APIs for law firms: collect, connect and surface valuable data.

Today, most legal professionals understand that automation and process optimisation are essential to managing an efficient legal practice in an increasingly data-driven environment. Thus, the legal industry is increasingly seeing the value of investing in accessible technologies that offer higher-value through data-driven analytics and insights and improve operational efficiency and productivity.

However, despite its numerous benefits, the proliferation of technology has created several challenges that work against law firms, including:

  • Disrupted work practices for legal staff: With the need to constantly switch between numerous applications, programs, platforms, and devices legal staff are finding their workflows disrupted.
  • Increased investment and expenditure: IT departments and CIOs must either continually invest in new technology or risk falling behind the innovation curve.
  • Evolving client expectations: Client expectations have changed and there is a growing demand for cost-effective delivery of legal services with a focus on efficiency, transparency and access to information.

Given this context, it is not surprising that application programming interfaces (APIs) have become a progressively hot topic among law firms and legal departments looking to address these challenges through interoperability and automation.

 

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What are APIs in the context of a law firm?

APIs act as a software intermediary that allows multiple applications to communicate with each other and can be used by law firms to automate data gathering and operational processes.

Through the use of an API, one system can easily access the computing power and resources of another system. One application gathers data, then outsources it to another service through an API.

For instance, firms may have custom forms and web pages to capture information around prospects. Through the use of an API, information can be written into the practice management system thereby saving time from double data entry. Similarly, once the matter progresses, documents, financials, and other information can be presented through the API. This allows mobility applications to surface key data for easy access on the go.

How APIs fuel data-driven innovation to achieve business growth

Data is undoubtedly a foundational element of practicing law. Every device, client communication, and legal document possesses information that can help law firms create new efficiencies, gather important business intelligence and implement new pricing and business models that can be used to aid lawyers and retain clients.

Nonetheless, while data is a highly accessible resource, many law firms are struggling to redefine their business strategies around it.

When it comes to data-driven business growth, there are three key factors that fuel real-time strategic decision making to transform legal processes, improve client outcomes and unlock the budget for innovation and technology investments.

  1. Capturing quality data
  2. Connecting data through the integration of technologies
  3. Surfacing data to drive strategic action

Undoubtedly, the momentum of technological evolution will continue to drive the transformation of the legal sector, whether law firms are prepared for it or not. To futureproof, it is essential to become a modern, connected business, by developing a strong data strategy where all records, data sources, and systems are integrated under a single platform.

Open APIs are a critical component to helping achieve this interoperability. Only once law firms are in a position where they can easily leverage all of their technologies and have unprecedented visibility over their data, will they enhance productivity, fuel new innovations and become truly client-centric.

One way to achieve this is by investing in a practice management solution with an open API platform. Through the use and implementation of a fully integrated legal practice management solution, law firms and legal departments can benefit from efficiency gains of automated, dynamic workflows, clients benefit from more efficient service delivery, while IT departments and CIOs have better control of their technology and spend.

PracticeEvolve’s open API is available at no added cost and enables fast development and deployment of new applications, where clients can either request integration with a specific solution or build their own. For more information, speak to an expert today.