7 Secrets to Building a Healthy Law Firm Office Culture

7 Secrets to Building a Healthy Law Firm Office Culture

A healthy law firm culture makes a law firm the best version of itself. The strength and quality of that culture helps it adapt to change and continue operating during periods of uncertainty—a pandemic, for example.

Healthy law firm culture is a big deal, not only for surviving turbulent times but because it can get law firm staff to buy into the firm’s mission and weave together a stabilizing sense of community.

But everyone has a different idea about what culture is, what constitutes good culture, and how to create culture that has staying power. What’s the answer?

Spoiler alert: It’s not free pizza lunches and casual Fridays.

Those perks were compelling back when fax machines were state of the art, but a 21st century law firm sets the bar much higher. Building a healthy culture in the present tense requires a more holistic perspective on people and purpose; they are secrets hiding in plain sight.

Here’s how to find them.

What is law firm culture?

What is law firm culture?

Before we begin the search for a healthy culture, it’s important to know what the destination looks like. Law firm culture is a dynamic process that changes over time, and what was ideal 10 years ago—before remote work and artificial intelligence swept through the door—may not stand up today.

Douglas Richmond, J.D., Senior Vice President at Lockton Companies, LLC, defines it this way:

“…the system of beliefs that members share about the goals and
values that are important to them and about the behavior that is
appropriate to attain those goals and live those values
.”

How does that definition manifest among law firms in the real world?

For insight, here’s a sample of the culture among three top law firms recognized for their superior culture, according to career intelligence platform, Vault.

O’Melveny & Myers LLPWith 10 offices in the United States, O’Melveny & Myers reportedly offers a culture that has made it a leader in diversity. The firm emphasizes wellness and prioritizes associate development.
Clifford Chance US LLPMultinational Clifford Chance LLP has developed a culture described as “…a real team attitude”. Summer outings, happy hours, and holiday parties are common in addition to celebrations for Black History Month and Pride.
Morgan, Lewis, & Bockius, LLPBiglaw that strives to “give back”. Morgan, Lewis & Brockius LLP require 20 hours of pro bono work for bonus eligibility. The company reportedly works to attract team members who seek a non-hierarchical culture with ample transparency.

Granted, these are all Biglaw firms that approach culture with Biglaw resources. What these top firms know about the importance of office culture, however, is no different from what law firms of every size know, and is backed up by research:

An organization’s culture significantly impacts an employee’s happiness.

As it turns out, what makes legal professionals who work at law firms happy isn’t much different from workers in any industry: non-judgmental colleagues, supportive leaders, good communication, shared values, and professional development.

Looks good on paper, but how do you create a great culture if you don’t already have one?

We’ll let you in on a little secret. Seven of them, actually.

How to Build a Better Company Culture

How to Build a Better Company Culture

There is no Big Bang for healthy law firm office culture. Great culture comes from a measured set of practices and principles exercised over time. They are less “secrets” than diligence that helps cultures stand out for the right reasons:

1. Gather Feedback

Start with your colleagues. Use casual conversation or anonymous surveys to find out what they have to say about the current culture; note what they say works and what needs to change. This helps build your roadmap for action.

2. Develop Core Values

Define the cultural direction you want to take and focus on core values and boundaries. Then create a list of ideas that enable team members to become champions for this culture. Use these questions to get started:

  • Decide how you want clients to perceive your firm.
  • Establish what constitutes the ideal employee experience.
  • Determine which behaviors within the culture are and are not acceptable.

3. Set an Example

Senior leaders should model the culture they want to establish. The rest of the firm’s staff members will look to them for guidance.

Rapid Legal provides user data and reports that enable you to analyze productivity, spend, and value
Rapid Legal provides user data and reports that enable you to analyze productivity, spend, and value

4. Create Emotional Infrastructure

It’s important to create strong emotional ties among your law firm’s team members. It is also important to create a positive bond between team members and the law firm itself. Offer opportunities for employees to strengthen these connections.

5. Cultivate Trust

It’s not enough to teach your firm’s staff members how to do their jobs. A healthy law firm culture should work toward trusting staff members to make decisions. Give them opportunities to take the right actions and build their decision-making experience.

6. Build Resilience

The work of legal professionals is inherently stressful. One way to keep stress from becoming overwhelming is to offer a framework for resilience. This can include providing resources, relationships, and emotional support that help staff members recover from stressful events such as conflict, failure, or changes in responsibility.

You may also want to coach team members on ways to keep up with the demanding pace of the law firm environment. These two resources offer excellent insights to manage workloads and constant waves of information:

7. Embrace Flexibility

The legal profession historically has resisted change. Unfortunately, clinging to a “this is how we’ve always done it” mindset fosters rigidity and stifles innovation: an invitation to catastrophe.

To create a healthy office culture in the 21st century, law firms must become flexible.

Firms of any size can improve flexibility by being open to hybrid or remote work arrangements, compressed workweeks, and flexible start and end times.

Why are these work models so important for building a healthy culture (and company)?

Because organizations that offer some form of remote work enjoy a 25% lower employee turnover rate compared to those that do not.

Flexibility does more than just reduce turnover; it also lowers burnout, helps employees support their families, enhances productivity, and boosts morale.


Remote Work is Still a Fave

After the COVID-19 public health emergency ended in in 2023

“…only 7% of associates/support staff
have returned full time to their offices.”

—Law.com: How Hybrid Work Forever Transformed the Legal Profession (survey conducted July 21st-August 14th, 2023


What Separates Firms from Their Culture Goal?

What Separates Firms from Their Culture Goal?

The barriers law firms face in building a healthy office culture are not unlike the barriers most organizations face. Let’s look at four of the common barriers that stand between a law firm and its culture goals, and how to overcome them.

• Iffy Leadership

When the firm’s senior leaders and middle managers don’t adhere to their brand values, it won’t be long before lawyers and non-lawyers do the same.
Inconsistency cultivates distrust and cynicism among the firm’s staff, especially if their leaders appear to be exempt from the rules.

For example, no cell phones in the office means no cell phones for everyone. If legal assistants need to be at their desks filling court documents by 8:30 a.m., the rainmakers should be at their desks as well.

Keeping the same standards for all employees will cultivate a healthy culture that builds trust, promotes equality, and reinforces brand values.

• Sideways energy

Sideways energy refers to energy that is unfocused, misdirected, and otherwise wasted. It may manifest as employee drama, siloing, or gaps in trust, and is notorious for draining productivity.

Sideways energy can quickly turn good culture bad.

You may not be able to eradicate sideways energy completely, but you can clip its wings by implementing organizational systems that ensure the right people are hired, developed, and supported in ways that align with brand values.

• Failure to Collaborate

Even in the best collaborative environments, silos may pop up like cliquey little mushrooms. Silos persist because lawyers and non-lawyers tend to place their primary focus on their group or departmental tasks, with only a few senior leaders seeing the big picture.

As silos become more entrenched, trust diminishes. Communication, collaboration, and partnership soon follow suit.

But siloing may not be so much a problem to solve as a situation to manage.

To mitigate the impact of silos, implement intentional meetings and management processes that address company culture proactively. This will help staff members cultivate a broader perspective about the firm for themselves, and improve the understanding they have about how their roles and functions contribute to the overall mission.

If You Build It, They Will Come

If You Build It, They Will Come

You now have seven powerful tools to build the kind of workplace that inspires you, welcomes you, and sends you home at the end of the day feeling like it brought out the best.

The results you want may not happen overnight, but building this foundation now means your firm will be better prepared for long-term success once all the elements come together.

As you plan your culture, consider whether your litigation support service provider aligns with the vision you have. Can they be a strategic partner that will help you create positive change from the inside?

If that doesn’t sound like your current provider, it’s time to think about finding one that does. Schedule a call or book a demo now to speak with a Rapid Legal account manager, and find out how we can help make your law firm the best version of itself through innovation and superior performance.


6 Time Management Tips for Legal Support Professionals

Conquer Your Caseload: 6 Time Management Tips for Legal Support Professionals

6 Time Management Tips for Legal Support Professionals

Do you ever feel like there’s just not enough time in the day? Between managing complex cases, supporting busy attorneys, and battling a never-ending inbox, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

But what if you could reclaim those lost minutes and master the art of effective time management?

In this article, we’ll explore the top time thieves that plague legal teams, along with practical tips on how to prioritize tasks effectively, leverage technology to your advantage, and finally conquer that ever-growing caseload.

Set Yourself Up for Success

Set Yourself Up for Success

For legal support professionals, complex casework is just the beginning; drafting legal correspondence, maintaining client relationships, and handling attorney requests can make your day-to-day workload feel impossible to tackle.

But before you can develop better time management habits, you need to identify what’s stealing your time.

Maybe you’re guilty of prioritizing less important tasks over the more complex ones, a classic sign of procrastination. Or are you losing valuable minutes searching for specific legal documents in a disorganized system?

Recognizing these ‘time thieves’ is your first step towards effective time management. Without this, the idea of ‘effective time management’ becomes somewhat of a paradox.

If you find yourself rapidly shifting between tasks – responding to emails, drafting a legal memo, fielding client calls – you might want to find new ways to delegate some of those or adhere to a strict task list. If you’re a habitual procrastinator, consider tackling the most challenging tasks first. If the endless search for a client’s documents is slowing you down, perhaps it’s time to adopt a more efficient filing system.

So, the first step: know what works for you (or more importantly, what doesn’t) and use that understanding to create an effective strategy moving forward.

1. Start Tomorrow, Today: Compile a Next-Day Action List

One useful strategy to stay a step ahead is to create your task list for the next day at the close of your current day. Start prepping your casework and administrative tasks the night prior so you can dive straight into work from the moment you get to your desk.

To further improve your action list, break it down into tasks instead of projects. Converting your project list into a task list sets both daily and weekly goals, maintaining consistent productivity and efficiency.

Instead of writing down projects such as ‘Work on Greene v. Daniels Case‘ – which can be intimidating to look at – dissect it into discrete tasks like ‘Phone call with Mrs. Greene regarding Declaration Draft‘.

Start Tomorrow, Today: Compile a Next-Day Action List

This approach transforms your vague projects into tangible and easily digestible goals.

Clearly defining tasks not only keeps you on track but also lessens the mental burden of deciding what needs to be done.

Embrace the Power of Modern Technology

2. Embrace the Power of Modern Technology

In today’s fast-paced law office, knowing how to effectively use technology is not just an add-on skill, but rather a must-have that’s rapidly transforming the legal scene.

The good news is, there’s an endless amount of legal technology solutions and other software to make the legal industry’s fast-paced environment much more manageable. While most legal support pros are familiar with practice management systems like Clio, or document management systems like iManage, there are so many more productivity tools available today.

