By Legal Futures Associate Exizent
The probate industry has notoriously been left behind the curve in relation to adoption of technology. As the UK continues to open back up after a turbulent 18 months, we look at the challenges facing your practice post-pandemic and the effects on your day-to-day tasks, and how modern software helps you improve the client experience.
The COVID crisis had a major impact on the way legal professionals in law firms work with their colleagues, clients and in the courtroom. With the whole of the UK put into lockdown, working-from-home became a fact of business. Legal professionals who often collaborate on cases have had to adapt quickly and find ways to overcome the difficulties of remote teamwork.
However, like it or not, change has happened. Our recent report, The Bereavement Index, highlighted that 88% of legal professionals are frustrated by the probate process, saying it is ‘slow and complicated’ and 75% feel probate could be handled better. Furthermore, better technology or software was identified as one of the top 3 solutions to improve probate efficiently within their firms. Law firms must now not only adopt technologies to work effectively, but adopt specific probate software, such as Exizent, to improve efficiency and working practices both individually and as a team.
Adoption of technology
Several survey-based analyses suggest that COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of technologies. In a survey of UK businesses conducted by the Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Riom & Valero (2020) find that more than 60% of firms had adopted new digital technologies or new management practices since the start of the pandemic, and nearly 40% invested in new digital capabilities. They also identified that nearly all firms reported that they expect the adoption of new technologies to be permanent and to have a positive impact on firm performance.
Tools that support remote working and virtual collaboration have undoubtedly become crucial for businesses and it is no surprise that law firms plan to continue to invest in legal technology. Despite these plans, actual action in the probate market remains slow, only 15% of legal firms are using a dedicated probate software. Could this be because they don’t feel there is a tool to fit their needs? Or is it that the probate side of their business isn’t prioritised?
Choosing the right technology for your law firm
The key to adopting any technology is to identify your needs and pain points and invest in tools that address them. The ability to continue to work collaboratively whilst being remote has become a fundamental necessity and many firms are making the natural shift towards cloud-based technology. However, for many firms data security is critical and extra consideration needs to be given to selecting the right platform.
An issue, specifically relating to the probate process, is ensuring consistency of work between members. Even within a team, people often have their own way of recording and processing information. This makes it difficult to work effectively with others. With varied excel spreadsheets, disorganised folders on a shared drive, and even inconsistent standards with filenames on documents, it can be extremely difficult to have an overview of case progress, particularly in instances of sharing workloads. The result is an over-reliance on team members’ knowledge and a need for an in-person (or virtual) conversation, which disrupt workflows and creates unnecessary meetings. Rather than buying new communication software, better organised probate cases can change the nature of working together – solving what originally appeared as a teamwork issue.
When work was performed at the office, security (rightly) focused on the physical space. Security guards, keys and door passes, secure printing, and countless processes helped protect our local office environment. As we move away from office space, we move away from the office security that comes with it. The same effort needs to be applied to our new remote-working practices. One major benefit from cloud-based software is that you can effectively outsource these IT security headaches. Modern software services handle data security on your behalf. Data and communication encryption, disaster recovery back-ups, and many other security features are considered standard practice. Best of all, these security benefits and their updates are often transparent to the user.
Dedicated probate software to facilitate the new normal.
Exizent’s platform is specially designed for professionals and teams managing probate. A cloud-based platform that allows you and your team to start your probate journey, without the need for intensive training or complicated configuration. As it is designed for probate, it works for you and your team without the need for additional software or tools.
Be more organised and reduce repetitive administration: With the ability to securely upload and store unlimited documents, our platform helps you and your team stay organised. Save time to focus on your clients through reduced administration, simply enter your case details once and export court and tax forms with fields pre-populated from your case data, including PA1 forms, C1 forms and various IHT forms.
Improve your security and increase collaboration: Our secure serverless platform mitigates your risks, allowing you and your team to work from anywhere, supporting remote working. Create and manage all cases in one place, assigning members of your team to work together with more clarity and efficiency. Assisting in a uniformed approach to recording case information, which in turn increases the ease of collaboration remotely.
Legal firms can emerge from the pandemic in a better position through adopting technology to foster flexibility, efficiency, and innovation. For more information on Exizent’s platform and how it can help streamline your probate process click here to contact our team.