Priyanka is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Manupatra, India’s leading legal-tech firm specializing in designing and developing technology products to simplify operations for professionals in the legal ecosystem. At the company’s helm, she has played a critical role in launching Manupatra’s e-learning initiative and has been involved in ideating, planning, executing, and operating several projects. She is the second person in command and is also accountable for managing daily business operations, working closely with department heads, and supporting the comprehensive growth of employees.
Technology is redefining the legal field, as it is redefining the rest of the business landscape. Online research databases have replaced law books, digital contracts have replaced physical contracts, and multiple other developments have transformed the legal industry. These new age solutions help in making legal professionals’ routine tasks easier and more efficient. Since technology isn’t going away, legal professionals need to ensure that they are investing in the right tech solutions that fit their needs.
Software as a service (or SaaS)
It is a well-accepted fact that SaaS technology has helped to make businesses more efficient, more productive, more competitive, more customer focused, and thus, more profitable.
SaaS is a way of delivering applications over the Internet—as a service. Instead of installing and maintaining software, you simply access it via the Internet, freeing yourself from complex software and hardware management. In simpler terms, SaaS gives you access to a finished product while leaving its operation and management in the hands of the service provider.
Few core benefits of SaaS are:
- Scalability and Integration – since SaaS applications are hosted in cloud environments they have both the capacity to scale and the capability to integrate with other applications.
- SaaS offerings are simple to implement and easy to use, enable seamless migration, and can be customized as per individual requirements.
- They save costs since it eliminates buying and installation expenditures, maintenance and upgrades it all. The pay-as-you-go pricing model ensures users pay for what they use.
- Offers Enhanced Security since the data is stored in the cloud and backups are maintained by the service provider.
When people discuss SaaS, they nearly usually centre their conversations on software products geared toward end users. If you have subscribed to any software as a service (SaaS) offering, the only thing you need to be concerned about is how best to utilize it.
The case for SaaS in the Legal Industry
The core benefits of SaaS translate to the legal industry too. As the legal industry continues to become increasingly competitive, legal professionals need to turn to SaaS products to help them streamline their operations.
Management teams tend to include lawyers who are not well conversant with the latest technology. As a result, they face technological challenges which also result in out of control costs. This aggravates the resistance to change, and to live in the space of “if it’s not broken, why fix it?” Thus continues the use of outdated hardware, server based software, and no ability to access the data or applications remotely, which is not the desired situation.
By utilizing the SaaS applications the legal professionals can streamline their processes and operations, bringing about more efficiency. This helps them provide better value to their clients and thus increase client retention, and improve the productivity of the teams, all of which translates to higher profitability.
With work from home [WFH] and Hybrid working becoming a norm, SaaS provides the solution that practices need to adapt to virtual work conditions.
Representative SaaS Solutions for the Legal Professionals
Free email accounts lack the professionalism of a custom email address. SaaS provides a plug and play option with Email hosting, storage, and access all taken care of.
Legal Research is one of the cornerstones of the legal profession. It’s also one of the most arduous and time-consuming tasks. Technology enables lawyers to access giant databases with highly evolved search capabilities, helping users to navigate the law faster and smarter.
Legal practitioners deal with copious amounts of paper.
Documents Management System is an automated software solution for digitizing, storing, organizing, securing, and tagging documents. This allows users to focus on their roles rather than searching and hunting for documents.
Practice Management Tools are the backbone of legal practice, help manage cases, documents, calendars, tasks like invoicing, expenses, time tracking, reporting, and offer seamless integrations with frequently used tools and apps.
Billable time can be recorded on an hourly, transactional, or contingent basis with Time, billing, and accounting software.
SaaS provides E-Learning platforms that facilitate continuing professional development, by offering self-learn subscription modules.
Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) done online through a website based platform provides an alternative dispute resolution mechanism.
E-discovery software allows legal professionals to process, review, tag, and produce electronic evidence (emails, instant messaging, documents, CAD/CAM files, etc ) as part of a lawsuit or investigation.
Analytical tools enable predictive analysis, which helps litigators to unravel trends and patterns in past litigation, which can help form legal strategies and anticipate outcomes in current cases.
End-to-end Compliance Management Platforms for GRC; Legal Marketplaces that list, categorise, and catalogue everything that is in some way connected to the legal system.
Human Resource Management Systems (HRMS) which eliminate manual tracking of employee information and automate hiring and onboarding workflows, and manage future employee records, are a few other SaaS solutions that are helpful.
Immediate benefits which the use of SaaS brings about for the legal professionals
- Anytime, anywhere access for all stakeholders
- Client portal for enhanced customer experience
- Faster processing of information
- More collaboration among lawyers
- Increased transparency
- Cuts down the risk of errors
- Better resource management
- Automated processes
- A higher level of security than a firm can usually afford
Technology is the competitive edge legal professionals need to not only survive but to remain relevant in the years to come. SaaS applications help legal professionals and firms increase their geographical footprint, team size, and portfolio without compromising on quality. It allows them to adapt to virtual work conditions, makes them more efficient with their time and resources, and grows their businesses.