For the paralegal or support professional buried in busywork, AI-powered tools like CaptureNow and CaseText can handle everything from contract analysis and document review to basic secretarial duties. You may also consider exploring virtual legal assistant services to support you in case management, demand writing, collections and more.

But what’s more important for the legal community are the new and modern solutions specifically tailored for the busy legal professional.

For example, Rapid Legal’s portal, powered by LegalConnect®, the industry-leading litigation support service management platform, is used by thousands of legal professionals to have their litigation support services – eFiling, physical court filing, process serving, and more – fulfilled for their law firms and clients.

Whether it’s syncing invoicing data directly from Rapid Legal to your financial system, accessing documents from your document management or practice management system, leveraging our eFiling APIs to further streamline your firm’s electronic filing process, and more, modern law firms are now seeking Rapid Legal’s full technology capabilities and partnerships to achieve organizational efficiencies, reduce costs, and free firm resources for higher value work.

By embracing these innovative technologies, legal support professionals can reclaim precious time, focusing on what truly matters – supporting their teams, increasing billable hours, and achieving the best outcomes for clients.

3. Prioritize Your Tasks by Urgency & Importance

Effectively and strategically prioritizing your tasks is crucial for optimizing your productivity.

To help break down and organize your workload, consider using the Eisenhower Matrix. This reliable time management tool can help you sort tasks into four categories: urgent-important, important-not urgent, urgent-not important, and not urgent-not important.

Prioritize Your Tasks by Urgency & Importance

Tasks that are both urgent and important, like a missing document needed for filing or responding to court orders on a deadline, demand your immediate attention. These are the duties that, if neglected, could lead to serious repercussions. Reduce the number of tasks in this quadrant whenever possible.

Similarly, important but not urgent tasks are those that align with your long-term objectives, like preventative tasks or legal research. Although they don’t need immediate attention, they shouldn’t be put on the back burner either. Plan ahead and schedule these tasks so they don’t slip through the cracks.

Tasks that are urgent but not important are some of the most common time thieves for legal support pros. Responding to low-priority emails, non-essential administrative tasks, answering minor client questions can all be considered urgent but not important tasks, ideal for strategic delegation.

Finally, tasks that are neither urgent nor important only serve to distract you and waste valuable time. If these tasks don’t align with the company’s mission, declutter your day and empower yourself to say “no.”

If used correctly, the Eisenhower Matrix is a powerful tool for managing legal tasks and your time, but it will take some effort to get started. Once you do, though, this method will surely help you maintain focus, reduce stress, and enhance your overall productivity.

Is your process server fumbling your legal documents?
Is your process server fumbling your legal documents?

4. Identify & Remove These Common Time Wasters

You’re not a legal support professional if you don’t find yourself grappling with time wasters such as redundant meetings, excessive email checks, and the lure of social media. All of these can really hamper your productivity, especially when they all hit you at once. Sometimes these time wasters are unavoidable, but there are a few tricks to minimize their disruption.

Before you RSVP to another meeting, assess the meeting’s purpose. Could the subject matter be shared via an email or a quick phone call? If so, don’t hesitate to suggest that alternative – the entire firm is better off when the right decision is made. Be confident you know what that decision is!

Constant interruptions in a busy law firm can derail your momentum. Between supporting attorneys, talkative coworkers, and multiple meetings, staying focused can be challenging.

The key to combating the “Interruption Impasse” lies in establishing clear boundaries. Communicate your availability to colleagues and consider utilizing “Do Not Disturb” functions on your phone or workspace. Don’t hesitate to schedule yourself some focus hours, minimize interruptions and make the most of your time.

Clear Your Desk, Clear Your Mind

5. Clear Your Desk, Clear Your Mind

You may think that a desk crowded with papers and sticky notes isn’t a big deal. But did you know that keeping your workspace physically tidy can also significantly improve your mental clarity?

Multiple studies* confirm the link between a clean, organized physical space and a clear, focused mental state. Just like a messy desk can cause stress and discomfort, a neat and tidy one can encourage concentration and efficiency.

Think of your desk as a reflection of your workload. If it’s cluttered, it can make it seem like your tasks are just as disorganized and chaotic. However, when your workplace is clean and clear, you are better equipped to handle your responsibilities in an orderly, systematic fashion.

This is also one of the easiest ways to start boosting your time management right away. Simply use the last 30 minutes this Friday to tidy and reorganize your desk for next week; before you leave each day, give it a quick once over so you can start every morning with a clean slate.

Busy Doesn't Mean Productive: The Importance of Taking Breaks

6. Busy Doesn’t Mean Productive: The Importance of Taking Breaks

Just as a neat desk can clear your mind, regular breaks can help you recharge. No one can operate at 100% efficiency at all times; our brains simply aren’t wired to stay focused for extended periods without rest.

You might be under the impression that continuous work equals increased productivity, but that’s a common misbelief. Whether you notice it or not, you might start to get mentally fatigued after your tenth straight client email, or the second hour of in-depth discovery. On the contrary, modern research underscores the significance of taking breaks for sustaining mental quickness and productivity. **

Neglecting to take time out can lead to mental fatigue, reduced productivity, and extended task completion times. It can even increase your risk of making a mistake and jeopardizing legal documents that need to be completed with steadfast accuracy.

Be it a five-minute break every hour, a healthy lunch break, or a 10-minute destress period, these moments are crucial for your mental health, brain function and overall productivity.

Final Thoughts: Time Management Tips for Legal Support Professionals

In the legal world, improving and optimizing your time management skills is an opportunity to achieve your tasks with speed, confidence, and impeccable execution.

Start by decluttering your physical space and addressing time wasters like social media and excessive emails. Harness modern legal solutions like Clio, AI services and Rapid Legal. Prioritize your task list with precision and give yourself some mental breaks to refresh and recover.

Remember, getting work done fast doesn’t mean you’re getting it done right, and being busy doesn’t mean you’re being productive!

It’s all about finding the right balance and time management strategy for you and your professional style.

After you put these tips to work, if you feel like you’re beginning to move ahead while your litigation support provider is falling behind, contact Rapid Legal for service and support that moves as quickly and efficiently as you. It’s time for you to work with a vendor that respects your time with unmatched performance and a satisfaction guarantee. Schedule a call today to speak to an account manager or book a demo.


5 Golden Rules of Networking Etiquette

5 Golden Rules of Networking Etiquette

5 Golden Rules of Networking Etiquette

Etiquette is the “it” factor every professional needs for career mobility. Strong networking etiquette can position you as someone likeable and charming who should be taken seriously, while its absence may leave you seeming thoughtless and awkward. So, before you plunge into that next legal mixer, be sure your networking etiquette is finely honed.

This article shares techniques you can use to deliver your messaging with polish and confidence to a roomful of unfamiliar faces. Put them to work now to present yourself as the top-tier legal professional you are, whether you’re looking for a new job or simply working to refine your personal brand at the office.

Golden Rule #1: Nonverbal Etiquette

Golden Rule #1: Nonverbal Etiquette

In any networking setting you’ll want to choose your words carefully. Be just as meticulous about engineering your body language. Body language can amplify or mute the signals you want to project, so as a networking skill it’s non-negotiable.

Following are four key nonverbal gestures and cues you can use to sharpen your performance while networking:

  • Eye contact: Whether speaking or listening, maintain eye contact. It tells the person speaking that you’re interested in what they have to say. Allowing your eyes to shift to the sides of the speaker, up, or down sends a negative message. Above all, never roll your eyes.
  • Posture: Your parents were right: Stand up straight. You can show that you’re confident and serious by maintaining an erect posture. If you’re sitting down, don’t slouch.
  • Stillness: Pacing, tapping, swiveling, and fidgeting can make you seem nervous. These actions undermine your professional presence and may actually distract the person with whom you are engaging.
  • Sounds: It’s rude to interrupt another person who is speaking. This is a global truth. It seems elementary but it can happen almost unconsciously so listen actively and modulate how and when you respond and be aware of the sounds you create.

3 Body Language Hacks to Influence People

Body language plays an outsized role in reinforcing your message, so use your physical presence as an adjunct to clarify meaning. Here are three nonverbal communication techniques that connote professionalism and can positively impact your networking efforts.

1

Stand or sit on the left side of the person with whom you are speaking

Why it works:

During normal interaction, we tend to give with our right side and receive with our left side. To wit: You always shake hands using your right hand. If you want to influence someone sit to their left or, if possible, look at their left eye when speaking.

2

Place both feet on the floor

Why it works:

Your body position tells your brain how you’re feeling. Placing both feet on the floor creates a stable base for your whole body (even if you’re speaking on the telephone). That stable base projects stability and confidence.

3

Use symmetrical posture

Why it works:

Human beings prefer symmetry. The aesthetic value of symmetrical facial features is well known, but symmetry is also critical of posture. The more symmetric your posture, the more you exude confidence and competence.

Golden Rule #2: Verbal Etiquette

Golden Rule #2: Verbal Etiquette

Once the conversation at a networking event begins to flow it’s almost inevitable, you’ll have an opening to join the dialogue. When it’s your turn to speak the first thing you’ll want to do is adjust the volume of your voice. Loud voices can be associated with anger and make you seem aggressive.

On the other hand, a voice that is too soft can make you seem unconfident. Modulate your tone for emphasis and adjust to the noise level in the room. This advice from Tony Robbins can help you understand how to optimize your tone of voice, so listeners focus on your words.

While you are speaking

Take note of the other person’s body language. Is the individual pulling away or putting their hands in their pockets? Are they crossing their arms? These can be tell-tale signs of boredom.

If the person to whom you are speaking displays these signals or seems uncomfortable, respect their space and don’t force the conversation.

Don’t interrupt

In any conversation this golden rule is sacrosanct: Don’t interrupt whoever is speaking. If you find yourself being interrupted by someone else, however, this may be happening for a couple of reasons:

  • You don’t get to the point: When you begin to ramble, listeners tune out. Strive to be concise and clear.
  • You don’t project confidence: Keep your shoulders back, head up, maintain eye contact, and speak from the diaphragm. People don’t interrupt someone they believe is important.

If you are interrupted try not to shut down, become defensive, or go silent. You can display good etiquette by allowing the person who interrupted you to finish their thought before you respond.

Golden Rule #3: Don’t Skip the Small Talk

Golden Rule #3: Don’t Skip the Small Talk

While it’s true that Americans like directness, it is also true that in a business setting there must be a balance between light conversation and deep dialogue. That’s the role of small talk.

Small talk acts as a social lubricant that helps professionals’ transition smoothly from casual chatter to more meaningful discussion. In a networking environment, skipping small talk entirely can derail that transition and make it more difficult to establish a connection.

