But there remains challenges to adopting new technology
A major independent study into innovation in the legal sector has revealed that while the majority of law firms were making increasing use of day-to-day technology, there is still more to be done.
The research carried out for the Solicitors Regulation Authority by the University of Oxford found that the use of some existing technology has soared over the last 18 months. 87% of firms now use video conferencing to meet clients and two-thirds (66%) store data in the cloud. The majority of firms (90%), regardless of size or sector, reported that changes made to help them deliver services during the Covid pandemic were now here to stay.
Generally, use of law firm technology was found to be highest among younger firms. Other adopters included those operating through alternative business structures and those working in areas where technology was already established, such as conveyancing. When it came to more advanced technology – such as automated documents, interactive websites and artificial intelligence – a little more than a third (37%) of law firms said they were currently using these.
7 Common Challenges to Law Firm Technology
It’s clear that adopting law firm technology can provide a competitive advantage for law firms. However, adopting new technology can seem overwhelming at first. These are a few common challenges that can put firms off introducing new technology.
Large Time Investments
Taking the time to invest in law firm technology adoption often means time lost on casework. This is especially true with small firms and solo practitioners. But these types of costs are short-lived. After an initial investment period, most legal practitioners learn how new technology can become a time saver in the long run.
The Risk of the Unknown
The short-term costs of technological adoption can lead to great long-term benefits, but nothing about the future is guaranteed. The time and energy spent learning and integrating a new technology should end up cutting significant costs in the short future.
Operationally, it may make sense to adopt different forms of law firm technology to meet the demands of various components of your firm’s business model. However, your technological solutions should be compatible and capable of communicating and operating together. Take care to not limit your firm’s capabilities with incompatible systems.
Security and Confidentiality
Cybersecurity is growing more important as an increasing array of legal activities move to a digital format. As artificial intelligence and other advanced solutions become more common, they will become more suited to the world of legal confidentiality and client privilege. However, it remains your responsibility to ensure that your clients are protected. This can be easily addressed with effective risk management strategies.
Managing Client Expectations
Technology has transformed all of our lives. You will find that more of your clients (and potential clients) will expect that you are up-to-date on the latest technology. Show your clients that you are not only a professional in your field, but that you have the knowledge and skills to best serve them with new legal technology.
Keeping Up with the Competition
Whether you like it or not, your competitors will get a lead on your firm with better legal technology. Don’t fall behind the times by being resistant to change and to the positive impact of technology on law firms. Instead, embrace change and use technology as an opportunity to continue your education.
Thinking Your Practice is too Small to Benefit from Legal Technology
There are tremendous benefits available for small law firms that take the time to properly upgrade their technology. Whether you’re a small claims lawyer looking for a way to speed up drafting or a small business lawyer trying to keep a pulse on trends in other practice areas, upgrading legal technology can create huge benefits.
Making Adoption Easier
Legal practices are run buy legal professionals. Nobody expects you to be an IT expert too! Going it alone with the adoption of new technology just doesn’t make sense. It would be like your clients trying to do their own legal work.
When it comes to technology you have two options. Employee IT staff or work with an outsourced provider. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. We discuss those in detail on this article – Outsourced IT vs In-House. It can even be advantageous to have a combination of both.
For most looking for improvements to IT an outsourced provision will be the most cost effective solution. We’d recommend looking for someone with knowledge of the sector, and experience working with other solicitors.
Partnering with a Managed Service Provider will help alleviate many of the common challenges identified above. The MSP will be able to reduce your time investment by taking much of the burden for installation and configuration. They’ll be able to train you and your staff, meaning you’ll get the benefit of those efficiencies more quickly. The MSP will also be able to advise on compatibility and will be heavily focused on security and confidentiality.
How We Can Help
We work with a number of legal firms in the East Midlands and beyond. We’ve helped them with their technology adoption and got them to a point where they use technology as a competitive edge.
If you’d like to find out more about how we can help start by getting in touch and telling us your issues and current needs. You can call us on 0115 8220200. If you’d rather we call you then complete our Contact Form, or book a time to chat in our calendar.
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