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A STRONGER FOCUS ON DATA IS IMPERATIVE FOR A DIGITAL BUSINESS

Law Image survey unveils key data management goals for law firms 

Digital transformation is a top priority for all businesses. It involves utilising data to create business insights that enhance the organisations’ capabilities while creating better engagement with customers. In today’s pandemic situation, a digitally enabled business is the only way a business can thrive. This is true for law firms too.

Data is at the centre of all digital transformation projects. There are several technologies available in the industry for law firms to leverage the power of the data they hold. In order to optimise the use of these technologies, law firms need to have a stronger focus on managing their data.

Law Image reached out to law firms in Australia through our survey to understand the focus areas for data management for 2020. Here are the results of our survey.

What are the key legal technology goals for 2020?

50% of our respondents view adopting a paper-lite approach by digitising and electronically archiving data as a key goal for their organisation

Historically law firms have been large consumers of paper. This is partly driven by the fact that several court proceedings require documents submitted in hard copy. However, the true potential of data remains untapped while in its physical form. Hence adopting a paper-lite approach helps to replace paper with electronic files which then creates the opportunity to process data for key insights. By electronically archiving data, law firms are also able to better protect and utilise the data they have as and when they need it.

With the new ways of working now in practice, it is all the more important to have physical copies digitised as electronic files that are readily accessible from anywhere, anytime. This will help lawyers quickly evaluate documents, share and collaborate on the same with their peers increasing their efficiency and turnaround time.

40% of the respondents want to utilise technology to better organise data and look at deploying Artificial Intelligence (AI) to identify, analyse and categorise information across the organisation.

AI can help law firms automate repetitive tasks and lawyers can then focus on more strategic work that can drive better value for the organisation.

According to the Law Image survey, the top three areas where AI technology will immediately help law firms are:

  • Conducting due diligence,
  • Reviewing legal documents
  • Organising data

Law Image also asked the industry about their legal technology ask

45% of our respondents want an intelligent open platform that connects all third-party software enabling information flow across document management systems, review platforms and eDiscovery software.

One of the major challenges for law firms is that data is held in silos. By integrating solutions, data can flow across systems helping with unified data analytics.

36% want technology that will enable a quick understanding of what data is held in each department, throughout its life cycle.

Data management is increasingly becoming a shared responsibility across the organisation and technology that can help declutter, organise, and track data across its lifecycle is a need not just for the CTO but at a department head level as well. All functions are looking to leverage key insights from their data to improve operations. There is also increasing awareness of managing this data with risk mitigation plans and meeting compliance requirements. Hence technology that will help simplify this complex task is essentially a need of the hour.

FOCUS ON YOUR CORE BUSINESS AS LAW IMAGE SUPPORTS YOU WITH EXTRA SERVICES

As law firms settle into the new way of working virtually, the main focus is to have billable resources focus on high value opportunities while managing day to day operations.

Law Image can support your legal information management requirements end to end with our extended portfolio of solutions that includes digital mail management, direct mail marketing (mailouts) including support for book builds, and commercial printing services.

These services are in addition to our legal document support solutions covering printing, copying, scanning, legal coding, eDiscovery support, hardcopy and electronic processing. Learn how we are operating business as usual while meticulously following precautions and guidelines from WHO and the federal government here. We are also offering secure delivery to clients’ homes in order to support remote workers.

With our end-to-end support services, law firms can focus on their core strategy while Law Image helps them manage their day-to day operations around legal document management.

Managed mailout service to support book builds and other direct mailer requirements

Our mailout service includes printing, folding, franking the mailouts and posting it to your contact database. Law Image supports your book build activity and can also deliver high volumes of mailouts such as direct mail letters, bulk mail or invoices. Learn more about our managed mailout services.

Commercial printing services

Law Image also helps clients with their commercial printing needs. Leaflets, brochures, signage, business cards, banners, we do it all. Law Image can cater to orders of any size and deliver excellent quality. Learn more about our commercial printing services.

Digital Mail Services

Law Image offers a highly efficient digital mail service. Our trained staff scan all incoming physical letters and deliver them via our secure FTP service. The information can also be intelligently indexed so that clients can easily reference the relevant information. Read more about our digital mail services.

Law Image has more than 20 years of experience meeting legal industry requirements. We are a preferred strategic information management partner to many leading law firms and government departments. With our national presence across Australia, Law Image can meet your local and national project requirements. Reach out to us today!

KEY TRENDS IMPACTING THE LEGAL INDUSTRY IN 2020

Technology has a huge impact on the legal industry. Information management and utilisation has undergone a rapid change with newer technologies that use AI and machine learning. What will this mean for professionals in this space? What are the new skills that will be in demand? What are the new business models that will emerge in 2020? What segment of the market will drive most business? At Law Image, we have researched several online reports and articles and are pleased to present a feature on key trends for the legal industry for 2020. Click here to download

DATA SECURITY IN 2020

Data security is a key focus area and will continue to be so for all businesses especially with the increasing availability, use and reliance on data across all levels in the organisation. As a key influencer of an organisations’ top and bottom line revenues, data security is increasingly becoming a responsibility of all at the CXO level. Here is a look at key data security threats for 2020 as per Forbes.