Small talk done right displays good etiquette, so wrap it in these strategies for best results at a networking event:

  • Ask an open-ended question. You may get a greater payoff by focusing more on what to ask than what to say.
  • Respond to an open-ended question: If someone asks about your job, don’t just tell them, “I work in estate planning,” tell them a bit about what you actually do on a daily basis.
  • Read the situation: Keep the conversation going if the other person is interested. If that interest breaks off, thank the person for their time and move on—even if you didn’t have the opportunity to get to your key message.

If you’re naturally comfortable speaking with peers and colleagues but tend to freeze up when you interact with executives, here’s good advice for making small talk with big wigs.

Golden Rule #4: Nail the Follow Up

Golden Rule #4: Nail the Follow Up

The end of a networking event isn’t the end of your networking tasks. If you’ve managed to connect with even one individual at a mixer, then the proper etiquette is to follow up.

Not everyone feels comfortable with this part of the process but with a few simple actions you can follow up like a pro and feel good about it.

Timing is everything

Ideally, follow up on LinkedIn or email within 24-48 hours. You don’t want to appear pushy, but you also don’t want to be forgotten. Refresh the person’s memory by referencing your conversation and let them know you’re interested in further discussion.

Conversely, if someone reaches out to you for follow up, wait no longer than 24 hours to reply. This will help maintain the other person’s enthusiasm to make a connection and keep you from missing an opportunity.

What to say

Personalize your message with some specific detail from your conversation. During your conversation perhaps a professional insight was shared or an offer to connect with another person was made. If you discovered a common interest, feel free to refer back to it.

On the other hand, if you are the one who promised to share information or make an introduction, follow through on that commitment. This will build trust with others and reinforce the value they see in you as a connection.

If you’re new to networking and not sure how to craft an email with the right tone and messaging, here are 8 email templates designed specifically to help you with this task.

Is your process server fumbling your legal documents?
Is your process server fumbling your legal documents?

Golden Rule #5: It’s Not a Sprint

Networking is about playing the long game. Don’t expect to hit a home run the moment you walk in to your first networking event. Instead, work at building your professional network gradually. Use your sense of networking etiquette to burnish your personal brand as capable, reliable, and able to navigate the legal industry at every level.

While you’re out networking, make sure your professional toolkit is packed with the industry’s “go to” resources.

That’s where Rapid Legal’s best-in-class litigation support services can help. Get the superior performance of the leading online platform for the services you use most: electronic court document filing, physical filing, service of process, expert review, document retrieval, and more.

Don’t forget that Rapid Legal’s Satisfaction Guarantee delivers peace of mind with every order you place: Service is done right, or it’s free.

Contact an account executive to find out more. Schedule a call or book a demo now!


Cybersecurity Measures Every Law Firm Should Implement

Cybersecurity Measures Every Law Firm Should Implement

Cybersecurity Measures Every Law Firm Should Implement

Can’t Happen Here?

The irony wasn’t lost on anyone when law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe—with its powerhouse cybercrime counsel division—transformed from defender into defendant after a March 2023 cyberattack. The firm’s client data was the target of this exploit which netted the thieves a trove of personally identifiable information:

  • Social Security numbers
  • Dates of birth
  • Names
  • Addresses
  • Medical information
  • Insurance claims
  • Healthcare insurance numbers
  • Provider details

The loss of this information led 460,000 individuals to file a very expensive civil suit against the firm.

Orrick’s misfortune is a wakeup call for every law firm that thinks cyberattacks are what happens to someone else.

To keep your law firm safe from cyberattacks, it’s time to build your cybersecurity savvy. Let’s begin by looking at the popular methods cybercriminals are now using to access sensitive data and some of the cybersecurity measures law firms can take to prevent them.

Every Breath You Take

Every Breath You Take

Every login you make, every fee you stake—they’ll be watching you.

That’s the modus operandi for hackers who try to fool you into entering login information into a bogus website when using a web portal.

Think about it: each time you click in a login box and enter your credentials, you potentially open yourself, and your firm, to a cyberattack.

Here are two ways that can happen.

 

1

2

Lookalike Web Addresses

Once you log into a portal, you are routed to a URL that looks correct but has a tiny variation; something like adding an extra “m” in bankofammerica.com instead of bankofamerica.com. Unless you’re paying close attention, it’s easy to miss.

If you do miss it, you may land on a fake URL where hackers own every keystroke you make. Even worse, they can follow you back to your law firm’s portal.

Hacked WiFi

Public WiFi is not your friend. The signal from your smartphone to the WiFi hardware at a coffee shop, hotel, or restaurant is—for the most part—unprotected. Once you’re on public WiFi, whatever you transmit becomes free range data, just waiting for someone to rustle and sell.

To avoid being hacked on WiFi, use your own device’s cellular data.

 

Plenty of Phish in the Sea

Who passes up $300,000 of free money from a Nigerian prince?

Phishing is one of the original cybercrimes that now seems almost quaint. But make no mistake, currently more than 90% of cyberattacks begin with phishing.

And they’ve come a long way since the 1990s when AOL accounts were hammered by the Nigerian prince scam.

Cybercriminals have updated the look and feel of phishing emails, which is one reason they continue to be effective. Instead of the clunky language and absurd offers that festooned earlier iterations, today’s generative AI-based phishing may look more like a casual message from someone you know.

That’s because today’s cybercriminals can scrape your personal information from social media, allowing them to hit you with messaging that seems far more authentic.

The result is an email that looks like a harmless note from a friend. Perhaps something like this:

Hey Christine“Hey Christine, it was great seeing you at our kids’ soccer game last week. I got some great photos. Click here to download them.”

 

The examples we’ve just looked at—bogus websites, hijacked WiFi, and phishing emails fall under the technology-based attack category.

But hackers have also developed attacks that are human behavior-based. You may hear about these less, but they are just as devastating.

Law offices are vulnerable to either method, so let’s examine the countermoves designed to protect against them.

Technology-Based Cybersecurity

Technology-Based Cybersecurity

Today’s hackers have a diversified portfolio of attack. They use everything from video game controllers to “Internet of Things” devices to access information. In the business world these cyberattacks are known to frequently occur.

  • Ransomware encrypts files for payment.
  • Malware infiltrates systems.
  • Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks flood networks.
  • Credential stuffing uses stolen credentials for unauthorized access.
  • Phishing deceives users via emails.

Vigilance should be combined with cybersecurity measures to reduce the likelihood that one of these attacks will be successful.

The table below spotlights several highly effective measures.

Firewall and Antivirus Software

Firewall and Antivirus Software

A firewall acts as a digital barrier between your internal network and external threats. Antivirus software complements firewalls by detecting, blocking, and removing malicious software such as viruses, malware, and ransomware.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Protection beyond passwords that requires two or more authentication factors, such as:

  • Something the user knows (a password).
  • Something the user has (a mobile device).
  • Something the user is (a fingerprint).
Regular Software Updates and Patches

Regular Software Updates and Patches

Applying regular software updates and patches addresses known vulnerabilities in the software and closes potential entry points for cyberattacks.

Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems (IDPS)

Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems (IDPS)

These systems continuously monitor network traffic and detect suspicious activities or potential security breaches in real time.

Encryption

Encryption

Encoding sensitive data makes it unreadable in transit and at rest to anyone who doesn’t have the encryption key. If attackers gain access to the data, encryption assures they can’t decipher it.

Who’s to blame?

Cybercrime is pervasive across platforms. It’s difficult to place culpability on any one contributor but statistics illustrate how human behavior, technology, and financial incentive all give oxygen to cyberattacks:

86%

Percentage of web application developers who do not view
application security as a top priority when writing code.

1

The number of unencrypted USB drives needed to
negate a law firm’s total spend on cybersecurity.

59.4 million

Number of people in the U.S. who have fallen victim
to vishing (voice phishing) in one year.

$10 Trillion

2023 projected impact of cybercrime, exceeding the GDP
of every nation except the U.S. and China.

Human Hacking (Social Engineering Attacks)

Human Hacking (Social Engineering Attacks)

Hackers aren’t just tech geeks. They understand how emotions affect behavior. Strong emotions such as fear, anger, and greed will shut down your logic center and affect how you make decisions.

Cybercriminals count on this, so they use social engineering attacks to leverage your emotion to their advantage.

To protect yourself, be careful about the action you take in response to things such as a notification about winning a raffle, a delayed order, an urgent call from a “court employee”, or even a tech support call.

Tech support, really?

Yes, here’s an example of how a social engineering attack can be dressed up as a tech support call.

The Setup

A phisher masquerading as a tech support operator sends an email (remember, 75% of targeted cyberattacks begin with an email). The phisher sees that you responded to the email then (a.) calls you to advise that you’ve been “hacked” and (b.) says he will help you disarm the virus and clean your computer.

The Execution

Tech Support: This is Dave at [your company’s tech support]. I see that you’ve been hacked. I’m calling to make sure you shut down the intrusion and clean up your system. Are you ready?

You: Sure, yes, thank you for calling, Dave.

Tech Support: No Problem. This will be easy. Step 1: Go to this [bogus] website and download the .exe file.

You: OK, done. I see my user name and a box to enter my login credentials.

Tech Support: Good job! Go ahead and enter them.

You: The dialogue box is asking if I know the publisher?

Tech Support: It’s a confirmation prompt. Just click “Yes.”

You: OK, I just entered my credentials.

Tech Support: OK, now just click on the .exe file and it’ll take care of the rest.

You: Do I need to do anything else?

Tech Support: If the cleanup returns an error you’ll need to respond. If you don’t get a report at the end of the cleanup then everything’s fine and you’re good to go.

You: OK, great. Thank you so much, Dave!


Why this works:

Dopamine affects your decision making. When you feel trust or positive emotions toward someone your brain releases dopamine. Who better to trust than tech support?


Social engineering is the most successful means to a data breach. Now that you better understand how social engineering attacks work, here are effective cybersecurity measures you can use against them.

Employee TrainingEmployee Training
Educate staff about the latest social engineering tactics. Help them recognize and respond to potential security risks. Address password hygiene, email security, safe browsing, and data handling procedures.
Strong Password PoliciesStrong Password Policies
Enforce regular password changes and prohibit the reuse of previous passwords. Encourage use of password managers.
Phishing Awareness TrainingPhishing Awareness Training
Review tactics cybercriminals use to manipulate individuals into disclosing sensitive information or downloading malware. Share tips for identifying suspicious links and attachments.
Limiting Access to Sensitive InformationLimiting Access to Sensitive Information
This may involve assigning access privileges based on job roles, responsibilities, and the principle of least privilege.
Clear Protocols for Reporting and Responding to Security IncidentsClear Protocols for Reporting and Responding to Security Incidents
Outline steps for reporting suspicious activities or security breaches promptly, designate responsible personnel for incident response coordination, and provide guidelines for assessing and containing incidents. Conduct regular drills and simulations.

