S051203An attorney charging $250 an hour will bill nearly $47,000 more this year, on average, by using an integrated technology solution across all functions – from practice management to research to billing – than if they use standalone platforms for each.

These are results of three Blue Hill Research studies that analyzed more than 350 small law firms specializing in litigation, general practice, and business law. The studies compared firms that use technology with those that have taken adoption a step further by using integrated solution suites.  Firms that do so achieve an average of 13% more billable hours than firms that use disparate solutions.

Why is this? Many legal technologies claim “integration” in the form of hyperlinks to other programs or file-sends that involve packaging data into a text file, sending it to a different program, and uploading it into the other tool.  These disparate systems are often cobbled together with multiple software providers. Each requires their own login, and they don’t effortlessly share data so work is constantly duplicated.

Truly integrated technology involves working in multiple software tools or online programs from one single screen, with direct access from one to another without interruption.  When integrated applications for practice management, drafting, legal research, time and billing, and other legal office tasks talk to one another, the legal workflow is more efficient.  Attorneys can produce quality work faster as a result.  Read on to find out how integrated technology impacts litigation, general practice and business law firms.

Litigators improve quality, efficiency

Integrated solution suites make it easier for litigators to avoid duplicating effort, do research, and drive efficiencies. Firms using this integrated technology:

  • Gain 12% more very satisfied clients
  • Meet 13% more deadlines
  • Attain 14% more billable hours

Why is this? Simply, attorneys do work faster, leaving more time for nurturing clients and improving their results. Specifically it takes:

  • 12% less time for case analysis
  • 17% less time for legal research
  • 12% less time to draft documents
  • 14% less time to review and format documents

Finally, these law firms pay 6% less for IT support because they only have to take care of one technology solution instead of many.

General practitioners win 71% more referrals

With efficiencies gained from an integrated technology solution, including a practice management platform, legal research platform, legal calendar software, legal billing software and an automated drafting tool, general practitioners achieve a 12% higher client satisfaction. This has resulted in:

  • 71% increase in client referrals
  • 9% more billings annually

That’s because lawyers at firms with integrated solutions use technology more often in their workflow:

  • 44% more often for invoicing and collections
  • 82% more often for matter management
  • 130% more often for early case assessment and planning
  • 360% more often for case analysis

With integrated solutions, there’s no moving between platforms or manually transferring data from one solution to the next. As a result, these firms improve overall efficiency, are more prepared to manage growing volumes of case documents, and can better meet client expectations.

Business lawyers win more repeat business and new clients

Like general practitioners, business lawyers are much more likely to use technology when it’s integrated:

  • 50% more often to find and use forms
  • 46% more often to engage with clients
  • 42% more often to create and draft documents
  • 42% more often to invoice

This increased adoption results in more time for client development and better outcomes, which culminates in more very satisfied clients and 17% more billings.

How can integrated legal technology help you?

While it may be challenging to relinquish the status quo, standalone workflow technology solutions have huge opportunity costs. When you avoid exploring an integrated software solution, you’re missing out on higher client satisfaction, more referrals, and an increase in billable hours.

“The three technology pieces you need in a small law firm are billing software, legal research software and practice management software.  Fortunately, I was able to get all three of those in one package with Thomson Reuters and Firm Central.  And, the great thing about it is they all work together, seamlessly.” – Steve Little owner of SRL Law in Minneapolis, MN

Download this Matter Management Checklist to see how integrated technology from Thomson Reuters can help you streamline your matter management and legal workflow.

You can access the Blue Hill Research reports here for more information on the studies.