Tech Trends That Are Reshaping The Legal Industry Despite Drawback

Alex Siryi
By Alex Siryi, Tech writer with 8 years of experience in helping the business audience better understand the complex and ever-shifting world of software development.
6th September |

Technology is slowly but steadily making its way into the legal industry. Are there any trends most lawyers will be forced to adopt over the course of the next couple of years?

After working closely with the legal industry for the better part of the decade we have noticed that it tries its best to stay in a vacuum. 

Countless tech companies actively reject the benefits of automation in favor of maintaining the status quo. Moreover, these firms don’t do it out of spite. Most lawyers have learned that the way they do business works. 

Always. 

The dot.com bust, the market crash in 2008, the implications of COVID or any other disruptive event that shatters giants from other industries – neither caused any significant change in the legal sector. 

Surprisingly enough, the catalyst for change came from within the industry. Those law firms that have chosen to become pioneers in the adoption of legal automation are showing much faster growth and scalability. 

Here are several examples of success through automation:

  • With the help of AI, a contract can be reviewed in less than an hour, saving 20-90% of the time needed to perform this work manually without sacrificing accuracy.
  • JP Morgan launched their in-house program, COIN, which extracts 150 attributes from 12,000 commercial credit agreements and contracts in a few seconds. This is equivalent to 360,000 hours of legal work by lawyers and loan officers per year.
  • It is estimated that 23% of work done by lawyers can be automated by existing technology.

In a nutshell, technological innovation is leaking itself into the legal industry despite the drawbacks. What are the key trends you should have an open eye for? 

Elevation of the client experience

Lawyers tend to prioritize personal connections with their clients over communication through online channels. That said, technology that is used to elevate the client experience rather than to digitize it plays a huge role in today’s online-first world. 

What do we mean by that?

The ability to access your services through a mobile app or a website is nice. But offering your users a better, more personalized experience in these mediums such as forms that autocomplete based on the data you already have or a chatbot that guides a user to an answer they were looking for, etc. – all of these features are priceless. 

“Any technology that makes the client experience more convenient, seamless, and transparent will increase both the quantity and quality of cases for law firms. Against the backdrop of consumers choosing convenient experiences through companies like DoorDash, Uber, Shopify, and Podium, the question is, will law firms evolve or fall behind?”

 Joseph Jenkins, Head of Legal Growth, Podium

Automation of administrative processes

According to the Legal Trends report by Clio, of 2,915 U.S. legal professionals, the lawyers devote 48 percent of their time on administrative tasks, such as licensing and continuing education, office administration, generating and sending bills, configuring technology and collections.

Obviously, juggling all of these tasks at once leaves little to no room for lawyers to focus on the work they do during billable hours. 

If technology can take care of the routine – it very well should. 

A higher emphasis on cybersecurity

A survey that took place in 2019 indicated that 26% of the responding law firms have experienced some sort of a security breach. This resulted in the fact that 31% of companies (in contrast to only 25% a year before) had an incident response plan in place. The same raise was expected for 2020 and 2021. 

Data Privacy regulations

With the introduction of GDPR in the EU and much closer attention to personal data from the US government at state level, most law firms have figured out that the only option is to play the long game and comply. 

Unfortunately, the regulations are growing in complexity, size, and scale, forcing legal companies to look for automated solutions or third-party consultants to aid in this domain.

Custom development

As legal businesses are dipping their toes into various automation solutions, most find that SaaS is not the model they are willing to go with.

Most out of the box solutions are too cookie cutter to make applicable sense in terms of actually optimizing a workflow rather than adding a few extra steps of tweaking and adjusting the settings into the mix. 

In addition to that, most pre-made tools simply don’t possess the functionality to fit into established business processes. These tools lack the customizability and personalization lawyers pride themselves on. 

In contrast to the failings of the SaaS solutions, custom software development is raising to the challenge by eliminating the drawbacks.