In the last 12 months, companies have had to rapidly accelerate their digital transformation efforts. Back in April, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella stated that there had been two years’ worth of digital transformation take place in two months, and it is proving true.
The legal sector is no exception to the digital transformation rush of 2020. In fact, from April to June, the percentage of law firms that relied on cloud-based technology to work remotely jumped from 79% to 90%—an enormous and rapid leap for an industry that’s typically reluctant to change. With the legal sector bracing itself for long-term change, here are four ways law firms can thrive in 2021 and beyond.
Last year exhibited the value of combining people and technology in new and effective ways. For many it was a catalyst for building tech-enabled organisations. Law firms must continue this journey and invest in technology that benefits both employees and the business. After all, people are a legal firm’s most valuable asset.
Technology should never replace workers but rather help lawyers to add even more value to their day-today responsibilities. Automation is one area that firms can explore to help improve efficiencies, while also taking the burden off overworked teams. By automating documents and mundane tasks, it prevents lawyers and staff getting buried in low-value admin tasks and helps keep their focus on the high-value work.
Creating a single source of truth for data will also be key to a firm’s success. The negative impacts of data fragmentation cannot be understated. Poor content management and disparate data storage make it difficult for lawyers to do their work competently. With such an array of sensitive documents, lawyers need a fluid system of accessing important data. To resolve this, firms should look to adopt a content management system for legal professionals, this will provide lawyers with the ability to access data from one source instead of searching across hundreds of different storage locations.
Traditionally, law firms have relied on face-to-face meetings and luxurious office spaces to show value and influence clients. However, as hybrid working models are here to stay, client management needs to change as there will be pressure on firms to find new ways to show value and to truly distinguish themselves from competitors. With 56% of legal clients wanting to see firms prioritise collaboration, firms should look to invest in cloud-based tools to mirror the collaborative ‘office experience’ and deliver the slick and secure familiarity the client expects.
Due to the wider economic slowdown, clients are scrutinising where their spend is going; demanding visibility into processes and greater predictability when it comes to fees. We can therefore expect to see this demand increase as clients expect accessible and good value legal services—much like ‘Tesco Law’, where certain elements of legal work (such as wills, probates and divorces) are made even more readily available. With this in mind, firms should consider streamlining day-to-day legal processes, in order to provide greater efficiency and exceptional levels of service with competitive fees—before the bigger brands get there first.
No one can underestimate the power of data and analytics to gather insight and help make intelligent decisions. For instance, the pandemic was a prime example of how data helped the public and scientists contextualise the scale of the virus. While other industries have embraced data for years, the legal sector as a whole has not yet taken advantage of the full power of analytics. Through using analytic tools, senior lawyers can be assisted in their general management and strategic decision making on issues that fall outside the realm of counsel. In addition, data and analytics can provide legal teams with a clear picture of the progress on client work, so they can assess how performance is impacted by budget and time constraints.
It is clear that the pandemic compelled law firms to became agile and digitally transform at a faster rate than expected. As we slowly but surely begin life in ‘the new normal’ (whatever that is!), firms must continue this digital transformation journey. By investing in people-first technology and enhancing collaboration with clients, firms will be setting the groundwork for long-term success.
Learn how we’re helping innovative firms around the world better support their lawyers and their clients when you book a consultation with our legal tech experts today.
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