Rapid Legal delivers unrivaled process serving for law firms and legal departments
Rapid Legal delivers unrivaled process serving for law firms and legal departments

Rapid Legal Has Your Back

Think your law firm’s cybersecurity team is hard to please?

Show them the industry-leading protections Rapid Legal uses to keep user data safe. Even the most discerning IT professionals are sure to give them a thumbs up:

  • Run on a highly secure, SOCS-2 certified infrastructure that adheres to the rigorous AICPA Trust Services Security, Availability, Confidentiality, and Privacy Criteria.
  • Encrypt all web traffic with 2048-bit RSA TLS/SSL.
  • Encrypt sensitive data—such as passwords—when stored in databases.
  • Use advanced webpage code that prevents injecting malicious scripts by attacks such as Cross-Site Scripting (XSS).
  • Ensure that all payment-related information is passed directly to the payment processor and never stored on local servers or databases.
  • Use advanced anomaly detection on servers to notify of unusual activity that may be signs of hackers.
  • Employ layers of physical protection of servers and data using firewalls, private subnets, and server routing rules.

Get the Industry’s Best

Get the Industry’s Best

Law firms have a 27% probability of being hit by a cyberattack, which can place legal professionals on the front lines of data breach attempts.

To make sure hackers stay out of your firm’s files and enjoy peace of mind on every eFiling and litigation support service you order, contact a Rapid Legal account manager to schedule a call or book a demo today.

Find out how Rapid Legal industry-leading protections guard your law firm’s confidential data while delivering unrivaled value and performance.


How Law Firms are Streamlining Document Workflows with Rapid Legal

Nothing is more enjoyable than having to do the same task twice.

Said no one, ever.

That’s why law firms seek to streamline every operation they can by eliminating, automating, or simplifying repetitive and unnecessary tasks. Streamlining is good for the business of law. It increases worker productivity and lowers operating costs.

Wondering whether it’s time for your law firm to focus on streamlining its document workflows? Ask yourself whether you’re awash in redundant tasks and rework; or if your technology tools seem to create more delays than they eliminate.

If the answer is, “Yes,” then you’re probably in need of a process overhaul.

This article showcases how law firms are using Rapid Legal’s integrations with other legal software to break through information silos and streamline document workflows. Good news: If you’re a Rapid Legal customer you’re closer to solving those problems than you think.

What Makes Workflows Fail

What Makes Workflows Fail

A high-level view of law firm operations reveals several distinct challenges that sap efficiency from document workflows. There are five you should know about; some you may recognize from your own experience as a legal professional:

#1. Document Organization and Retrieval

“Seek and ye might find.” Law firms deal with a massive volume of documents and organizing this mass of information is a major challenge. Retrieving individual documents quickly and efficiently is a tall ask that only gets taller as law firms grow.

#2. Version Control

Through the magic of software, multiple staff members can now collaboratively read and amend documents. It’s a terrific productivity hack. However, if those edits aren’t strictly tracked and version controlled so everyone knows which version is current and who owns it, catastrophe follows.

#3. Security and Compliance

Information that flows in and out of law firms is inherently sensitive. To protect clients and themselves, law firms face the daunting task of engineering a compliant document workflow that ensures information is stored securely and is access restricted.

#4. Workflow Efficiency

Drafting and reviewing documents, editing them and getting approvals are common to law firm document workflows. The difficulty in managing these tasks is that they tend to be moving targets. Managing them in a way that minimizes bottlenecks, reduces manual tasks, and improves overall efficiency is a continuous challenge.

#5. Technology Integration

Integrating document management systems with other tools the firm uses—case management software, billing systems, client portals, or vendor portals—can be tough. Portals, for example, provide a handy central hub where documents may be shared with the correct recipient, but not every portal is guaranteed to integrate with your law firm’s document management system.

Each of these five challenges can create downstream issues that hinder a law firm’s speed or efficiency—or both. No law firm ever rose to the top on a clunky workflow, so let’s look at what cultivates a workflow that moves quickly and correctly.

Lost Productivity by the Numbers

Lost Productivity by the Numbers

Can’t Slow Down

The work many legal professionals do demands speed and efficiency, especially drafting, reviewing, and organizing documents. When those tasks become bogged down by slow performance they stymie the document workflow.

That problem can be solved, however, by using an efficient document management system that frees up valuable time. The surplus minutes and hours can be redirected to higher-value tasks such as legal research, client communication, and case strategy development.

Likewise, using a document management system that is fast and efficient enables firms to handle a higher volume of cases, respond quickly to client needs, and outperform competitors.

Speed and efficiency are oxygen for legal work. However, a law firm’s document management system, practice management system, and litigation support service platform must work and play well together to achieve a fully streamlined workflow.

If they don’t, nothing else matters.

How Rapid Legal’s Integrations Help

How Rapid Legal’s Integrations Help

To operate at the top levels of efficiency, law firms must pull friction out of the document exchange process. Legal documents are exchanged online countless times daily, and any inefficiencies in that process compound over time until a hole is punched right through the firm’s bottom line.

One way to remove that friction is to use a vendor whose technology platform integrates with a law firm’s internal document management and office management system.

That’s exactly what Rapid Legal had in mind when it engineered integrations with leading legal industry software manufacturers. These integrations are easy to implement and can be scaled up or down at no extra cost.

Let’s examine how those integrations streamline law firm workflows.

NetDocuments + Rapid LegalNetDocuments is a cloud document management platform that enables law firms and legal teams to secure, organize, automate, and collaborate on documents. The integration between NetDocuments and Rapid Legal allows legal professionals to seamlessly upload and download documents for their eFiling order—directly from NetDocuments.

The integration between the two systems saves time, produces a demonstrable ROI for the law firm, and frees firm resources to focus on work that generates greater value.

Clio + Rapid LegalBurnaby, British Columbia-based Clio is one of the most recognizable names in cloud-based law firm practice management technology. In 2023 Rapid Legal integrated its litigation support service technology platform with Clio, enabling legal professionals to place an eFiling order within the Rapid Legal portal, attach documents from their Clio account, and receive court-returned documents.

Another benefit of this integration is that billing data from submitted Rapid Legal eFiling orders are populated and saved within the law firm’s Clio account. As a streamlining mechanism, this integration delivers a simplified way for law firms to do expense reconciliation and invoicing.

iManage + Rapid LegalRapid Legal launched its integration with Chicago-based iManage with the aim of reducing the number of steps legal professionals take to move documents from their own systems into their litigation support provider’s platform.

As a result, from a single login, legal professionals can move their documents freely with Rapid Legal from right inside the customer portal.

Each of the three integrations we’ve discussed is available to Rapid Legal customers at no cost and offers full scalability anytime with no additional fuss or expense. They allow law firms to continue using the systems they already know and understand seamlessly in parallel with Rapid Legal’s industry-leading platform.

Use Cases from the Real World

Use Cases from the Real World

Wondering how law firms are putting Rapid Legal’s integrations to work to streamline their document workflows? We’ve taken snapshots from three law firms that use these integrations to do just that.

Fewer steps and faster filing.

A Los Angeles-based midsized law firm and longtime iManage user enjoyed the efficiency of iManage’s document search and retrieval features. The firm’s court document eFiling provider wasn’t integrated with iManage—a disconnect that forced the user to take multiple steps to move documents between the two systems.

By switching to Rapid Legal, the law firm could load documents into the Rapid Legal workflow directly from iManage. This eliminated the need to download a document from iManage to the local computer before uploading it into Rapid Legal’s portal. Removing this repetitive and unnecessary task from the workflow saved valuable time and money.

Keeping Up With Court-Returned Docs

One of Orange County’s large personal injury law firms wanted better visibility into its court-returned documents. This was problematic for the firm since its litigation support service provider didn’t offer an integration with the firm’s document management system, NetDocuments. The incompatibility caused frustrating delays for law firm staff who wanted timely updates.

Rapid Legal’s integration with NetDocuments solved that problem. When the firm’s staff wanted to view their court-returned documents they simply logged into their NetDocuments account and navigated to the Client and Matter they selected when submitting the eFiling order in Rapid Legal.

From there, they located the folder named “Returned from Rapid Legal,” whose portal they used to submit the eFiling order. In the “Returned from Rapid Legal” folder a list of all Rapid Legal orders submitted under this Client and Matter appeared.

From that point, viewing the documents was a simple matter of locating the proper folder by matching the Order Number assigned when the eFiling order was submitted in Rapid Legal.

Case Cost Visibility

A small family law practice headquartered in San Francisco wanted greater visibility into its case costs, so it looked to Rapid Legal’s integration with Clio to gather those insights.

The process was simple. Once logged into Clio, getting the cost information became a matter of clicking over to the “Activities” page where eFiling expenses can be navigated by their matter, date, or type. The user could check the status of a particular expense’s invoice as well.

Assigning expenses to the appropriate expense category was a simple matter of scrolling to the expense that needed to be altered and clicking on the “edit” button in its row. Once the matter’s “edit” button was clicked, an expense category for that matter could be selected.

See the Unseen with Data Sharing

See the Unseen with Data Sharing

Smoother eFiling and litigation support service ordering is just the beginning of the benefits system integrations provide. Rapid Legal can engineer other portal integrations that pour shared data into reports that identify trouble spots before things get expensive.

For example, a law firm that is having trouble allocating expenses to specific client transactions may be mystified when it receives a credit card statement with large transaction amounts. By sharing data with the firm’s litigation support service provider, the firm could customize an invoicing process tailored to address this issue.

As a result, with just a quick search, the firm can define and attribute its spend to specific clients.

Read this real-world case study of how Rapid Legal engineered a CRM-to-CRM integration and saved a law firm the equivalent cost of one full-time employee reconciling invoices and expenses for fee motions.

Did You Get Served?

Service of process is an area of a law firm’s litigation support services that merits close attention. That’s because service of process orders have many moving parts that can drag a budget into the red even if things seem fine on the outside.

Here are four examples of service of process data your litigation support service provider should be sharing with you to make sure your service of process spending aligns with the value it receives:

  • Service level distribution: Sharable data in this report tracks process serving orders by service level. This allows you to analyze the service you’re buying and make sure it’s the service you actually need.
  • Orders by type: This data report shows exactly where the greatest volume of a law firm’s work lies. Review the data and then decide whether to make adjustments to your firm’s resources or reset client expectations.
  • Service of process orders by pricing zone: Use this data to determine what’s being spent on costly deliveries to remote areas compared to less expensive urban areas.
  • Service of process performance: Law firms may use their success rate with documents served and proofs of service to help sell the firm. The numbers provide a solid backup to performance claims.

