Today’s advances in technology are forcing many organizations to move towards digital readiness and resilience as top strategic priorities. Like most industries today, the legal industry must pivot, focusing on digital transformation as a key competitive advantage. Law firms must accelerate important changes in the way they operate, using technology and data to act proactively and deliver products and services that improve the end-to-end experience for clients, lawyers and staff. According to Gartner’s 2020 Legal Leaders Survey, Gartner highlights that “legal departments will triple their technology spending by 2025.” (1)
By digitally transforming every aspect of the legal industry, stakeholders can drive value creation and ensure they deliver business outcomes, including:
- better understand your customers,
- optimization of their activities,
- providing their workforce,
- protecting your business, and
- providing a platform for innovative growth
Almost every industry has a strategic focus on the ever-growing billion-dollar market that is digital transformation. With this focus on business digitization, it is important to understand what the transformation of the legal industry entails.
Digital transformation it’s a multidimensional reimagining of what’s possible for the entire enterprise. This requires stakeholders to assess and implement a strategic plan to digitize every aspect of the legal experience, including key touchpoints such as service and delivery, workflow, processes, team collaboration and customer engagement. Law firm stakeholders need to evaluate their people, processes, culture and technology within the firm. By doing this first, it will pinpoint areas where they can effect transformational change through automation, optimization, data and advanced technology.
Talent is an organization’s greatest asset and integral to sustaining transformation. Identifying key stakeholders and change ambassadors before and during the transformation will be critical to ensure consistent work. Skill sets should be assessed to identify the appropriate talent for each role, while seeking resources for upskilling where appropriate.
Due to due diligence requirements in the legal sector, firms have to deal with a large number of repetitive tasks. A February 4, 2020 TechRadar article on the transformative power of robotic process automation in the legal sector reports that “63% of in-house legal work is repetitive, fact-based decisions that require no human judgment or interpretation.” (2) Data-driven practices and robotic process automation with legal tasks and workflows have far-reaching productivity potential. By evaluating legal operations and product and service channels, law firms can identify opportunities to automate legal tasks and optimize productivity, which can minimize waste and inefficiencies while increasing speed to case or market. To gain a competitive advantage, developing strategies for manufacturing offerings, creating repeatable revenue models, and forming strategic alliances can ensure sustainable growth.
A legal organization’s culture will also help support transformation efforts. The mission and deliverables of digital transformation must be clearly communicated and reinforced by legal stakeholders and woven into the culture of the legal organization to successfully bridge the gap between vision and action. Every employee of the firm must not only understand the vision, but also actively participate in the transformation process and start using new tools. A culture that strongly focuses on transformation not as a destination but as a continuous journey embedded in innovation will thrive.
Technologies it is a gateway to converting product or service offerings. The use of artificial intelligence (AI), advanced technology and data-driven methods offer countless opportunities for law firms to rethink their infrastructure and automate manual and outdated processes and tasks. Companies must evaluate their existing technologies, determine how the current state compares to the future, and develop realistic strategies to achieve their technology goals.
Implementation of digital transformation
Below, we identify a few key areas of the legal industry where firms can digitize their practice using advanced technology:
Automation of documents
Document tracking and recording is of paramount importance to law firms and clients. Much of a law firm’s business model involves employees and lawyers reviewing and drafting documents, contracts and other elements, firms must streamline layoffs and improve efficiency to stay relevant and competitive. Implementing document automation technology with industry leaders such as Microsoft or Nintex, can assist the firm in providing concise and relevant documents. Additional benefits include reduced errors, improved customer experience, efficiency and profitability, knowledge retention and new customer acquisition.
Electronic tools: E-Discovery, E-Billing, E-Filing, E-Hearing
E-discovery, combined with AI-enhanced tools, has changed the way attorneys conduct investigations and is critical to a firm’s information management strategy. Using complementary platforms, firms can access data in a centralized repository and quickly act on their information. Proven benefits include increased data accuracy, increased speed of insight and decision-making, and reduced overall costs.
As technology advances, law firms can take advantage of invoicing software to save time, improve invoice accuracy, and offer a customer-centric invoicing experience. Electronic billing capabilities, for example, are offered by The sage is intact, provide law firms with the ability to create, view and deliver invoices electronically. This saves countless hours of work, eliminates errors, increases case speed, and helps law firms with efficient cash flow at the same time.
E-filing, also known as e-court, greatly automates the transmission of legal documents by optimizing productivity, reporting and scoring, particularly with banks and regulatory agencies. Large volumes of precedent-setting law firms use electronic filing systems to reduce errors, enable more efficient operations and cost savings, and improve data-driven communication with clients, banks, or law firms. This not only increases the efficiency and transparency of legal proceedings, but also speeds up access to important information.
The justice system has adopted video conferencing technology to conduct virtual hearings in many states. Electronic hearing technologies can reduce the complexity of the hearing and document management process and provide an optimized experience for all involved. These custom technologies allow users to search and present documents in real-time, view live transcripts in a shared workspace, catalog jury books with hyperlinks to all necessary documentation for one-click access, and maintain password-protected security measures to manage access to evidence and data. These technologies can significantly reduce costs, increase efficiency, and give people time to focus on higher value tasks.
Collaboration is the new normal in the workplace. When collaboration is strong, it increases productivity and teamwork, increases efficiency, improves communication, and minimizes costs and resources. with cooperation technologies such as Microsoft, clients, lawyers and staff can share, connect and communicate from a decentralized work environment on any device remotely.
Cloud computing models and deployments
Cloud computing gives law firms the opportunity to focus on important issues rather than procurement, maintenance and planning. Cloud computing models, deployments, and applications can be customized to suit a firm’s different levels of control, flexibility, and governance. Using cloud platforms such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure, law firms can securely store client data, financial records, legal documents and other information in the cloud rather than hosting the data on on-premises servers, often at a significantly lower cost. The cloud provides faster deployment, scalability, unlimited memory and high security.
AI and machine learning
The technology landscape is rich with AI and machine learning solutions. From artificial intelligence that finds patterns in data to machine learning solutions that can automate tasks, the use and integration of these tools can help legal stakeholders gain the information and insights they need to prepare for trial, draft documents, and review work products. These types of solutions allow for quick and accurate investigations and minimize the time and cost of legal work.
Business analytics and analytics
Perhaps no other modern technology has brought such seismic shifts in business potential and results than business intelligence and analytics solutions. The amount of data in the legal field is growing exponentially, which means enormous opportunities. Through data-driven technologies, e.g The table, Azure HDInsight or Power BI, legal databases of past negotiations and verdicts can be analyzed for outcomes and used to gain new insights into outcome scenarios. By leveraging firm data, firms can improve operations, testing strategies, talent acquisition, etc., ultimately maximizing shareholder and customer value.
At its core, the legal industry requires caution and restraint, as well as protecting client privacy, making the adoption of these advanced technologies a challenge. With advanced technology driving transformational change for business and client demands constantly evolving, the legal industry must pivot and embrace digital transformation as a catalyst for future success.
About Cheri Beckert
In a fast-paced, complex and uncertain market, businesses are looking for innovative ways to continue to meet changing customer needs and drive profitable revenue growth.
Digital Consulting by Cheri Beckert the team consists of strategists, technologists and analysts who have extensive industry experience and good business acumen. We deliver critical change management and drive growth in productive and cost-effective ways, helping companies predict outcomes with data while adopting and applying the right technologies to optimize performance.