Negligence / Accidental Loss

Expensive data breaches are more often caused by bad habits in the office that seem trivial. Like leaving a door or a computer unlocked during breaks. While the act may look insignificant, a 2018 report by Shred-it states that than 40% of senior executives and small business owners report that employee negligence or accidental loss was the root cause of their most recent data security breach. Hence an important behavioural change through repeated trainings and awareness is a key action item for all businesses. Data must be viewed as the most important business asset and the need to protect it at all times must be instilled among all in the organisation.

Insider threats

Very often businesses think of malicious outsiders when they consider cyber security risks. However, Verizon’s 2019 Insider Threat Report found that 57% of database breaches include insider threats and the majority, 61%, of those employees are not in leadership positions when they compromise customer data.

Password Hygiene

Continuing to regularly create awareness on best practices on updating passwords is a great way to prevent a possible attack on a company’s IT network. According to a Google survey, 1.5% of all login information on the internet is vulnerable to credential stuffing attacks that use stolen information to inflict further attacks on a company’s IT network. When employees use redundant or easy to guess passwords, that information can be used to access company data even when the networks are secure. Hence routinely changing passwords is a simple but very effective way to mitigate the threat.

Phishing Emails

Microsoft Security reports a massive increase in malicious phishing scams. After scanning more than 470 billion email messages that have been sent and received by customers of its Office 365 platform, the company reports that malicious phishing attacks are on the rise, and not by a small margin — by a massive 250 percent. Equipping employees with tools, education and training to defend against these threats will be critical.

To read the full article, Click Here 

LET’S GET THIS ON RECORD. WHAT’S THE BEST LEGAL DATA UTILISATION MODEL?

 

Data management and utilisation are key areas of focus for the legal industry. Not just because of the confidentiality of matters, but also because of the shelf life of data. The very nature of trial/cases requires information to be available for longer periods should there be a retrial or appeal.

So what is the best legal data utilisation model given that optimising costs is also a growing consideration for law firms? Information management and utilisation is not cheap and firms may be spending more on storing their data year on year than on maximising data utilisation.

Law firms typically have many boxes of paper-based data. Information custodians may not be aware of the content in these boxes since they were not categorised according to a data management model. With resource crunch and shorter turnaround times, law firms may not have the time to examine this data in detail. However they have data retention obligations. Over a period of time physical documents can stack up to occupy considerable space in an office, and there is a cost to this space.

So let’s put the spotlight back on solutions for legal data management and utilisation. While digitisation and e-archiving has been available for some time now, there has been a lack of adoption in the industry. This could be because:

  • The sheer volume of data we are dealing with daily is too huge to comprehend. With resources focussed on core matters, data management often takes a back       seat
  • Success of a data utilisation strategy depends entirely on understanding the information and processing it in such a manner that it can be easily retrieved,             analysed and acted on. With the volume of data and lack of mature information management models, the task of analysing data is seen as too time-consuming.

Several law firms today choose an alternate option which is to process data the way it is. Scan, digitise and store. In such cases the true value of the data diminishes as it continues to be only as valuable as the hard copy. Data’s value is when it can be analysed to provide key actionable insights to lawyers.

Subjecting all data to digitisation and archiving can only increase the cost of data storage year on year as it is more expensive to process everything compared to just selecting high-value documents. This is especially true when combined with the additional cost of data retrieval as when needed plus the additional processing that will be required.

This is where a legal document management partner with a records management life-cycle model can add considerable value. A strategic legal document management partner can help law firms reduce their year on year records management cost while optimising the value of data. They do this by identifying the contents in boxes, categorising and analysing what needs to be processed. This helps segregate content into what can be archived as is and what needs to be processed before archiving so that the content is retrievable and readily available for use.

To understand data management as a fully managed service, connect with Law Image at info@lawimage.com.au.

SERVICE AUTOMATION FOR START-UP LAW FIRMS TO STAY LEAN

 

Starting a business is a huge decision and has many risks. One among those risks is to ensure cash flow / liquidity for your business. A major expense for many start-ups is the resource pool required. This expense can be minimized with the strategic use of automation and strategic sourcing. 

Understanding when to hire in-house and what functions to keep outsourced can help start-ups manage their labour pool and expenses well. 

Especially for start-up legal firms, every minute has to be billable. Yet according to Thomson Reuters, 40% of small firms’ potentially billable time is spent on administrative, non-billable tasks. This may be because of the need to keep support staff to a minimum to save on resource costs. But every minute of a lawyer’s time has an opportunity cost: every minute spent on administrative tasks is every minute of a billable hour lost. 

