Equipping one’s firm for the ‘new normal’
One outcome of the pandemic that is all but inescapable is that, in the “new normal”, workforces will be more scattered and legal teams will have to adapt to more modern ways of working. In response to such an environment, firms will require systems that not only address evolving challenges, but complement them.
“By Lawyers is a system: Matter plans, Commentaries, Precedents and Reference materials. For users, this means that if the members of the firm are scattered to various remote workplaces, everyone is still on the same page – they can use By Lawyers to ensure consistency and uniformity,” Mr Watts outlined.
“They can access the same retainer instructions, they can all send the same initial letters, they can all refer to the same commentaries to check what to do in a particular situation, they can all search the same reference materials to research a point of law.”
From a supervisory and practice management point of view, he reflected, it becomes very easy to supervise and train junior staff or new starters.
“Practice owners have told us that subscribing to By Lawyers is like having a silent partner to whom junior lawyers and support staff can go for reliable information and guidance on the law and their client matters when the practice owners themselves are unavailable. With people working remotely, that becomes ever more important and valuable,” he posited.
Staying on top of current law, he said, remains one of the biggest challenges at this juncture: “As experienced legal practitioners ourselves, we at By Lawyers know how difficult it can be sifting through all the incoming information about changes to the law and practice. We do the that triage for our subscribers and we update our publications constantly to ensure they are current.”
This, he said, speaks to professional collegiality.
“Not only do we support the profession by keeping our subscribers up to date and letting them know when things change, but we’re always listening to the profession. What do they want? What do they need? How can we improve our publications to make them better? Feedback is essential to us,” he advised.
“We often receive requests asking for a new precedent, or a change to an existing one, or a new guide for an area of law not currently dealt with. That sort of feedback is important to us and it’s actually at the core of how our publications evolve.”
It will be critical, however, for firms to ensure they are making the most of the platform, Mr Maksisi stressed. “The publications are updated regularly, that way you know that the information provided is most relevant. It is also very worthwhile to have a look at the 101 Answers series because it can help address any unusual or complex questions that you might have about a particular practice area,” he said.
“By Lawyers has allowed a number of people at our firm, whether they are familiar with a practice area or not, to update themselves about that practice area and assist other staff members and/or lawyers with queries about that practice area. The way that LEAP has integrated with By Lawyers is fantastic. It allows us to use one program that is integrated and fully adaptable.”
Those who do leverage the offering for all it is worth, Mr Watts advised, will always be able to glean benefit from its ongoing technological innovations.
“By Lawyers are totally committed to continuing to update, enhance and expand our publications. As we grow our focus on doing that, it will only become more intense. There is not much that’s more important for law firms than staying up to date and having great matter management resources,” he concluded.
“Hopefully, our engagement with our subscribers and with the profession generally will continue to be a two-way street as we go forward together.”
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