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Non-Legal Tech Software that Just Makes Sense

By Joshua Moore posted 06-29-2023 16:43

  
Please enjoy this blog posted on behalf of: Josh Moore, Lead Solutions Expert, NetDocuments.

In today's rapidly evolving technological landscape, the legal industry finds itself at the crossroads of tradition and innovation. Law firms, renowned for their adherence to established practices and rigorous standards, are increasingly recognizing the need to embrace technology to enhance their operations, streamline processes, and remain competitive in an ever-changing business environment.
 
While legal technology solutions designed explicitly for the legal profession undoubtedly hold immense value, there exists a vast array of non-legal specific tools that can seamlessly integrate into a law firm's operations, augmenting efficiency, collaboration, and client service. 
 
In our blog post, we will explore four non-legal specific technologies that law firms can leverage to optimize their workflows, improve productivity, and ultimately deliver exceptional value to their clients. 

Workflow Automation
In today's fast-paced legal landscape, technology plays a pivotal role in driving efficiency, reducing costs, and optimizing workflow processes—an entire sub-segment of legal technology exists for this. These legal-specific workflow tools typically fall into two categories: 
1. Dedicated legal workflow technologies such as
Bryter, Tonkean, and Betty Blocks

While legal-specific workflow tools have gained popularity in recent years, it's important to know of existing resources within a firm’s technology ecosystem. Enter Power Automate—an invaluable tool included with Microsoft 365. Power Automate is Microsoft’s low-code/no-code workflow automation tool. It can be a viable replacement for legal-specific workflow tools and empower law firms to streamline operations, increase productivity, and achieve exceptional results.

The Power of Power Automate:
Power Automate connects with different applications and services, helping law firms create complete workflows. It eliminates the need for multiple tools by enabling integrations with legal and business applications. Repetitive tasks, data entry, IT support, and reporting can all be automated in some way. Power Automate doesn't require coding and has a user-friendly interface, allowing teams to customize workflows to fit the needs of the firms. It can also automate key legal processes like contract management and document generation, reducing manual work and improving efficiency. Power Automate offers a compelling workflow automation alternative by leveraging the existing Microsoft 365 infrastructure. 


If you want to learn more, be sure to register for Thursday’s session 2238: Expedite Your Business Process with Power Automate Workshop at ILTACON 2023! 

Dictation
Time is of the essence, and efficient documentation is paramount. Dictation software has long been a valuable tool for legal professionals, offering a faster and more convenient way to create documents. While specialized dictation software like Dragon Legal and BigHand Voice have been popular choices, Microsoft Word's built-in dictation feature presents a compelling alternative. 

A Part of Microsoft Word
One of the significant advantages of Microsoft Word's built-in dictation is its seamless integration within the widely used word processing application. You’ll see the “Dictate” button on the “Home” tab of the ribbon in Word. Select it, start taking, and watch Word dictate what you say. You’ll want to be sure you have a microphone, which could be the default computer microphone or one in your headset such as AirPods or Platronics headphones. 

         Figure 1 Dictate button in Microsoft Word
Microsoft Word's built-in dictation is a helpful feature. It works right within Word, so there's no need for extra software. It's easy to use, accurate, and supports many languages. You can use it on different devices like computers, tablets, and phones, making it convenient for on-the-go dictation. Best of all, it doesn't cost anything extra since it's already included with Microsoft Office. By eliminating the need for additional software, legal professionals can streamline their workflow, saving time and reducing complexity.

Document Comparison
Accurate and efficient document comparison is crucial for ensuring precision, maintaining version control, and minimizing errors. Legal-specific comparison software, such as Litera Compare, has traditionally been relied upon, but firms can now turn to the built-in comparison functionality offered by widely-used software tools like Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat Pro to achieve equivalent results.

Comparison Features in Familiar Applications
Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat Pro have built-in comparison tools that are easy to use. Legal professionals can access them without switching to other software, saving time and effort. These tools can compare various document formats like Word and PDF. 

Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat Pro offer powerful comparison features. In Word, you can access it by clicking the “Review” tab in the ribbon and choosing “Compare”. In Adobe, you can access it by clicking “Compare Files” on the toolbar on the right (if you don’t see it, click the “More Tools” button and choose “Add Shortcut” on the dropdown for the “Compare Files” button). 

Both comparison tools can highlight changes, track edits, and handle formatting differences. The comparison tools support collaboration and sharing with colleagues. Legal professionals can add comments, annotations, and use markup tools to facilitate communication during the review process. No need for extra software or complicated installations. Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat Pro include the comparison functionality at no additional cost. This makes them a cost-effective choice for those who want reliable comparison tools without extra expenses. The built-in comparison functionality of Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat Pro can be a viable alternative to specialized legal-specific comparison software. 

Project Management
Efficient project management is critical in the legal industry, ensuring timely completion of tasks, effective communication, and optimal resource allocation. While legal-specific project management software exists in popular software like Clio and NetDocuments, law firms can now explore versatile alternatives in the form of widely-used tools like Asana and Monday.com. 

Versatile and Customizable
Asana and Monday.com are flexible project management tools that can work well for legal professionals. They have user-friendly interfaces and can be customized to fit specific needs. These tools help with task assignment, progress tracking, deadlines, and collaboration. They can connect with calendars, communication platforms, and document management systems. Asana and Monday.com provide workflow automation for assigning tasks, setting reminders, and sending notifications. This frees up time for legal professionals to focus on important work and client service. Reporting and analytics features that provide visibility into metrics, task completion rates, and resource utilization. This helps law firms make informed decisions and optimize workflows. Asana and Monday.com offer cost-effective options with flexible pricing. Law firms can choose plans that suit their needs and budget without sacrificing functionality. 
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog post are solely those of the author and do not represent the views of the International Legal Technology Association or its affiliates.



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