Administrative tasks are significant for law firms and in particular require many resources to staff the legal document management function. Several successful law firms are today opting to use a strategic partner who delivers service automation, allowing them to keep their resource pool cost low when it comes to non billable functions. This also helps law firms turn their print costs into a hard disbursement enabling full cost recovery. 

Legal document management functions can be completely managed by a strategic partner who can deliver quality, meet deadlines and keep costs low and fully disbursable. Even better, these services can be automated to run out of the law firm’s office. This means the entire legal document management function covering all printing, scanning and digitisation tasks can be managed by the strategic partner who becomes an extended team of the law firm, without any capex required. 

Watch this video on our print room service

About Law Image

Law Image is a specialist information management company. We support law firms and government departments across Australia. Founded in 1999 and headquartered in Melbourne, we have offices in Sydney,  Brisbane and Perth. We are also looking to expand our footprint in Australia based on our clients’ requirements. With a completely on shore, in-house processing business model, Law Image helps leading legal firms and government departments comply with their data sovereignty requirements. Law Image has to date processed millions of documents: printing, hard copy and electronic processing for various projects including support for Royal Commission work.

A HYBRID DATA MANAGEMENT MODEL MAY BE THE ANSWER FOR LAW FIRMS LOOKING TO ACHIEVE DATA SOVEREIGNTY, SECURITY AND COST EFFICIENCY

 

Identifying the right data management model for your organisation is a big decision in today’s digital economy where businesses are looking to maximize the value of data. Such efforts often involve information centralisation in an offshore location with data collection from across countries (where the business has presence in) to draw insights that can result in better efficiencies, greater value and cost savings for clients. 

However when it comes to the legal industry, there are several factors to be considered by law firms looking to have their data shared beyond geographical boundaries. While legal technology service providers can ease the pain of information management, it is important for law firms to design a strategy that defines their data management model. 

According to Mik Sharma, Director, Law Image, “The strategy must examine the nature of data that the firm deals with based on the industries, clientele and markets they serve. It should also examine the statutory requirements for managing their information.” 

Data can be classified as private, confidential and public. Both private and public data can be processed anywhere. This means law firms can have such data offshored in locations that provide a labour cost advantage. Legal technology providers can manage all their data at their offshored centres on cloud and provide quick access and availability to data as required by the law firm.  

When it comes to confidential information, law firms need to exercise diligence in identifying data that is related to government or large public companies. Any information that should not be accessed by another country’s government is deemed to be confidential and hence should meet the data sovereignty requirement. Data sovereignty is the idea that information is subject to only laws and governance structures within the nation it is collected. 

Such confidential information should not be processed or hosted outside the country of origin. A legal technology partner that supports a true onshore data processing strategy can help law firms meet the data sovereignty requirement. Not only is the data processing part important, but equally important is data hosting and management.

“Cloud services offer many major benefits. These need to be carefully considered with the risks associated with data loss,” says Philip Scorgie, Independent Consultant. 

Confidential data after being processed can be hosted on an onshore public or private cloud. In a private cloud set up, while the information is hosted within the data centre of the law firm, the entire data management and back up is also then the responsibility of the law firm. Where as a public cloud offers the required security and the service provider is completely responsible for managing the entire data. 

An important requirement with public cloud hosting is that confidential data should only be hosted with a local solution provider that runs their business locally and hosts all the data within the country.

“With an efficient data management strategy, law firms can choose to deploy an onshore, offshore, nearshore or hybrid data management model,” adds Mik Sharma.

The hybrid model offers cost efficiency that is associated with offshore/near shore model and benefits from confidentiality, security and mostly importantly data sovereignty that comes with a true onshore process. 

Further saving in cost can also be explored with the business continuity plan/framework. With a clear classification of information in the hybrid model, each category of data can have a different recovery time objective and recovery point objective assigned. This will help law firms keep the overall business continuity costs in check. 

Data management as a managed service: Defining the data strategy requires in-depth understanding of how information needs to be identified, classified and then managed. The entire data management model can also be a managed service provided by a legal technology provider where they work closely with the law firm’s in-house IT department to define their data strategy. This will go a long way in helping law firms create an effective, sustainable hybrid data management model giving them peace of mind and cost savings. 

About Law Image
Law Image is a specialist information management company. We support law firms and government departments across Australia. Founded in 1999 and headquartered in Melbourne, we have offices in Sydney and Brisbane. We are also looking to expand our footprint in Australia based on our clients’ requirements. With a completely on shore, in-house processing business model, Law Image helps leading legal firms and government departments comply with their data sovereignty requirements. Law Image has to date processed millions of documents: printing, hard copy and electronic processing for various projects including support for Royal Commission work.