Rapid Legal delivers unrivaled process serving for law firms and legal departments
Rapid Legal delivers unrivaled process serving for law firms and legal departments

It’s All Within Reach

Don’t let the reality of a fully streamlined document workflow slip away. Rapid Legal’s integrated platform can seamlessly connect your document management system with leading industry software to save valuable time.

It’s all within reach: upload and download documents directly from your preferred systems, effortlessly manage billing data, and gain real-time insights into your case costs—without missing a beat.

Don’t let inefficiencies hold you back. Take the first step towards a fully streamlined workflow with Rapid Legal; book a demo or schedule a call today to learn more.


Law Firms: Which Size is Right for You?

Small, Medium, and Large Law Firms: Which Size is Right for You?

Law Firms: Which Size is Right for You?

Jobs are like relationships. Everyone wonders about the choices other people make.

If you’re feeling like the law firm you’ve chosen is too big, too small, or too in-between, maybe it’s time to ask whether a different size law firm would be a better fit. After all, you’ll spend about 90,000 hours (about 10 and a half years) at work over a lifetime, so devoting 6 minutes now to making sure you’re working in an ideal environment is a good investment.

To help you understand the common differences among law firm sizes, this article maps out the pros and cons of large, midsize, and small firms that will help you zero in on an environment where you can thrive.

Law Firms: Which Size is Right for You? About the Size of It

About the Size of It

Your gut will usually tell you if something’s not right. Whether you’re feeling limited, lost, overwhelmed, or uncertain, there may be something about your current job telling you it’s time to change venues.

That’s not necessarily bad news, considering that recent statistics suggest your decision to work in the legal industry already is a good choice:

Law Firms: About the Size of It

These numbers show that, regardless of your role in the law office, your career success prospects look bright in the years ahead; making this a good time to channel your inner Goldilocks and find a law firm that feels like the right size for you.

So, what’ll it be: small, medium, or large?

Law Firms: Which Size is Right for You? Go Big or Go Home

The Big Deal About BigLaw

If you want to work on the world stage and reach the salary range’s top percentile, big law firms—aka BigLaw—are where you want to be. However, big rewards come with big demands. So, before you decide BigLaw is the place for you, make sure you understand what’s underneath the hood at big law firms.

The nation’s largest and most prestigious firms typically are characterized by having multiple offices spread across the globe with thousands of employees. A good example of a big law firm is Los Angeles-founded Latham & Watkins LLP, which operates in 14 countries and employs more than 3,500 lawyers.

Big firms outshine small firms in the same way Disneyland outshines a county fair. They have more space, more money, more attractions, and tend to be a destination rather than a stopover.

Legal professionals who join a big firm can expect to find extensive resources, a deep bench of talent, and name recognition. Big firms also attract marquee performers and provide sophisticated services smaller firms cannot.

Then there are the perks.

Beyond the upmarket furniture and high-rise views common to BigLaw offices, the advantages of working at a big firm go deep. They include:

  • Top incomes
  • Excellent training for young attorneys
  • Challenging practice opportunities
  • Smart, capable colleagues and mentors
  • Industry prestige
  • High-value networking and connections

On paper, big firms look like the stuff of dream jobs, but there are tradeoffs for working at the high end of the profession, such as:

  • Long hours
  • High pressure, competitive culture
  • Strict dress code
  • High billable quotas
  • Limited client contact (for associate and junior roles)
  • Challenging work-life balance

Another yellow flag at some big firms is a reporting structure that can be confusing. Whether you’re an associate attorney, legal assistant, or paralegal, you may find yourself working for multiple partners who rarely talk to each other. Nonetheless, they all are your bosses, which can breed confusion and frustration.

There is also intense pressure to give clients exactly what they want. The continuous demands of such exacting work can make it difficult for you to relax, even during time outside the office, making a work-life balance hard to achieve.

And don’t think that because a firm has its name emblazoned on the side of a skyscraper that every corner of the practice is a rainmaker.

In reality, large law firms that try to be everything to every client may have unproductive practice groups. The greatest expense for a law firm is salaries for lawyers and staff, so teams that have poor productivity drain away profitability and negatively affect the bottom line.

Law Firms: Which Size is Right for You? Go Big or Go Home

Go Big or Go Home?

Let’s say your career coaches and recruiters are hounding you to move into BigLaw. Should you listen to them?

It depends.

High-end casework constitutes the bulk of what large firms handle. So, if you prefer to work on high-profile, complex litigation and transactional legal work—or if celebrity clients and behemoth merger and acquisition matters are your thing—a big firm should be a good fit.

One more thing to tip the scales in favor of a big firm: Working in BigLaw looks good on a resume and can make you the most interesting person at a cocktail party.

Law Firms: Which Size is Right for You? Meet You in the Middle

Meet You in the Middle

Did we mention that big law firms are laying off employees due to overstaffing from the pandemic? Let that sink in before you set your heart on being part of the Am Law 100.

Some of the most active firms hiring today are midsize law firms, which can be categorized as firms with an average range of 16 to 350 attorneys on staff.

The “best of both worlds” qualities that characterize midsize law firms breed a good mix of clients, which can be attractive to some legal professionals. Midsize firms have the horsepower to take on larger clients that include large corporations from sectors such as real estate, litigation, finance, banking, and labor.

If matters in those areas appeal to you, a midsize firm is right up your alley.

Associate attorneys are winners at midsize firms, too, because they’re likely to have greater opportunity to work directly with clients than at a big law firm.

Law Firms: Which Size is Right for You? What about the money

What about the money?

Midsize law firms fall short of the robust compensation for which big law firms are known. Overall, however, midsize firms offer better salaries than job seekers can expect at small law firms.

For example, a first-year attorney at the midsize Los Angeles-headquartered firm, Irell & Manella LLP, can expect to earn a $215,000 base salary.

Midsize firms may not grab a lot of headlines but that doesn’t keep them from being highly successful. In fact, Irell & Manella LLP has quietly secured verdicts and judgments worth more than $3.2 billion, including what is reportedly the largest patent judgement in history.

Midsize firms are on the move in the legal landscape and have led market growth for several successive quarters. A recent report shows midsize firms grew 2.8% in 2023 compared to Am Law 100, which saw its demand contract 0.6%.

That’s a figure that would be appealing to any career coach, and one that a job seeker who is seriously considering a midsize law firm should keep in mind.

Law Firms: Which Size is Right for You? Culture Club

Culture Club

The culture of midsize firms may be especially appealing because they tend to have less red tape than big firms, making them more agile. Legal professionals who work at midsize firms are also likely to have greater visibility to partners and colleagues compared to a big firm.

Other factors that contribute to the broad cultural and professional advantages at midsize firms include:

  • Opportunity to become a skilled generalist
  • Trial exposure
  • Billable hour expectations that generally are more manageable than at large firms
  • Clients may receive more attention from partners than associates
  • Lawyers are more likely to know clients personally
  • An hourly price advantage over large firms

But midsize firms have their drawbacks, one of which is a lack of resources that big firms typically possess. Likewise, midsize firms probably will not have the focus that is common among small firms.

So, who is a good fit for the midsize law firm?

If you want to do a little bit of everything among a wide variety of specialties, a midsize firm can offer a good way to build those skills. This can be a particularly good move during the first several years of a career, assuming the firm has good mentors.

Law Firms: Which Size is Right for You? Small Teams Can Do Big Things

Small Teams Can Do Big Things

If big firms and midsize firms still sound like too much for you, maybe it’s time to think small.

Practices that have 15 or fewer attorneys may be categorized as small law firms—or sometimes referred to as “boutique” firms. They often work in specialty areas or deal with complex subjects such as tax code or immigration law.

Boutique firms oftentimes are distinguished by offering a best-in-class specialized service or are staffed by legal professionals who speak niche languages. Additionally, small firms are often where lawyers find their first jobs.

There’s no shortage of benefits to working at a small law firm. Legal professionals across the board may be drawn to small firms because of:

Because of their size, smaller firms also tend to have less in-house competition than big firms, which opens a door for legal professionals to be involved with more of the cases they want.

But what about salaries and long-term employment outlook?

Law Firms: Which Size is Right for You? Salary and Security

Salary and Security

The salaries small firms offer will almost always be lower compared to salaries big firms pay, so there’s no surprise there. But if you’re exploring a future at a small firm, chances are that money isn’t your chief concern. What deserves closer scrutiny is job security.

Competitive threats from Internet-based legal services have shaken the legal industry and may be a problem for small firms. Likewise, artificial intelligence increasingly is infringing on tasks such as document review, legal research, and drafting contracts, which may make some legal professionals nervous.

Another Achilles heel for small firms is a tendency to have a short list of clients that generate the greatest amount of revenue. Losing only one or two of those clients could dramatically change the firm’s financial footing, so if you’re considering a small firm, it’s wise to find one with stable, long-term clients.

The work dynamics at small firms may also be problematic for some legal professionals, since the job tasks for legal assistants and paralegals may become blurred at smaller practices.

For example, at a small firm, a paralegal could be attached to administrative work that normally would be managed by a legal assistant in a midsize firm or BigLaw firm. This could be frustrating for the paralegal, especially if she or he enjoys focusing on doing more substantive legal work.

Downsize for the Right Size

If your career sweet spot is a client-centric role with a firm that is typically more agile and focused, a small law firm may be the place to call home.

That’s especially good news if you’re located in California, where 42% of law firms have between two and 10 attorneys. This large concentration of small law firms makes the Golden State an ideal place to find the perfect small law firm that fits you.

Rapid Legal delivers unrivaled process serving for law firms and legal departments
Rapid Legal delivers unrivaled process serving for law firms and legal departments

Fit for Life

Whether you long to be surrounded by the lore and mythology of BigLaw, or you want to be part of a specialized team that drives the boutique services of a small law firm, the best way to find your fit is to look for a firm that aligns with your career objectives and personal values.

You’ll know the right size firm when you feel it. It may not be the final destination for your career, but it very well may be what makes the journey enjoyable.


Optimizing Your Solo Practice

Optimizing Your Solo Practice: Essential Legal Tech Tools and Solutions

Optimizing Your Solo Practice

As a solo practitioner, navigating the world of legal technology can be overwhelming. It’s like searching for a new show on Netflix, except the stakes are higher. Finding the right software for your firm requires sifting through countless online reviews and sponsored endorsements. To save you time and effort, we have compiled a comprehensive guide to the key software applications that solo practitioners should consider when optimizing their legal tech stack.

Table of Contents

What Is a Legal Tech Stack?

