Legal Tech Cover

Be Tomorrow’s Law Firm

Studies and surveys conducted by leading consultancies (1,2,3) show a marked shift in client behaviour that suggests a host of new challenges and opportunities for the legal services industry. In fact, several surveys conducted in 2016 and 2017 reveal that the legal industry is undergoing significant disruption.  

Technologies like Blockchain, AI and Big Data, while providing the opportunity for greater business efficiency, are forcing companies across the world to reassess the way they do business. The current industry outlook shows that the Law is no exception.

The Deloitte Report “Future Trends for Legal Services” (2) highlights that as much as 52% of clients surveyed indicated that they would be happy to buy legal services from non-traditional law firm entities. It was also noted that online and fixed price options were gaining more and more traction.

Much of LawTech disruption is positioned to take advantage of opportunities arising from an economic downturn and opportunities arising from how clients want to do business. There is also a marked focus on increasing operational efficiency.

The legal industry, an industry built on the foundations of centuries of tradition, is hard to transform. But change is inevitable. Lawyers need to be at the heart of LawTech innovation. It is imperative that law firms get involved in the technology that is disrupting them.

Lawyers are uniquely positioned to implement digital transformation within their firms. By helping to develop LawTech tools and making sure these tools are robust and efficient, we can create sustained change and improvement to the way legal services are offered.

But what does digital transformation mean to your firm?

Digital Transformation is not a journey with a beginning and an end, rather it is an ongoing evolution. A continual maturing of your business to adapt to ongoing changes in industries and markets driven by technology.

Digital Transformation is not a sci-fi movie come to life. At its heart, it is about leveraging your business structure and your service offering on technology to make your life, and the lives of your clients, easier.  

Technology can be applied to free-up time previously allocated to mundane (but important) administrative tasks ultimately creating capacity for lawyers to take on more clients. Automated processes also offer more predictable time frames, allowing lawyers to better manage their resources and create transparent cost structures that are a high priority for cash-conscious clients.

A good example is a technology company that developed “AI (that) has the ability to classify 50,000 patents in five hours, rapidly completing a volume of work which the company estimated would have taken a team of four lawyers about three years, at a cost of $US1.5 million.” (4)

The impact of that kind of efficiency is hard to ignore.

But how do you implement digital transformation?

Traditional Law firms are short of tech-savvy personnel and aren’t necessarily up to speed with all the start-ups and tools now available in their industry. The Altman Wiel Flash Survey (1) reveals that of the 94% of law firms that agree that increased efficiency is an ongoing industry trend, only 49% are actively doing something about.

Lawyers need to surround themselves with the people who understand these tools. By marrying tech with the legal best practice, you co-create solutions that work.

We need to build diverse teams of experts to help bring this transformation to fruition. The combination of leadership, vision, customer centricity with the guidance of innovation experts has proved a successful combination in many industries looking to harness the potential of digital transformation. 

Seedlab understands that the adoption of digital transformation in legal services is more sensitive and requires greater delicacy. That is why Lawyers have such a crucial role to play. It’s time to build the teams that will future-proof your firm and legal practice as a whole. Bringing the right people to the table at the right time will be critical to your success.

Closing arguments

The legal industry is at cross-roads. You can choose to embrace the trend of increased innovation or remain on the path of traditional legal service. At Seedlab, we believe that the input of lawyers is crucial to ensure that any innovation in LawTech is fit for purpose and properly accounts for the legal practices that it may wish to emulate. When lawyers fully engage in the process, LawTech innovation can unlock fundamental change and realise the full impact of its intended purpose.

  

References

1. “Law Firms in Transition – An Altman Weil Flash Survey”, 2017, Thomas S Clay and Eric A Seeger

2. “2016 Future Trends for Legal Services – Global Research Study”, June 2016, Deloitte

3. “Report on the State of the Legal Market”, 2017, Thomson Reuters and Georgetown Law.

4. “Are you ready for the LawTech Transformation?”, 2016, Ian Marshall, MacQuarie.

5. http://www.robertreeveslaw.com/blog/15-tech-based-legal-disruptors/