Law Firm Accountability for Using Technology

 

How Have You Availed Yourself of Today’s Technology?

Who is accountable for the security, management and support of your firm’s data and business process technology? Over 20 State Bar ethics opinions have sent a clear message that you are.

Have you satisfied the requirement by taking reasonable care to protect your firm and your clients’ information?

For example, if a ransomware attack encrypted your network, a database became corrupted or your server simply shut down and wouldn’t restart, what would be your next step?

Taking that question a step further, if, heaven forbid, your office was flooded, razed to its foundation by a tornado, or your server stolen in the dead of night, what is your remediation strategy?

I ask these questions daily and the answers I hear are consistently incomplete and uncertain.

The reality is that most businesses focus their technology solution to support their daily needs with a reactive maintenance mentality.

The “If it isn’t broken, then why fix it?” mindset invites disruption as the signal for action and is costly both in downtime and dollars.

I urge firms to hold themselves accountable by leveraging currently available technology to adopt a proactive strategy that mitigates the risk of disaster, increases productivity, and protects business continuity.

 

Have You Mitigated Unnecessary Risk?

Understanding that technology accountability starts with protecting against hardware failure, data corruption, hacking or natural disasters, the next question to ask yourself is “Am I leveraging technology in the most integrated and effective way?”

If you don’t have a ready answer to that question, then you are not alone, but you are also fortunate to be seeking solutions in a period of rapid innovation.

Avail yourself of a technology partnership with experts in cyber security, practice automation and private cloud computing.

Fully managed and secure Private Cloud environments like Abacus Private Cloud are not only the best platform to reduce IT burdens and protect against lost business opportunities, they are also the best platform to mitigate the risk of harm to your professional reputation that would result from having to announce that your security was breached and your clients’ data was exposed.

Once your business environment is virtualized and you have secure, ubiquitous access to your virtual desktop in your private cloud, then take the next step and utilize technology to grow revenue, reduce costs and maximize efficiency.

 

Can You Collect Payments Instantly?

A meaningful place to start that analysis is to review how you charge for and collect payments for your services.

It’s shocking how many firms continue to rely on paper statements and lose valuable time waiting for checks that must be deposited.

Billing via email or secure client portal and accepting credit cards, e-checks and ACH payments have never been easier to implement.

An electronic payment processing system with full PCI Compliance can be enabled in one day. Abacus Payment Exchange (APX) is an example of the latest generation of integrated payment acceptance systems that you utilize to accept all major credit cards, and other electronic payments through a secure online portal.

Electronic billing and payment systems like APX reduce the turnaround time from sending an invoice and receiving monies due because electronic payments are received nearly instantaneously, including monies that move into trust accounts.

Efficient billing and payment processing that is integrated in your practice management system should be utilized to leverage readily available, quickly implemented, secure and cost effective technology.

 

Do You Have Access to Business Intelligence for Organic Growth?

With the protection of an encrypted private cloud and efficiency gained from electronic payment processing, the next step is to strategize for organic growth.

You can minimize the difficulties inherent in scaling up a business when you leverage technology to standardize workflows, develop business intelligence reports and use the resulting insight to win repeat and referral business.

A business maxim is that the hardest client to gain is a new one. Correspondingly, firm growth is easier attained when integrated Client Relationship Management (CRM) tools provide understanding of the firm’s relationship with its clients and prospects.

Readily available technology like Results CRM, integrates with your current systems to help track, manage and grow your business by giving meaningful reports and metrics that provide insight into your clients’ needs, your firm’s productivity and how you may best serve similarly situated clients in the near future.

Technology is a great equalizer in this context because CRM tools can pull true business intelligence from contact, case and demographic information you already collect.

CRM software enables you to make informed decisions by zooming out from a myopic focus on a client or a case, and then surveying many cases and clients as a whole.

Perspective is powerful because it eliminates reactive decisions based on the latest or loudest bit of information.

Instead, your long view is accurate because technology does the sifting, sorting and aggregation so that you may accurately identify trends based on empirical observations and respond with a well-prepared plan.

 

How Soon is Now?

Whether you’ve implemented some of these advanced technologies, rely on piecemeal or obsolete versions of the same, or have bided your time and not yet adopted them, you are in a position to vastly improve your cyber security, risk mitigation, payment processing and business growth strategy with a single phone call to Abacus Next.

When performing your due diligence, fully vet each vendor’s subject matter expertise, industry longevity, unlimited platform and program support, professional services, engineering, and training teams so that your selected vendor becomes your 24/7/365 technology partner.

Hold yourself accountable for a smooth migration from an on premise dependence on a network with multiple points of failure to an integrated private cloud solution that is managed by a vendor that understands your industry and offers tailored business process management.

Demand an immediate return on your technology investment with tools that give you security and productivity enhancements and a clear eyed view of the financial health of your firm today and its progress towards achieving your goals for long term success.

 

About The Author – Tomas Suros  

Tomas Suros Abacus Data Systems

As Chief Solutions Architect at Abacus Data Systems, Mr. Suros applies his technical, legal and business acumen to achieve workflow automation solutions for clients. He is adept at defining business, technology, financial, security and usability user requirements in the Abacus Private Cloud platform, specific to legal practice areas. Tomas has been working at Abacus for over 11 years.

Mr. Suros earned a B.A. at Tufts University and a J.D. at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. He is a member of the State Bar of California.