What Is a Legal Tech Stack?

A legal tech stack is a combination of tools, applications, and services used to develop software. However, the terminology is commonly used in business and legal arenas to refer to the technology tools and solutions in which businesses, in this case, law offices, use to run their practice. Law practices will oftentimes “stack” multiple solutions on top of each other to make a comprehensive technology suite that covers their needs.

It’s important to acknowledge that there are other alternatives for software on the market outside of the applications we’ve listed. The applications we chose are all known for their quality, price, value, scope of features, and ease of use; however, you should always consider the specific needs of your practice before shopping for legal technology.

Document Creation & Email

Every solo practitioner understands the need for email and document creation for their law practice.

Google and Microsoft are famous for their email features such as spam filters, advanced search functions, and meeting scheduling abilities. Equally as important, they supply the tools needed to create documents, presentations, and spreadsheets.

For communication capabilities, they offer great scheduling functionalities to organize calendaring and strong instant messaging and video conference features for remote work and collaboration.

Google Workspace and Microsoft Office also integrate with virtually all major legal practice management and enterprise software on the market, supplying much-needed flexibility when building out your legal tech stack.

Google Workspace

Pros:

  • Easy-to-use platform that combines email and document creation in one location
  • Cloud-based collaboration features perfect for remote workers and hybrid workers
  • Strong security and encryption features, including for email, protecting data
  • Plenty of cloud storage, starting at 30 GB, that can be upgraded anytime to unlimited storage

Cons:

  • Relies heavily on having an internet connection, which can cause problems when the inevitable outage happens
  • Document creation features such as templates and formatting are more limited in scope than Microsoft

Microsoft Office

Pros:

  • Integrates with all major practice management and enterprise systems
  • Immense scope of features in its document creation applications enabling more technical formatting
  • Security features such as data loss prevention, threat intelligence, and multifactor authentication offering robust protection against data leaks and cyber attacks

Cons:

  • Limited collaboration capabilities on SharePoint may require a third-party user to download more software like Office Online to receive basic collaboration functions

Honorable Mentions:

  • OpenOffice
  • OfficeSuite
  • LibreOffice

Document Management Software

Where there are lawyers, there are documents. Mountains of them. Document management systems (DMS) are a godsend to the legal profession. Think of a DMS as a digitized librarian for your firm. They centralize your documents, organize them, and track different versions of the same document for easy access and collaboration. These systems can save you and your staff precious hours rather than sorting documents manually.

When considering a DMS, look for strong search functions to streamline document retrieval, allow for integrations to practice management software and your email, and have strong backup and recovery functionality for information security.

NetDocuments

Pros:

  • Intuitive, centralized repository makes searching for your documents easy and efficient with features such as full text search, document versioning, and folder organization
  • Great mobile accessibility allowing you to work remotely without sacrificing any of the program’s features
  • HIPPA and SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) certified which supplies an elevated level of security for sensitive and confidential documents
  • Provides a customizable home screen that populates your portal with the most-used content for quick and easy access

Cons:

  • Does not support Mac OS, which presents a problem for solos who don’t use PC operating systems
  • NetDocuments will not help you migrate your data when you integrate with its platform. A third-party service provides that support which can be tedious and lead to improperly synced data

Gavel

Pros:

  • Useful client-facing features such as a questionnaire generator that can retrieve helpful information
  • Powerful automation engine empowers you to create templates in minutes including court forms
  • Designed for solo practitioners and small firms as it requires simple coding to turn complex contracts into simple questionnaires

Cons:

  • While it’s great for solos and small firms, Gavel is not ideal for firms wanting to scale up in size as it lacks features such as document classification, full text search, and version control
  • Expensive for solos or small firms with limited resources

Honorable Mentions:

  • iManage
  • Legal Files
  • Law Yaw

Rapid Legal provides user data and reports that enable you to analyze productivity, spend, and value
Rapid Legal provides user data and reports that enable you to analyze productivity, spend, and value

Practice Management Software

Think of practice management software as the nervous system of your law firm. Good practice management software should centralize all important administrative components of running a firm in one easy-to-use platform, from case and document management to client intake and billing.

Your practice management software should have an easy-to-use interface with strong calendaring and task management features as well as Application Programming Interfaces (API) available. Software with open APIs allows you to integrate third-party applications to enhance its capabilities. Lastly, make sure your software supports mobile accessibility so you can practice law effectively on the go.

Approach buying practice management software like you would buying a mattress: don’t be cheap. Great practice management software streamlines the administrative process and helps your firm run like a well-oiled justice-delivering machine. Here are three of the best-performing practice management software on the market:

Clio

Pros:

  • Full suite of practice management features to run virtually all aspects of your firm, from billing, client intake, and managing matters to document automation, scheduling, and even managing emails. Clio even offers a CRM (Client Relationship Management), Clio Grow, as an added service
  • Open API integrates with all major litigation and administrative solutions and allows you to customize their legal tech stack
  • Stellar customer service will answer your calls and supply thoughtful support when you need it
  • Share documents with clients through the Clio portal to enhance collaboration and communication

Cons:

  • Its accounting functionalities, specifically its reporting and billing approval functions are limited, but that can be remedied by integrating it with an accounting software
  • There are occasional bugs with its system, but they usually resolve themselves after a system update

PracticePanther

Pros:

  • User-friendly interface with excellent project management features that allow you to automate tasks
  • Easy setup with limited training needed to master the software means you can easily adopt this software instead of spending hours learning how to use it
  • PracticePanther Can be used remotely and offers a mobile app that empowers you to manage your practice on the go
  • Open API allows for a bevy of integrations with prominent applications. Equally important, this will compensate for any technical shortcomings PracticePanther may have

Cons:

  • Much like Clio, PracticePanther has limited accounting and billing capabilities, specifically its ability to report revenue
  • PracticePanther does not offer in-person support, which may frustrate users who wish to talk to a person over the phone

MyCase

Pros:

  • Secure client portal allows for easy collaboration between you and your clients
  • Comprehensive suite of functions such as advanced time tracking, case management, scheduling, and document management simplify running your firm from one centralized software
  • MyCase offers mobile access which lets you manage your practice remotely

Cons:

  • Limited API means you will most likely need to hop across a few different applications to use them rather than working from a centralized portal
  • MyCase is great for solos but lacks the customizability that mid to large firms need, so it isn’t ideal for scaling up your practice

Honorable Mentions:

  • CosmoLex
  • Rocket Matter
  • Smokeball

Accounting & Billing

Accounting & Billing

Just like any other business, a law firm needs airtight billing and accounting. When it comes to accounting and billing software for small to mid-sized businesses, the standard bearer is QuickBooks. The software is easy to use and covers all major billing needs, such as creating invoices and tracking billing and expenses.

While most major practice management software has basic billing and timekeeping capabilities, dedicated accounting and billing software will provide your firm with a fuller scope of financial services.

QuickBooks

Pros:

  • Industry leader in accounting and billing
  • Wide breadth of functionality to cover all your financial needs such as payroll, accounts payable & receivable, invoicing, and credit card processing
  • Integrates with most of the prominent practice management software due to its popularity
  • Tailored to small businesses/practices

Cons:

  • QuickBooks Online is the cloud-based version of the software, which lacks some of the more sophisticated tools of its desktop counterpart, QuickBooks Professional
  • QuickBooks Professional doesn’t have mobile accessibility

Xero

Pros:

  • Open API that allows it to integrate with many prominent software applications such as Microsoft Office and Clio
  • Cloud-based infrastructure allows for mobile access
  • Tailored for small to mid-sized businesses/law firms with self-professed stellar customer support

Cons:

  • There is a learning curve to use this software easily, despite it being easy to migrate and install
  • While it offers immense value to your firm, at $40 a month it is not cheap. More advanced features also add up quickly

TimeSolv

Pros:

  • Designed specifically for law firms and boasts a user-friendly portal with plenty of useful functions
  • Tracking and billing management is a breeze, and the program offers accounts receivable & payable features, budgeting and forecasting capabilities, plus more
  • More robust suite of billing and capabilities, including built-in reporting, than practice management software

Cons:

  • Its limited API does not integrate with practice management software
  • It lacks advanced reporting capabilities

Honorable Mentions:

  • ZipBooks
  • Zoho Books
  • Accounting Girl

Ancillary Applications

Ancillary Applications

You’ve eaten your vegetables and now it’s time for dessert. While the above software is essential for running your practice in the digital age, there is a litany of accessory programs you can implement to take your efficiency to the next level.

Data Security and Backup

Did you know that small law firms are more susceptible to cyberattacks than large law firms? IT services may be expensive, but strong cybersecurity can make or break a law firm, no matter the size. An effective cloud backup can prevent you from losing all your data if your hardware fails while a Virtual Private Network (VPN) encrypts your internet connection to protect you from cyberattacks and hackers.

While many of the listed software have great security, using a third-party service to store and backup your confidential and important files is always a good idea. VPNs (Virtual Private Network) are especially important since many of these systems are cloud-based, which raises the likelihood of data leaks and hacks. A VPN will route your internet connection through a secure, private connection that hides your practice’s IP (Intellectual Property) (Intellectual Property) address from nosey data trolls and hackers.

Cloud Backups

CrashPlan for Small Business

Pros:

  • Continuous data protection backs up your data in the background, so you never have to worry about manually backing up your data
  • Unlimited storage space allows you to save as many versions of documents as you need, regardless of their size
  • Multifactor authentication support supplies an added level of security, decreasing the likelihood of leaks or hacks
  • Smart file recovery allows you to choose which files/data you’d like to backup and/or recover

Cons:

  • CrashPlan has been known to reduce internet speeds noticeably, so you will need fast internet to mitigate this issue

IDrive Business

Pros:

  • Backup unlimited devices for your practice, including smartphones, tablets, and even external hard drives
  • Allows you to save up to 30 versions of files, which is great for keeping track of the development of a document
  • You can manage your backups remotely, giving you the flexibility to work remotely
  • You can search and restore lost data rather than having to perform one massive backup and then parsing through old files

Cons:

  • No unlimited storage, however, the base plan supplies up to 500 GB of storage

Honorable Mentions:

  • Acronis Cyber Protect
  • Backblaze Business Backup
  • Carbonite Safe Core Computer Backup

VPNs

NordLayer

Pros:

  • Excellent for home offices and small offices with a small number of end users
  • Wide breadth of features such as user management, remote and hybrid workplace protection, auto-connect, and military-grade AES 256-bit encryption
  • ThreatBlock prevents users from entering dangerous website or opening compromised ads
  • Has servers with dedicated IP addresses which ensures greater data security for the user than standard VPNs

Cons:

  • You can only use NordLayer on six concurrent devices, which can be limiting for practices who wish to scale up in size

Perimeter 81

Pros:

  • Allows for remote access which is great for practitioners with a hybrid office schedule or practitioners who need to work remotely
  • Unlike most VPNs, Perimeter 81 has negligible effects on the speed of your internet while it is running
  • Excellent security features such as audit resource access to detect network abnormalities, bank-level security encryption, and DNS filtering that shields employee data when they connect to new networks
  • Its smallest requirement of 5 to 10 seats is great for practitioners who aim to scale up their practice

Cons:

  • Its benefit of scalability is a pain for practitioners who only have a few devices they need to protect

Honorable Mentions:

  • SurfShark
  • Express VPN
  • Twingate

Legal Research Solutions

Legal Research Solutions

Research maketh lawyers. It’s arguably the top three most crucial skills of a lawyer, no matter the firm size, so a good legal research software is worth its price in spades. Thanks to advances in technology, you no longer must take out a second mortgage to access great research resources. Even better, legal research software streamlines the process so you can spend less time searching for the right sources and more time using them to build your cases.

