These applications, while individually valuable, often lack seamless integration and can become cumbersome to manage. Legal professionals find themselves constantly juggling between different applications, logging in and out, managing multiple sets of credentials, and dealing with varying user interfaces. This results in wasted time, reduced focus and, ultimately, diminished productivity.
With this rapid expansion of software applications and other tech systems, a new challenge has emerged: platform fatigue. This refers to the sense of overwhelm legal professionals might have when confronted with an excessive number of digital platforms, applications or services they need to interact with on a regular basis.
All these platforms might seem essential too — an attorney will say they cannot work without email, text messaging, Zoom or Slack. They might answer a client email, then hop on Zoom with their coworker, then Slack a paralegal about that same case, all within the span of 30 minutes. With dozens of platforms readily available for attorneys and staff to use, it can quickly become exhausting. People only have so much mental bandwidth to manage what has become a deluge of data provided by a seemingly endless number of tech solutions.
The vast amount of content available on different platforms can make it difficult to filter out relevant information. In turn, lawyers and staff spend too much time on various platforms that distract them from other important (and billable) activities, leaving them feeling unproductive. With each new platform introduced into the workflow, there also comes an added learning curve. Training on the use of different platforms and ensuring compliance with data privacy and security protocols can divert valuable resources and add to the burden of implementation. The more platforms there are, the more potential vulnerabilities exist, leaving law firms susceptible to cyber threats and potential lawsuits arising from compromised client data.
Constant updates to applications may also make some users feel like they are struggling to play catch up to understand the changes. As a consequence, lawyers may become resistant to embracing new technologies or abandon them altogether, defeating the initial purpose of streamlining processes and increasing efficiency.
FINDING TECH RESPITE
Despite these concerns, it’s important to recognize the positive impact that legal platforms have had on the industry. Technology has undoubtedly simplified case management, streamlined research and improved collaboration, saving law firm employees valuable time. The goal should not be to abandon these innovations but rather to find a balance that ensures maximum benefits while minimizing the drawbacks.
One approach to mitigate platform fatigue is to consolidate as much as possible. Law firms and legal departments should assess their current suite of platforms and identify redundancies. Consolidating similar functions into a unified platform not only reduces the number of applications but also simplifies the user experience for legal professionals. An all-in-one solution that encompasses case management, document sharing, communication and billing can significantly improve efficiency and reduce the need for multiple logins.
“Addressing platform fatigue will also require a commitment from the legal tech industry to allow more connectivity between applications — and new solutions that integrate a firm’s entire IT ecosystem into a singular interface.”
Chatbots and other artificial intelligence (AI)-driven solutions are now specifically being designed to support the legal industry with platform fatigue in mind. These platforms provide a central interface for lawyers and staff to interact with a variety of law firm systems through one point of contact, such as a messaging app, while also utilizing programs such as ChatGPT to assist with research and interpreting information.
No matter what platforms firms choose, integrating selected solutions with other essential tools — such as e-discovery services and legal research databases — can create a cohesive ecosystem that addresses a wide range of legal tasks. Investing in robust encryption, multifactor authentication and secure cloud storage solutions can also safeguard sensitive information and instill confidence in clients regarding their data protection.
Another crucial aspect of managing platform fatigue is fostering a culture of training and adaptability within the firm. With access to continuous learning opportunities, lawyers and support staff can remain up to date on platform developments and best practices. Regular training sessions and access to online resources can help bridge knowledge gaps and reduce resistance to change.
Addressing platform fatigue will also require a commitment from the legal tech industry to allow more connectivity between applications — and new solutions that integrate a firm’s entire IT ecosystem into a singular interface. By working to mitigate platform fatigue, both law firms and vendors can create a streamlined, secure and efficient practice workflow that better serves both clients and legal professionals.