How Future Ready is Your Firm?

May 13, 2020

Future ReadyTrends in the New Coronavirus Reality

How is the new “remote work” culture affecting your firm? Which legal tech will serve you best? Are you able to meet changing client demands and expectations in this new technological age? If any of these sound like issues you’re dealing with, take heart, you’re not alone.

Clearly, the top trend affecting the way legal practice will be carried out both in the present and going forward is the ability to leverage technology to account for the new world order — remote work. Working from home is not simply going away after the COVID-19 restrictions are eased. Companies are finding more and more that remote work can be a valuable asset to their business.

Videoconferencing, e-filing, and document automation and management are the key tools that allow law firms and the courts to operate remotely. For video, Zoom has become ubiquitous with videoconferencing, though there are other players as well.

On the document side, Korbitec has the industry covered for not only document automation with its ACL5 product, but also for safe, secure exchanging of documents from anywhere, either internally or externally outside the firm, through its xchangedocs platform.

Eventually, some sense of normalcy will return, but these types of technologies will continue to be leaned on. And after the coronavirus restrictions end, lawyers can also get back to worrying about the “other” matters they face moving forward.

For that, the 2019 Wolters Kluwer independent global survey on the future of the legal profession illustrates the top trends expected to have the greatest impact on the industry moving into the new decade. It was assembled well before the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated “remote work” changes (noted above).

Nevertheless, the results are revealing, and still relevant. The good news is that the answers to deal with and meet most of these challenges are now, more than ever, in plain sight.

  1. Coping with increased volume and complexity of information
  2. Emphasis on improved efficiency and productivity
  3. Understanding legal technology of highest value
  4. Meeting changing client and leadership expectations
  5. Financial issues (price competition, fee structures, cost containment)

In their abilities to deal with these trends, the study was able to define three different types of organizations, all based on their stage of technology adoption:

  • Technology Leaders: Organizations that are leveraging tech today, and will continue to invest in new technologies in the near future
  • Transitioning Organizations: Somewhat leveraging technology today, with plans to invest in the near future
  • Trailing Organizations: Not leveraging tech today, with no plans to invest in the future (though only 4% identified in this group)

Not surprisingly, the survey found that the ability of an organization’s confidence to deal with the Five Trends, both now and in the next three years, was directly related to which of these groups they fell into.

Investment in legal tech globally has more than quadrupled in the previous two years – from USD 233 million in 2017 to over $1.2 billion in investments as of the fall of 2019 — and counting. The reason is simple: legal professionals are becoming more and more aware that the returns from using these technologies come in increased productivity, client satisfaction, and resulting financial gains.

In summary, the Future Ready Lawyer survey’s conclusions are clear: “Technology is a differentiator.” The needs facing all of us during the coronavirus pandemic have made this even more abundantly obvious. Legal professionals who qualify as Technology Leaders are, indeed, future ready.