The last year has highlighted what a difference technology can make. In our personal lives, sure — but also in our law firms.
As we start off 2021 still working remotely, we’ve put together a list of the best tech that can clean up — and accelerate — your from-home workflows.
Working from home: make your spare bedroom look like a professional office
For most lawyers, their pre-pandemic office spaces included things like a door, a noticeable lack of screaming children, and maybe some books or framed artwork. These seemingly standard qualities of any professional space — quiet and a pleasant background — can be harder to come by at home.
But we’ve got you covered.
A noise-cancelling app, Krisp comes with two features relevant to anyone trying to run an office out of their home. First, you can talk without noise, meaning that a single button can eliminate background noise on your end of the call — and let other call participants hear you more clearly.
And second, you can also remove the background noise coming from other participants, allowing you to better understand what they’re saying. After all, no one likes being the person who has to say, “What? Can you repeat that?”
Whether it’s a closet, your partner microwaving dinner, or anything else that doesn’t come across as fully professional, Zoom has you covered. Use a virtual background — and add to your brand presence while you’re at it.
Skitch by Evernote
Skitch lets you add arrows and circles to a shared screen. Get your point across without writing a small essay.
Manage your group inbox right from Gmail. For emails that don’t fall into just one person’s domain — such as a support, info, or contact email — Hiver makes it possible to respond promptly and professionally. Every email can be assigned a user and tracked in real time until resolved. And the team can collaborate with internal notes, rather than an external chat app, for seamless communication.
Cloud storage lets you access data from anywhere, from any device.
For secure, centralized storage, Google Drive is as straightforward as it gets. From documents to spreadsheets to slide presentations, these files sync in real time — meaning that if two people are working on the same document, they see each other’s edits. No more accidentally creating two versions of the same thing.
Google Drive also lets you run weekly metric reports and can be accessed from any of your mobile devices.
Dropbox provides a solution to large file sharing dilemmas. Sync, share, and appreciate Dropbox’s API with smoother remote collaboration.
Honorable Mention: Office 365
Clear communication is vital for remote teams. Avoid tension around confusing messages and streamline productivity with these communication tools instead.
A remote messaging favorite, Slack lets teams share ideas and comment in real time. Its instant messaging features provide a faster and more casual way to communicate than email. Use a team-wide thread, as well as side channels. The beauty of Slack is that it brings all team communication to one place.
The team hub for Office 365, Microsoft Teams keeps chats, meetings, files, and apps together in one spot.
Honorable Mention: Teamwork Chat
Keeping tasks organized is essential to any remote work process — and it helps the team move forward if everyone knows what comes next.
Track time for invoices and expenses with Teamwork. Create custom reports of time spent on matters or cases and export them to Excel, CSV, or PDF.
Flexibility and fast onboarding let your team prioritize, allocate, and track tasks with monday.com. Productivity features include dashboards, calendar view, due date notifications, and automations that speed up the completion of any task.
Honorable Mention: Trello
Humans evolved to derive meaning from each other’s facial expressions. Being able to see someone else’s face as they talk goes a long way to building and maintaining a sense of connection. Keep teams engaged with video conferencing — a key part of any remote communication toolkit.
A group call app with quality video, Zoom is affordable and easy to use. Video-record any call, share screens, and create the opportunity for more individualized connection with breakout discussion groups. Zoom also offers webinars, business IM, and voice sharing.
Honorable Mention: GoToMeeting
Don’t let the news, social media, or other distracting sites eat into your productivity. Instead, set yourself up for success with program blockers.
Block time-wasting sites on Chrome for set periods of time with StayFocused.
Save distracting pages for later and limit your time on websites that draw you away from work. Productivity Owl is another good option for Chrome users.
Honorable Mention: Cold Turkey
You know you shouldn’t use the same password for everything or rely on sticky notes. Here are a few programs to help you stick to your security best practices.
Trusted by the world’s leading companies, 1Password is secure, scalable, and easy to use. Keep yourself and your employees safe online.
Take control of your password practices with LastPass’s secure password sharing.
Honorable Mention: Dashlane
Work from anywhere and take calls from anywhere with Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).
An award-winning global provider, RingCentral offers cloud-unified communications — which is especially helpful for team collaboration. More flexible and cost-effective than on-premise systems, RingCentral lets you connect from any device through a plethora of mediums, including voice, video, team messaging, conferencing, contact center, and fax.
Jive Hosted VoIP is a straightforward and affordable approach to phone and conferencing setups for businesses.
Honorable Mention: Google Voice
Practice Management Software
For a streamlined experience in running your law office from anywhere, use practice management software.
CosmoLex is the only cloud-based practice management software with built-in legal accounting to keep you compliant — no QuickBooks® needed. This one price, one login system simplifies running your office by providing one platform for all your needs, including practice management, billing, accounting, and built-in LawPay.
Honorable Mention: Tabs3
Leverage available tech for a more dialed home office
With all the software available today, there’s no reason to get frustrated with banging pots and pans in the next room, virtual file sharing, or remote billing quandaries. Make your work life easier, especially while operating remotely.