Great legal research software should have a huge library of sources, secondary sources, intuitive platforms for easy research, and have plenty of features such as AI (Artificial Intelligence) to help find relevant statutes and cases, Boolean search terms, and easy-to-use search functions.

Casetext

Pros:

  • Incredible value and flexible pricing at just $65 per month/user
  • Intuitive portal allows for easy searching and navigation and its AI-based CARA feature finds relevant cases for your search
  • Casetext allows you to annotate the content you’re reading, which is great for building cases and researching
  • Case alerts provide you with added information about legislation or updates on cases you are tracking

Cons:

  • It is only cloud-based so, you will need an internet connection to use this program

Fastcase

Pros:

  • Comprehensive library holding federal and all 50 states’ constitutions, case law, statutes, and codes as well as a database of over 400 million briefs, pleadings, motions, and orders.
  • Its excellent design, easy-to-use dashboard, and AI integration will save you time finding the right resource
  • Open API makes integrating Fastcase into your legal tech stack quick and easy
  • Allows for Unlimited printing, shareable public links, and more to enhance collaboration

Cons:

  • Statute and rule annotations aren’t available in all 50 states yet, so you may have to contact a particular state’s bar association if your state isn’t covered by Fastcase

Honorable Mentions:

  • LexisNexis
  • WestLaw
  • Bloomberg Law

Take Your Practice to New Heights with the Right Legal Technology

Selecting the right technology for your solo practice is crucial for streamlining your processes, enhancing collaboration, and maximizing efficiency. By carefully considering your specific needs and requirements, you can tailor your legal tech stack to fit your practice and clients. With the right tools at your disposal, you can effectively manage your cases, organize your practice, and find the winning edge to succeed, all within a single platform. Explore the possibilities and take your solo practice to new heights with the power of optimized legal tech tools.

If you need assistance in seamless eFiling, eService, and physical filing, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Rapid Legal. Rapid Legal’s easy-to-use portal integrates with major litigation systems such as NetDocuments, Clio, iManage, and more.

We are here to support your journey towards a more efficient and successful practice. Stay connected with us on Facebook and LinkedIn for daily updates, articles, and valuable insights.


Legally Fit: Nourish Your Way to Legal Success

Legally Fit: Nourish Your Way to Legal Success

Legally Fit: Nourish Your Way to Legal Success

As legal professionals, you deal with complicated matters all day so why should your diet be complicated? Perhaps it is all of the advertising we see on TV, hear on the radio, and view online. Cue the infomercial with the fast-talking, ultra-fit TV personality who is hawking the latest health supplement promising to “take four inches off your waist in a month” or the influencer who will “make you your best self”, only to find that influencer testifying before Congress for making false claims the next week.

The beauty of eating healthy is that it is simple. Maddeningly simple. When it comes to nutrition, follow the holy trinity: eat lean proteins and anti-inflammatory foods, eat your big meals early, and snack smart with whole foods.

Lean, Mean, Anti-Inflammatory Machine

Lean, Mean, Anti-Inflammatory Machine

As a busy legal professional with a maelstrom of work awaiting you each morning, you’re going to need a reliable source of energy to sustain you through the day. Avoid refined sugars and processed foods. They may fill you up and provide quick energy, but they will leave you bloated, sluggish, and uncomfortable in a few hours. These foods also cause inflammation, which can lead to health problems down the line.

Lean proteins such as chicken or salmon, healthy unrefined fats like olive oil and nuts, and complex carbohydrates such as oatmeal, ancient grains, and sweet potatoes are guaranteed sources of clean energy to propel you through even the most taxing days. They also promote a healthy gut biome, which is linked to increased mood and decreased stress and anxiety.

To fight inflammation, eat fatty fish like salmon or tuna, nuts, green leafy vegetables, and fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, and cherries. These foods take longer for your body to digest, meaning the energy they provide is more sustained throughout the day. If you are looking for meal ideas that combine these whole foods without dietary restrictions, check out the Mediterranean diet.

Front Load Your Big Meals

Front Load Your Big Meals

Did you know when you eat can be just as important as what you eat? There is a behemoth of scientific evidence that shows eating a big breakfast rather than a big dinner supports healthier cholesterol levels, insulin levels, and overall metabolic rates. You will also have far higher energy levels at the start of your day.

Moreover, eating late disrupts your circadian rhythm, which will negatively impact your sleep cycle. As a general rule of thumb, eat your biggest meals earlier in the day so your body isn’t digesting as much food while you sleep.

To maximize your breakfast, eat within an hour of waking up. Oatmeal with some berries and nuts or an omelet with colorful vegetables will jumpstart your metabolism to conquer the day.

Dinner should be the lightest meal of the day and should be eaten two to three hours before you go to sleep, so your body has time to digest the food. If you feel yourself getting peckish before bed, have a glass of water or a tablespoon of peanut butter.

Snack Smart to Stay Focused

Snack Smart to Stay Focused

Snacks are like document management systems, they’re not required, but boy, do they make life easier. A smart snack is crucial in maintaining your energy and blood sugar levels throughout the day, so choose snacks that provide a balance of macronutrients, essential vitamins, and healthy fats. Here are three recommended snacks with nutritional breakdowns:

Greek Yogurt or Skyr with Berries: Packed with protein, calcium, and cancer-preventing antioxidants. Choose plain Greek yogurt or Skyr, a healthier Icelandic alternative, and add fresh berries and a touch of honey to satisfy your sugar craving.

Sliced Banana with Cottage Cheese: It’s time we give cottage cheese the love it deserves. It’s a satiating, tasty, and protein-rich snack that pairs with a ton of fruit. When coupled with a banana, it delivers vitamins B6, A, and C, fiber, potassium, phosphorous, iron, protein, and healthy carbohydrates.

Veggie Sticks with Hummus: Bright crunchy vegetables like carrots, cucumber, and bell peppers paired with a protein-rich hummus dip are always healthy. Aside from its satisfying crunch, this savory snack is loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein. Pro tip: chickpeas are a great source of fiber and protein, and they’re super affordable.

Rapid Legal provides user data and reports that enable you to analyze productivity, spend, and value
Rapid Legal provides user data and reports that enable you to analyze productivity, spend, and value

Enjoy Your Food But Moderation Is Key

Cheat meal. Reward meal. Whatever you want to call it. It’s okay to eat unhealthy foods occasionally. Life is short, so you should enjoy it. If you never allow yourself to eat that Bolognese from your favorite Italian restaurant or drink that Frappuccino which is basically a glorified milkshake with caffeine, you’ll be miserable. Sometimes we need a glorified milkshake with caffeine!

The whole point of eating healthy is to feel good, but if you take all the joy out of eating because you only allow yourself to eat baby carrots with hummus and a side of ice chips, then you’re missing the point.

Yes, baby carrots with ice chips and hummus is a low-calorie, nutrient-dense snack, but there’s more to life than eating healthy snacks while you file motions at your desk. Food is one of the purest joys in life, and it’s one you should allow yourself to enjoy.

Of course, you should only have junk food in moderation as a treat but give yourself enough grace to treat yourself. Pick a night out in the week and go big. One cheat meal won’t undo a week’s work of healthy choices, so channel your inner Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle and treat yourself.

Eat Your Heart Out

Eat Your Heart Out

The amount of nutritional and wellness information out there can be overwhelming, but focusing on eating lean protein and anti-inflammatory foods, eating your big meals early, and snacking smart will do wonders for your health and energy levels.

Whether you are a paralegal assisting with legal research, a legal administrator managing the office’s operations, or a lawyer preparing for trial, these simple tips can maximize your productivity, improve your longevity, and boost your mood to deliver legal excellence.

Rapid Legal Is Here for Your Law Firm

Nutrition is important to us too so we can deliver exceptional litigation support to you. Your law firm’s time and resources are precious, so let us handle your firm’s eFiling, eService, and court filing needs. Schedule a call or book a demo with a Rapid Legal team member today to learn more about how Rapid Legal can fulfill your law firm’s litigation support needs.


How Legal Professionals Can Overcome Information Overload

Mastering The Deluge: How Legal Professionals Can Overcome Information Overload

How Legal Professionals Can Overcome Information Overload

In the tumultuous waters of today’s fast-paced digital world, legal professionals are caught in a relentless tempest of information. Like intrepid swimmers battling the tides, they navigate through a deluge of emails, memos, court documents, legal research, and case files that threaten to engulf them. It’s a struggle that can quickly transform into an overwhelming surge, leaving them gasping for breath in the face of information overload.

The consequences are profound, with productivity sinking by a staggering 40% and the ability to make informed decisions teetering on the edge. Even more astonishingly, this deluge of data has been known to temporarily dampen the very intellect that legal professionals rely on. But fear not, for amidst the chaos lies a strategic path forward and the right tools to conquer the formidable challenges of information overload.

Armed with a steadfast approach and wielding the arsenal of technology, legal professionals can rise above the turbulent currents and not just survive but thrive in their vital roles. By taming the storm and harnessing the power of knowledge, they can navigate the treacherous waters of their profession with confidence, clarity, and unyielding determination.

Embrace the Power of Organization

Embrace the Power of Organization

The average person is bombarded by the equivalent of 174 newspapers worth of data per day, so organization is critical when fighting information overload. Implementing an effective filing system, whether physical or digital, allows legal professionals to quickly locate and access critical documents.

Categorize information based on relevance, urgency, and priority, employing consistent naming conventions and folder structures. Additionally, leverage technology solutions such as document management systems and case management software to streamline information retrieval and minimize clutter.

Filter and Prioritize

Filter and Prioritize

Not all information is created equal, and learning to filter and prioritize is essential in managing information overload. Utilize email filters to automatically sort messages into folders based on sender, topic, or urgency.

