Immigration law is a rapidly evolving practice area involving complex legal requirements and unique regulations. Following the coronavirus pandemic, immigration lawyers see an influx of cases as an increasing number of people come to the US hoping to live, study, and work within its borders.
Is your practice ready for an increase in immigration work? Then, it’s time to become a doer and optimize your operations. Luckily, there are numerous tools designed to help you successfully run your immigration law firm. Here are the top ones.
Cloud-Based Case Management Software
As an immigration lawyer, you deal with complex matters and heavy caseloads. And a cloud-based case management immigration law software can serve you as a central hub for all information. Suppose you’re a lawyer in NYC for employment immigration. Specialized software will keep important data, including each client’s profile, family, residence history, and communications current, secure, organized, and consolidated. As a result, your team will stay on track and in sync.
Billing, Accounting, and Payment Systems
Accurate billing and clean accounting are vital to running an immigration law practice. Nowadays, you can easily create electronic invoices and track invoice payments with billing software.
Ensure that the software you choose accommodates your clients’ needs and can accept payments in whatever form they can pay. Consider allowing payment plans as it’s common for immigration clients to request these, especially for high fees. In this case, make sure your tool can split an invoice into installments.
Immigration law practices are collaborative, so it’s wise to turn to technology to keep things running smoothly. Selecting a workflow automation software can streamline the processes while ensuring improved accuracy, greater productivity, better collaboration, and mobility. That way, you’ll be spending less time on administrative tasks and more time practicing law, offering your clients a better experience.
Templates to Automate Repetitive Tasks
Templates can streamline filing paperwork by allowing you to customize commonly used documents. When exploring templates to automate repetitive tasks, consider cover letters, routine government or client correspondence, attorney-client agreements, motions, pleadings, and petitions for review. Ensure to audit your practice’s processes and see what other tasks are standardized and can be templated.
Your practice is likely dealing with paper and documents that should be easily accessible anytime, from anywhere. So, you’ll need a scanner or scanner app to digitalize documents. When choosing a physical scanner, you should consider the size. If you’re more on the go, you can opt for a portable scanner, whereas a large, central one is great for a single office.
Additionally, make sure that the scanner integrates with your practice management software and creates searchable documents that are easy to identify and sort. On the other hand, if you opt for a scanning app, choose one that easily integrates with your smartphone camera to help you capture and organize documents effortlessly.
VoIP Phone Provider
Regardless of your location, immigration clients need to be able to reach you at your business phone number. A Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone service allows you to answer calls remotely by forwarding calls made to your business line to wherever you are. A VoIP is especially important if you’re a solo practitioner or hiring staff in different geographical locations.
There will be plenty of forms to sign in the immigration process. Sure, you can email them and then wait for them to print, sign, scan, and email back — all of this assuming that your immigration client has access to the equipment needed.
Alternatively, you can ensure everything runs smoothly by implementing eSignature software. Such software allows you to collect signatures effectively and reduce the turnaround time. Also, the best solutions will have a dashboard where you can see if the form has been received, opened, and signed so that you can adjust your follow-up accordingly.
Legal Research Tools
For your immigration law firm to succeed, you’ll need high-quality legal research. Thanks to advanced technologies, you can have searchable law libraries and any other necessary resources at your fingertips. As a result, you’ll be able to conduct your legal research quickly and effectively.
When selecting a legal research tool, consider your firm’s online legal research needs. Some agencies offer limited research sets, whereas others allow you to check citations, explore secondary sources, and more. Finally, make sure to determine the functionality and tools your practice needs and check if the software’s available features align with them.
Representing an Immigrant Personal Injury Claim
So you’ve got the tools but how can you put things into practice? Imagine representing an immigrant’s personal injury claim. Is there a difference? Should their status have a bearing on the situation at hand? It can certainly throw problems into the mix – whereby you’re not entirely sure regarding whether the accident occurred before or after arriving – so there’s more fact-gathering in play than usual.
The reality is that personal injury claims can get messy sometimes, so having the above tools can help you ensure you nail the case. You really need to do your research first, check out websites like personalinjuryclaimsUK.org.uk so you can educate yourself before making a claim. Take the UK for example – there were 86,000 personal injury claims in 2021 alone, with 3.5% going to trial – usually you can settle before going to trial, but if there’s an immigration case, where the person may potentially be working illegally or have some kind of non-normal resident status you may find yourself representing them in court, so the utmost preparation is in order.
Using the right tools for immigration law firms can help your practice be more efficient, client-centered, and profitable. That being said, not every firm needs the same tech stack. What works best for your practice would largely depend on your firm’s size and unique needs. You can start with the basics and then add tools to boost productivity and serve your clients better.