With a new year comes new resolutions. This should include how to improve your company’s processes for 2019.

The key to keeping your resolutions is to make them specific – the more general the promise, the less likely you are to see it through. For example, saying you want to “lose weight” is less likely to motivate you than “lose three pounds by the end of January.”

So, when it comes to technology for your law firm, the more specific the resolutions, the higher your odds are of succeeding.

Not sure where to start? Here are two ways to approach legal technology resolutions for 2019:

1. Assess

The very first step you should take is to assess your firm’s technology. Use the start of a new year as a time to audit what you have, how well it’s working, and if you need something better. This way you won’t be overwhelmed when looking at what’s out there – you can rather focus on one or two aspects you need to improve (e.g. template management, more efficient printers, etc.).

In addition to the general assessments of your firm’s legal technology, you can evaluate your own personal technology targets. Is there a new skill or advanced use of technology you’d like to learn? Perhaps you’d like to incorporate voice recognition software to improve certain processes.

When doing these assessments, it’s essential to keep in mind the idea of “shiny object” syndrome. Just because there’s a brand-new technology out there that appears to have a lot of sophisticated functions, it might just be all bells and whistles, or something your firm simply doesn’t need.

Ask the important questions now before January really picks up and you find yourself out of time to perform the necessary research.

2. Assign

Once you have assessed your firm’s technology needs, as well as your own, you can start to assign resolutions. Remember to be specific, like in these examples:

  • Better utilize the legal technology you already have
  • Make improvements on how to deliver services to clients through technology
  • Learn about new technology in the legal space
  • Turn off certain technology when focusing on a client’s work

Some resolutions that are most relevant in 2019 are automating standard tasks and routines, and learning more about cyber security and how it affects your clients.

If your firm implements document automation software and a template management system, the time saved from working on those standard tasks will be massive. That time can then be spent on case work, or other “billable” tasks.

Spending more time learning about cyber security and malware threats can only serve your firm well – not only for your own benefit, but that of your clients as well. Having their personal information safely stored with your firm is absolutely vital, and any instances of cyber threats can cause havoc.

Conclusion

The American Bar Association states in their guidelines that a lawyer must “maintain the requisite knowledge and skill … including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology …”

And though many lawyers don’t necessarily see the advancement of legal technology as a high priority, they should definitely change their ways in 2019 or prepare to be left behind.