Establish a system of tags or labels to categorize emails and documents, enabling quick identification of important items. By assigning priorities to tasks and documents, legal professionals can focus on the most crucial matters at hand and reduce the risk of missing deadlines or critical details.

Optimize Legal Research

Optimize Legal Research

Research is a fundamental part of a legal professional’s work, but it can also contribute significantly to information overload. To optimize legal research, take advantage of online databases, digital libraries, and research platforms that offer advanced search capabilities.

Familiarize yourself with Boolean operators and advanced search techniques to refine your queries and obtain targeted results. Additionally, consider using research tools that provide citation and research management features, making it easier to organize and retrieve relevant information.

Collaborate and Delegate

Collaborate and Delegate

Legal professionals often work as part of a team, and effective collaboration is crucial in managing information overload. Foster a culture of open communication and knowledge sharing within your firm or legal department. Support is crucial to a healthy work environment.

Leverage collaboration tools and project management software to facilitate seamless information exchange and assign tasks. Delegating responsibilities to trusted colleagues not only lightens the load but also ensures that each team member can contribute their expertise and stay focused on their areas of strength.

Reliable Vendors Are Your Lifeline

Never underestimate the importance of a stalwart litigation support service provider. Companies like Rapid Legal curate their services to meet the specific needs of legal professionals to streamline processes and maximize efficiency.

Our user-friendly platform is integrated with industry-leading management systems such as NetDocuments, iManage, and ECFX, which allows legal professionals to attach their documents for eFiling without leaving the portal. We also offer world-class customer support, court expertise, and expert reviews of eFiling orders to minimize errors and rejections.

Rapid Legal is now integrating with law firm systems to help automate legal processes related to litigation support services.
Rapid Legal is now integrating with law firm systems to help automate legal processes related to litigation support services

Continuous Learning and Professional Development

The legal landscape is ever-evolving, with new laws, regulations, and precedents emerging constantly. By investing in continuous learning and professional development, legal professionals can stay ahead of the curve and mitigate information overload.

Attend relevant seminars, webinars, and conferences, and participate in legal associations or online forums. Engage in ongoing legal education programs to enhance your information literacy and knowledge, enabling you to filter out the noise and focus on the most critical updates.

Practice Mindfulness and Self-Care

Practice Mindfulness and Self-Care

In the quest to overcome information overload, it is crucial not to neglect your well-being. Practice mindfulness techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, or mindfulness exercises to cultivate mental clarity and reduce stress. Make time in your schedule to use meditation apps and practice breathing exercises, both of which are proven to reduce stress and boost productivity.

Take regular breaks and establish healthy work-life boundaries to prevent burnout. Engage in activities outside of work that bring you joy and relaxation, as these rejuvenating moments can enhance your ability to handle information effectively.

Master The Deluge

Overcoming information overload is a constant challenge for legal professionals, but by implementing effective strategies and utilizing appropriate tools, it is possible to navigate this digital deluge successfully. This will improve the quality of work, increase confidence, and noticeably increase productivity.

By embracing organization, filtering and prioritizing, optimizing legal research, fostering collaboration, pursuing continuous learning, and prioritizing self-care, legal professionals can reclaim control over information overload and enhance their productivity and decision-making abilities. Remember, taming the information beast is not about consuming more information, but rather about leveraging the right information at the right time.

Rapid Legal Is Here to Help Legal Professionals

Legal professionals need all the support they can get, and Rapid Legal is here to help. Schedule a call or book a demo with a Rapid Legal team member today. Rapid Legal can also help your law firm with all its eFiling, court filing, and process serving needs.


Best Time to Innovate

Don't Let a Crisis Go to Waste – Why Now is the Best Time to Innovate

Best Time to Innovate

An unseen enemy, COVID-19, has turned businesses big and small upside down. Most are simply trying to survive, making this crisis the perfect time to prioritize innovation and propel your organization’s position in the marketplace. Read on to find out why innovation is so critical during a time of crisis and how you can get started.

 

We’re all familiar with the story. A young Isaac Newton was sitting beneath an apple tree, when suddenly – bonk! – an apple hits him on the head. “Aha!” he shouts, and in a flash, he discovers that the very same force that brought the apple crashing toward the ground also keeps the moon from falling toward the Earth and the Earth from falling toward the sun.

 

Some of the greatest innovations of all time were discovered and developed during times of crisis. When the Great Plague of London ravaged through the British city beginning in 1665, Isaac Newton was just a student at Trinity College in Cambridge. Isolated in quarantine, the philosopher engaged in groundbreaking discoveries, including that of gravity, and the rest is history.

 

In more modern times, World War I sparked a number of remarkable innovations. Although the zipper was first conceived during the 19th century, the technology wasn’t fine-tuned or widely adopted until the global conflict when it was used for flight jackets and money belts worn by U.S. sailors, who lacked pockets in their uniforms. Born out of necessity during a dark time in history, we now have one of the best and most useful inventions.

 

“Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void, but out of chaos.” – Mary Shelley, English novelist

 

It is in times of crises that harnessing creativity is most crucial. Ironically, however, business leaders tend to operate oppositely with many rotely implementing a standard survival playbook involving cost and staff reductions. Indeed, such survival tactics might be warranted, but business leaders should not stop there. Instead, they should leverage a crisis as an opportunity to outperform, and outlast, competitors and market conditions.

 

In fact, global management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, discusses this idea in great length in its article, Innovation in a crisis: Why it is more critical than ever. We have summarized and provided direct excerpts from the article with key points for busy business leaders and professionals to save time.

 

What is Limiting Companies from Innovating?

 

McKinsey’s recent survey with business leaders recently found that, during a crisis, many companies are deprioritizing innovation to concentrate on four things:

 

  1. Shoring up their core business.
  2. Pursuing known opportunity spaces.
  3. Conserving cash and minimizing risk.
  4. Waiting until “there is more clarity.”

 

Interestingly though, they also found that 90% of executives believe that the COVID-19 crisis will fundamentally change the way they do business over the next five years. However, only 21% felt they have the expertise, resources, and commitment to face the challenge.

Covid Statistic

New business growth

However, businesses simply cannot become myopic in just focusing on the present and operate as they have in the past. What made a company successful historically may no longer be possible during or after a crisis. Customers may struggle to pay. Channels may have radically shifted to accommodate new needs or workaround new constraints. A stable regulatory context may have changed, potentially creating opportunities that never existed before. The assumptions that supported years of steady, predictable growth may no longer be valid.

 

“Firms are not going to be able to discount their way out of this,” Nicole Auerbach, founding partner of ElevateNext, a firm aligned with law company Elevate Services, said. “The budget cuts and staffing cuts that law departments are facing are going to require them to do the business of law much differently. And that’s going to require innovation.”

 

“Other than maybe the go-to, ‘bet the company’ firms that can sustain themselves the way they’ve always been doing things, those in the industry who don’t innovate are going to suffer tremendously,” Auerbach said.

Rapid Legal delivers unrivaled process serving for law firms and legal departments
Rapid Legal delivers unrivaled process serving for law firms and legal departments

The Big Pivot

During the COVID-19 crisis, there have been many stories of ingenuity and heroic tales of companies shifting their focus to meet urgent consumer needs. One of our favorite stories includes local distilleries using their industry expertise and access to resources to make alcohol-based hand sanitizers during the shortage. In another example, clothing stores like The Children’s Place quickly shuttered many of their brick-and-mortar stores throughout the country to save expenses from rent and other overhead and switched to an online-only business. This rang as welcome news for parents stuck at home with kids and other consumers not desiring to shop in a traditional mall in the immediate future. Wholesalers that traditionally sold food and supplies to restaurants found themselves directly selling to consumers for the first time. In similar fashion, some dance and performing arts studios invested in technology and transitioned all their classes online via Zoom. This enabled the studios open their doors to many more students, not just locally, but all across the globe.

 

Companies that were able to pivot and act quickly are finding new business opportunities that they would have never dreamed of before. To do this, especially in a time of crisis, more urgent actions to take include:

 

  • Adapting the core to meet shifting customer needs.
  • Identifying and quickly addressing new opportunity areas being created by the changing landscape.
  • Reevaluating the innovation initiative portfolio and ensuring resources are allocated appropriately.
  • Building the foundation for post-crisis growth in order to remain competitive in the recovery period.

Moreover, research has shown that companies that invest in innovation outperformed their peers not only through-crisis but also outperformed the market by 30% in post-crisis years as well.

Companies outperform
Simply put, crisis or not, the ability to develop, deliver, and scale new products, services, processes, and business models rapidly is a muscle that virtually every organization needs to strengthen.

 

Critical Practices That Have the Greatest Impact on Innovation

 

In earlier research, McKinsey introduced the Eight Essentials of Innovation — the critical practices that have the most significant impact on innovation success. They subsequently found that mastering the Eight Essentials leads to significantly higher performance, with organizations that excel at most of these practices delivering 2.4 times higher economic profit. Mastering these innovation essentials is even more critical now, as companies prepare to return to growth coming out of the crisis.

 

Here is a quick overview of all Eight Essentials:

Eight Essentials for Innovation
The immediate challenge is motivating teams to bring intense focus, speed, and agility to delivering new sources of value. Crises are like adrenaline for innovation, causing barriers that once took years to overcome to evaporate in a matter of days. Entrenched orthodoxies on “the way things are done” are replaced with “the new way we do things” almost overnight.

 

To emerge as leaders from this crisis, companies can rely on the Eight Essentials of Innovation as a formula and a road map for success. While all of the Eight Essentials matter and it’s worthwhile to understand them a whole, research has shown that in times of broad economic stability, two of them — Aspire and Choose — are most important for generating immediate outsized impact. In times of crisis, however, other essentials take on greater significance, suggesting a different order of action. McKinsey’s research recommends prioritizing: Discover, Evolve, and Choose. These three will guide an organization in reorienting its focus, as needed.

 

Testing for Innovation – Is Your Organization Innovating?

Discover innovation

After you have focused on these three essentials, leaders then can address Aspire to reset their guiding “North Star.” Then in later phases, Accelerate and Scale to invest at the right levels and speed given potential changes in end markets, Extend to develop new types of ecosystems, and finally Mobilize to put in place the appropriate talent and incentives to activate the innovation plans.

 

Hopefully, by narrowing this focus, this gives you enough inspiration to get your organization started on your innovation journey. Stay tuned for Part Two of our Innovation blog series, a practical How-To guide – with step-by-step, actionable processes and tips – on how you can achieve your innovation goals.

 

Are you feeling inspired? What breakthroughs and “Aha!” opportunities will you and your team seize during this transformative period?