When you think of the most effective law firms, technology isn’t commonly the first credited component of success.
Aside from the need to develop the brand through tactics such as social media marketing, keyword searches and real-time analytics — scaling a legal practice simply doesn’t seem to require an extensive tech infrastructure to win big. However, contrary to tradition, the most impactful lawyers in today’s digital era are early adopters of technology.
In a field driven by data discovery, complex processes, and managing massive amounts of confidential information — storage, organization and security are pivotal to establishing a trusted law firm. More so, as the use of technology becomes an even more seamless aspect of our mobile lifestyles, companies aspiring for prominence in the legal field must not only be tech savvy, but adjust their business model to reflect the times.
Law firms using an integrated IT ecosystem average 9% higher billings annually, and a 71% increase in client referrals. These law firms also spend less time and money on administrative tasks, billing and collection is more efficient and lawyers can deliver services faster and more economically.
While these rapid advancements in technology create a competitive advantage for larger law firms, a lack of access has made changes in technology an unlikely impediment to mid-sized firms looking to scale. Since mid-size law firms rarely have big budgets to spend, undertaking large expenditures on technology, including unavoidable software updates, can cause painful set backs in both profit and productivity.
By cutting corners on costs, smaller firms expose themselves to cyber attacks from hackers. Consequently, mid-sized law firms are increasingly targeted by state-sponsored hackers looking to capture intellectual property, insider trading information, and confidential state secrets. Noticing the need to equip smaller firms with the technology and tools to establish sustainable practices, one startup stepped in to level the playing field.
LogicForce stands as the only company providing complete packages of tech services exclusively to mid-sized law firms, offering cyber security, document management, e-discovery, digital forensics, and cloud-based services. LogicForce delivers cloud-based technology services that firms can use on a pay-as-you-go basis, allowing them to scale up or down without worrying about crippling overhead expenses.
I spoke with LogicForce President John Sweeney about the vision behind the company, how technology is reshaping the legal space, and how lawyers are building scalable businesses in today’s digital world.
What specific void or opportunity did you discover that inspired the idea to start LOGICFORCE?
John Sweeney: All law firms struggle with the growing convergence of technology and the business of law. Many times it is expensive, difficult to maintain, and can even be dangerous to operate when considering the rules that govern the management of client information. LogicForce was founded in 1995, focusing strictly on small and midsize law firms, with the intent t0 create accretive business outcomes that improve Profit-Per-Partner through the proper design and scalability of their IT ecosystem. We harness the power of technology to give law firms the competitive advantage in an extremely dynamic market.
Your suite of services is often seen as too expensive or robust for most companies — How do you make your services both accessible and manageable for smaller firms?
John Sweeney: That’s a great point. At most law firms, you’ll find a mixture of hardware and software applications that lack integration, which limits the ability to easily upgrade systems when needed, resulting in virtually no long-term financial planning or discipline. That is the precise reason LogicForce has designed a “New Style of Legal IT” that is revolutionizing the way law firms use and pay for their entire IT, electronic discovery and cyber security ecosystem. Through a proprietary analytical approach known as Synthesis E-IT Secure, we design and deliver state of the art IT ecosystems that will never become obsolete. They are also scalable according to the capacity requirements of the law firm at that time, so our clients are only paying for what they need, when they need it for an adjustable monthly fee. They no longer have to go through a technology capital expenditure budget process, which is very unpredictable and fraught with cost overruns. This works particularly well for small and midsize firms looking to compete with Big Law.
Cyber security is a very sensitive topic and an area where many companies seek the best protection possible — What makes Logic Force a trusted company for delivering effective solutions?
John Sweeney: We have been a legal business and tech advisory firm for 22 years, with cyber security always playing a tremendously important role. It is one of our fastest growing lines of business, and something we take very seriously. We continue to develop our teams of professionals to remain current on the latest techniques and programs hackers are using to gain access, and monitor our client’s systems to proactively ward off unwanted entreaties. The fact is, we have been conducting vulnerability and penetration testing, risk assessments, analysis and management, social engineering vulnerability assessments and wireless security assessments from the beginning. As stated previously, our teams have led breach responses in some very high profile cases and regularly design cyber incident forensic readiness and response plans for our law firms and their clients.
Being the only company that offers these tech services to mid-size law firms — How has LogicForce advanced the industry and impacted the way these law firms manage their businesses?
John Sweeney: We have always been a legal technology leader that provides a competitive advantage for our law firm clients, but we took a great step in advancing the business of law and technology in 2016 when we founded the NashTech Legal Conference. NashTech is designed to empower lawyers to serve their clients more effectively through the use of technology, while improving the financial outcomes for both and protecting their professional reputations through the proper handling of electronically stored information to minimize the risk of cyber breach. We are also developing an advisory board made up of some of the leading technology and business minds in the legal space with the idea of advancing standards and collaboration initiatives that address the burgeoning issues data management and evolving technologies present to mid-size law firms.
With all of your efforts to educate and equip lawyers in the industry — How do you see both the legal tech space and your company evolving in the next 3-5 years?
John Sweeney: More than ever, we see law firms fighting for their client’s wallet share. They’re now competing not only with other firms, but also with competitors they previously didn’t know existed. LPO’s, Consultants, Legal Service Bureaus and Online Legal Service providers have cut into the financial pie that was once the sole domain of outside counsel. The legal space becomes even more complicated when considering the American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct state that Lawyers have a duty to keep abreast of the benefits and risks associated with technology. So, smart law firm leadership is acknowledging the need to move from traditional business models to a more modern approach that leverages technology to compete effectively and deliver legal services according to their client’s requirements and the regulations that govern them. That’s why the effective use of secure IT systems, applications and data analytics will have an increasingly direct correlation to revenue growth of law firms.
What specific suite of services or capabilities can LogicForce offer potential partners?
John Sweeney: LogicForce is a legal business and technology advisory firm. Our services include IT ecosystem planning, implementation and management, private cloud services, cyber security planning, management and breach response, electronic discovery management, digital forensics collections and investigations. We currently support law firms coast to coast, customizing our service delivery model to fit each law firm’s business needs. We usually supply all of the appropriate technologies, complimented by workflow processes we design that are supported on or offsite by our team of professionals. Our partners can expect measurable profitability gains with a capacity to scale for work from their clients that was previously unattainable under an older model. They also won’t run the risk of losing a client due to non-compliant technology, or systems and data management audits. It is very important to note that companies in regulated industries like healthcare, finance and utilities are increasingly requiring their law firms to pass stringent IT and data security audits to qualify for their legal work. This is a laborious and often costly endeavor for law firms who look at each client as an opportunity for growth and hold on to them for dear life.
Technology has been the difference between big and small firms — How does the success of LogicForce assist in leveling the playing field and shifting the paradigm?
John Sweeney: Our clients no longer have to acquiesce on large cases to bigger law firms with more robust electronic discovery departments as they can immediately scale their capabilities to handle any litigation or investigatory matter they want manage. All at a fraction of the cost of what is used to be in a traditional buy and build model. There are a lot of tremendous lawyers working for small and mid-size law firms who are in many cases more capable and qualified to provide legal subject matter expertise than what is being offered by Big Law. We want to arm our clients with the best tools and business intelligence possible to ensure they do get the opportunities to provide their legal advice more often and create a winning scenario outside of counsel and corporate legal departments are so desperately seeking.