Advances in Technology Cause Shift in the Nature of Legal Work

Opening Statement

What once was a seller’s market has now clearly become a buyer’s market, and the effects of that change are significant. With the freedom to utilize services outside of their traditional firm, clients are demanding more value for services received. Is your firm adapting to this shift in the legal relationship dynamic to meet the needs of 21st century customers?

What’s to blame for this shift? Technology, of course. It is becoming increasingly difficult to satisfy customers in this digital world. The internet and consumer app companies are setting a new benchmark for customer experiences. Expectations are at an all-time high, with customers demanding faster service that is cost-effective and convenient.

The bar has been raised. To avoid playing catch-up, it is essential for you to:

  • Stay ahead of the technology curve – be proactive when it comes to recognizing new trends, opportunities and threats
  • Leverage technology to better serve customers
  • Ensure your business plans support the potential of your new technology initiatives
  • Understand how your customer experience compares with that of other firms
  • Come up with a clear and realistic plan for motivating staff and setting goals

Evidence

Trends

  • Security and Compliance Focus

    • Technology is continuously evolving and, as a result, so are the threats designed to obstruct it. Ensuring your firm has the right technology and protocols in place will not only protect your clients’ assets, but also your firm’s reputation. Your success depends upon the trust of your clients – don’t leave holes in your network and potentially expose valuable client information. Work with your IT team to develop an environment that protects your business without affecting innovation and productivity.
  • Development of Time-Saving Technology Solutions

    • Lawyers rely heavily on mobile technology to help them keep pace with competitors. The demand for well-integrated, easy-to-use solutions is high, and it continues to guide technology developments for the industry. Balancing security and usability poses a challenge for firms – many solutions would be advantageous for firms, but decisions must focus on protecting information. Although implementing and maintaining the infrastructure to support application tools is costly, experts predict this will change. Cloud-hosting offerings will soon replace the high-priced hardware currently required and firms will be able to track time, manage documents and email, and share information securely without breaking the bank.

Predictions Worth Noting

  • Other industries will continue to influence change in the legal industry as they evolve their services. Technology has enabled industries to serve clients faster and deliver value that exceeds expectations. Mobile apps are easy to use, save time, and ensure happy customers – allowing industries to expand their customer base. Consumers will demand the same shift in the legal industry.
  • Law firms will soon respond to low realization rates by adopting efficiency tools. Successful firms are beginning to implement tools and strategies that align with services customers want. These firms have seen positive results and we expect continued growth and scalability as they continue adjusting operations to align with consumer expectations.
  • Firms with a digital strategy will see an increase in billable hours. Project management software enables firms to complete and deliver tasks/projects on time and within budget, resulting in a decrease in time spent on administrative activities.
  • Research suggests that firms proactively investing in technology tools to increase efficiency will see better financial results and higher client retention than firms merely reacting to client demands. As a result, we expect greater acceptance and acquisition of technology tools in law firms.
  • Cybersecurity will be a top priority more than ever as the cost of a data breach increases. In addition to proactive measures to prevent breaches, firms are considering digital solutions to eliminate the need to manage maintenance or deal with downtime. Secure digital solutions also meet industry security requirements for data breach prevention and we expect them to soon be more widely used and accepted.

Closing Argument

Compared to their larger firm counterparts, smaller firms can be rather nonchalant when it comes to confidentiality, security and due diligence issues related to digital solutions. With clients needing all the help they can get from outside counsel when it comes security and governance, why not step in and differentiate yourselves in this field? Utilize available technologies to gain a competitive advantage. The less time you spend on managing menial tasks and dealing with technology setbacks, the more time you can allocate to keeping your clients happy.