The legal profession operates with a relatively traditional mindset and has been slow to adopt new technologies. In addition, a hierarchical workforce specialized and centralized knowledge, reliance on costly training, complex internal processes, and legacy systems all play their part.
This can lead to an inconsistent experience for clients while increasing the time and complexity of finalizing tasks. But for Legal services, law firms (and their clients!) time is money. Therefore, both clients and the younger, more digitally-driven workforce are less forgiving when it comes to processes and employee tech that doesn’t work and feel like the digital tools they use in day-to-day life.
In this article, you will learn about the technological revolution in the legal industry and how more and more law firms providing legal services are choosing artificial intelligence over human talent.
- What is digital disruption?
- Pros and cons of digital disruption
- Game-changing disruptive technologies in the legal profession
- Is it worth it for your firm to disrupt the norm?
- Is digital disruption an advantage or threat?
- How can Connect Legal Help you?
1. What is digital disruption?
To put it simply, digital disruption refers to the impact new digital technologies have on a business’s services, clients and workforce. Also, digital disruption is becoming more and more prevalent within all industries, due to the mobilization of technology and the introduction of new technologies.
Although digital innovation isn’t new to the legal sector, there are still more brilliant opportunities for disruption. Then, of course, these opportunities hold their own benefits and challenges.
2. Pros and cons of digital disruption
Before implementing technological change in your firm, it’s vital you identify the benefits and challenges of digital disruption. Failure to clarify this increases the risk of disruption that isn’t profitable or helpful.
Here are some of the most important pros and cons you need to consider.
2.1 Increase productivity
When done right, digital disruption will boost productivity in your business. Furthermore, Employees can scrap paper methods in favor of digitized, traceable processes. In addition to this, they can work outside of the office, helping them handle urgent tasks in a timely manner.
For your clients, you can cut out bureaucratic processes and enable digital signatures. This decreases friction, which gives clients a better experience and in turn boosts your firm’s productivity.
2.2 Lower IT labor costs
If your firm chooses to migrate to the cloud, either partially or fully, you’ll experience a reduction in IT labor costs. As cloud providers handle the patching, updates and security of servers on their end, you won’t need to lift a finger. In addition to this, you’ll cut out the need for costly future on-premise maintenance.
2.3 Unlock business insights
Data-driven insights and decisions will help you navigate roadblocks in projects, as well as reveal new service or marketing opportunities.
As an example, your law firm may use data to determine how to price your billable hours in line with client expectations, national averages, and local competitor rates.
2.4 Challenges of digital disruption
Don’t jump in all at once. Any technological change management process you make should be informed.
For instance, if you find that certain legacy applications need to be kept on-premise for regulatory needs, don’t try and move them to the cloud anyway. It’s important to measure your readiness and find the right mix of technology.
Eighty percent of law firms run at least one service – such as an email server – that has an exploitable vulnerability, according to a government report.
Although technologies such as cloud computing come with unparalleled built-in security measures, there are still steps law firms must take to mitigate all risks. This means:
- Increasing cyber security training
- Implementing multi-factor authentication
- Ensuring your data security practices and policies are up to date
- Vetting legal software to ensure it meets the highest data security standards
- Cultural and technical changes
Similarly, it can be hard to shift expectations and implement change. Your staff may have ingrained habits and a narrow field of view – as long as they feel well equipped, why worry about broader improvements? But technological change should be empowered by everyone within your firm.
So, when adopting disruptive technology, make sure you have the complete buy-in of your partners, employees, and loyal clients. And, if they struggle to adapt to any changes, be willing to offer help or get a consultation from an IT expert.
3. Game-changing disruptive technologies in the legal profession
Forty-one percent of surveyed legal services providers plan to use blockchain for transactional purposes. In addition to this, 21 percent plan to use the technology for business support and 31 percent expect to utilize it for high-value legal services.
If you weren’t already aware, blockchain refers to ‘blocks’ of records that are linked and secured via cryptography.
But how does this technology integrate within your firm’s services? Here are a few ways blockchain could disrupt your business:
By using blockchain platforms, law firms can cut the manual work out of signing contracts without compromising on security. It also means lawyers can create and validate legal contracts without the need for paper or human intervention.
Many intellectual property filings undergo a time-consuming manual approval process. Blockchain cuts out the middleman by allowing content creators to upload their intellectual property onto a network for repeated reference in the future.
Chain of custody
Using blockchain technologies, firms can keep their chain of custody evidence documentation digital, auditable, and traceable by using time-stamped cryptographic
3.2 Cloud computing
Admittedly, the legal profession isn’t new to cloud computing. In fact, many firms use cloud-based apps, such as the Microsoft 365 suite, for productivity and out-of-office work.
However, when it comes to law-specific tasks, only half of firms use cloud solutions. This digital disruption, if untapped, could prevent legal firms from streamlining their services, boosting employee productivity, and providing a more competitive service.
These are just some of the ways the cloud can boost your law practice:
Remote working initiatives
Cloud environments and relevant applications allow for a distributed workforce. There are many benefits to a remote workforce. For example, 24 percent of employers say it reduces staff churn.
Legal cloud services
Separate from productivity apps, there are many legal cloud services applications that could revolutionise your firm. Clio, for example, is a completely online case management software that allows you to run your business securely from anywhere.
On-premise servers are hard to scale. Why? Because you need to buy new racks and space to house your data. Moving to the cloud empowers your firm to scale with ease.
3.3 Legal analytics
When it comes to big data and analytics, the legal industry is still lagging behind. The reason behind this is different for all firms, but can range from historical conservatism towards technology, to lack of skill sets and resources.
Regardless of the reason, it’s important to understand that data can unlock huge value for your company. When analysed, it can provide a treasure chest of innovative, actionable business insights that could revamp your offerings and profitability.
Some key untapped big data opportunities are:
Case study analysis
Gathering and analysing historical case data, such as jurisdictions, will help you better predict a case’s success. For example, if a judge ruled a certain way in X previous similar cases, the chances are they might rule the same way again.
Understanding your target customer base and marketing to them in an appropriate way is essential for business growth. Marketing insights can help you focus your targeting, refine your strategies and pinpoint key areas for investment.
Your firm needs to be profitable and from planning staffing requirements to analysing billable hours and previous prices, big analytics can help you arrive at profitable, fair prices for your services.
Using an online, data-driven management system will help you compile key project metrics. With this data, firms can work towards streamlining project management and identifying and removing bottlenecks.
4. Is it worth it for your firm to disrupt the norm?
From blockchain technologies to cloud computing and legal analytics, there’s already a wave of new technologies for your firm to consider.
Unfortunately, many firms still resist change. Reasons for this include cost worries, lack of technical skills, and employee pushback.
But the truth is, disruptive technologies – when implemented securely – empower you to make informed decisions, provide better services, and stay ahead of your competitors. Without technology, you’ll struggle to make tangible improvements and drive ongoing profitable business growth.
5. Is digital disruption an advantage or threat?
Law firm operations are expected to be influenced by the latest technology development and new demands from today’s clients. Software tools and applications are helping law firms manage processes faster, effectively, and securely. These are also replacing labour-intensive functions with virtual processes.
Moreover, clients expect the best digital experiences. This includes virtual communication, mobile-first solutions, more control over their legal cases, speedy and effective resolution, etc. Given that, law firms need to be updated about the fast-changing technology landscape in order to satisfy their clients.
To summarize, we take into account the following points when deciding whether digital disruption is beneficial or a threat:
5.1 Threats that arise out of the growing gig economy
Digital disruption has changed the way attorneys work. Today’s young legal professionals demand workplace flexibility and prefer performance evaluation based on results rather than office attendance. Law firms that recently entered the sector have already adopted an open-minded work culture that promotes staff productivity, loyalty, and growth.
The gig economy can also significantly influence the legal sector; professionals can choose their preferred location and time to work. Platform lawyers typically use digital tools to work remotely and can market their practice the way they want. Due to low operational costs and service charges being less than traditional firms, they can increase profits quickly.
Law firms refusing to adopt new work cultures will experience challenges in finding and retaining talent, boosting productivity, and encouraging their staff.
5.2 Getting opportunities out of threats
Some positive aspects of the digital disruption and having platform attorneys are unnoticed by law firms that are too busy managing their workload. Automating tedious, repetitive tasks and allowing staff to work remotely gives several opportunities to law firms.
5.3 Adoption of new ways of working
Law firms can use technology to:
- Focus on smarter and flexible resourcing
- Improve process management
- Enhance operational efficiencies
- Deliver quality legal services
5.4 The much required digital mindset
Adoption of distributed team model and flexible working enable law firms to take a faster route toward growth. Using automation and AI to streamline processes can bring diverse income opportunities by ensuring complete accuracy (eliminating human error) and redeploying skilled staff to activities that generate higher value.
5.5 New ways for targeting the right market
Digital technology and countless web tools bring many opportunities for law firms to connect with the market, that also on their own terms.
They can prepare content market strategies. This can integrate the numerous channels across the web such as their website, email, and social media handles to drive enough traffic.
The only catch is that they need to learn where and how to play. More likes, shares, retweets, and reposts help gain the market’s trust and build a brand’s reputation.
6. How can Connect Legal help you?
Connect Legal has been at the forefront of digital law experience, working with some of the world’s top law firms, and delivering game-changing l experiences for their clients. From strategy, design, and delivery, to ongoing optimization and support, we’ll work with you to create amazing customer experiences that deliver measurable marketing and business results.
Would you like to contact Connect Legal? You can contact us at +971 4331 6688 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and you’ll talk to one of our representatives that will gladly answer all of your questions.
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