Getting Started: 4 Adaptations to Bring Your Legal Processes Into the Modern Era

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In philosophy and practice, even small adaptations can have a meaningful impact on the road toward greatness, whereas expansive change programmes can fail without proper execution. With that in mind, we have brought together a list of four adaptations that can help a law firm at any stage of its operation develop and improve. Some suggestions are small and easy to adopt while others require thought and investment. What remains true is their individual and collective power to augment the business of law — to future-proof operations in ways that help lawyers focus on value-generating legal work.

1. Create a culture enhanced by data and analysis 

Data is the lifeblood of the modern-day law firm — not just because it is the essence of cases, but because of its innate and often untapped power to inform decision-making. Recent research from Capgemini shows that data-driven organisations outperform competitors in revenue, turnover, and profitability, and a Thomson Reuters report states that the key to a law firm’s continued success was “being more data-driven in your decision-making.” 

The argument for using data to inform key decisions is both clear and comprehensive. But despite its proven application, many firms still have yet to embrace the opportunity to enact data-driven decision making. Obviously experience and precedent will always retain utility, but imagine what that you could do if you could layer that experience with a report analysing months or years worth of data. 

So, how can firms start small when it comes to leveraging data and analysis?

  1. Educate your teams on the importance of embedding data into every decision as well as the types of data that they can use. This may include leveraging cross-matter intelligence to help inform decisions, a repository of templates and key learnings, or regular review cycles with teams to learn what has and hasn’t gone well
  2. Invest in tools that do the heavy lifting for you, that sit behind your monitor and collect and analyse data
  3. Bridge the gap between matters and don’t let knowledge walk out the door — try to create central repositories of learning between cases that survive even when people leave and new matters come in, and  
  4. Consider employing knowledge management and innovation staff or empowering your IT teams to support the creation of data repositories and analytics. 

2. Arm your firm with scalable, easy-to-use edisclosure

Edisclosure is an essential part of litigation and dispute resolution. It’s necessary in order to meet the challenges of modern practice — the management and review of vast volumes of data, the governance and control of that data, and lawyers’ continued compliance with the Civil Procedure Rules and Disclosure Pilot Scheme. However, in a competitive market for clients and talent, not all edisclosure solutions were created equal, and it's important that firms prospect solutions capable of maximising lawyers’ value-generating potential. 

Firms should look to distinguish their expertise and experience with cutting-edge, future-proofed, and intuitive technology that enhances speed-to-outcomes, and transforms the processes associated with traditional, legacy edisclosure solutions.

Look for edisclosure solutions, like DISCO Ediscovery, that differentiate your practice from the competition with:

  • Seamless, and intuitive user interfaces and customisable workflows, views, and security that give your firm control over data.
  • Cloud-native architecture that offers super-fast performance, regardless of database size or complex file types.
  • Transparent and predictable pricing models that eliminates surprises and allows for predictability and better budget planning.
  • Trusted security that mitigates risk by keeping data secure, confidential, and accessible 24x7.
  • World class professional services that can assist with routine matter management, implementing best practices, and creating AI workflows that deliver extraordinary outcomes. 

Make an informed decision about an edisclosure provider that partners with your firm, transforms the data-intensive processes of disclosure and review, and enables lawyers to focus on ever more substantive, value-generating legal work.

3. Augment your work with systematic AI

AI continues to grow in prominence and use within the legal industry with the power to reshape the entire operational identity of the modern-day law firm. 

The use of AI in your law firm is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s essential if you want to manage big data, and attract ever more tech-savvy clients focussed on speed, discretion and outcomes. AI is already being leveraged by law firms across the globe to accelerate time-sink tasks, deliver improved customer experiences, and productise lawyer expertise. Its application has delivered positive results in everything from billing automation and contract review to edisclosure to even litigation prediction

Considering the breadth of applications on offer, it can be challenging to identify the best place to start with AI. Consider starting with low-hanging AI fruit, such as easy-to-implement software that embeds machine learning into your operations. Then, scale that solution outwards to incorporate wider legal affairs to unlock a much broader array of efficiencies. Better yet, when selecting your AI technology provider, find a partner that can help you develop processes and workflows to get the most out of your investment and help your teams feel comfortable with the use of AI.

When it comes to edisclosure and document review, using advanced AI can significantly speed up review — and decrease costs. AI can help detect and surface relevant documents and suggest tags, with recommendations continuing to improve as the review goes on. In many instances, this type of AI use in edisclosure can cut your review time in half. 

4. Price to win, and cost to save 

In a world where the volume of legal work is growing, alternative pricing arrangements can be made to cater to a broader range of customers through the likes of subscription-based fees, sliding-scale fees, flat fees, and retainers. This may feel like a disruptive change, but with small iterative amends to pricing – such as implementing fee caps at the outset or implementing project-based pricing  — your firm can make itself more competitive in a marketplace where opportunity is abundant. 

Moreover, give your clients peace of mind by choosing third party tech and service providers that offer pricing guarantees with clear, unambiguous cost structures — no hidden or scaling fees. This will save you and your firm the professional embarrassment of surprise or unforeseen cost. 

Take the faster path to lasting change

In life as in law, it’s sometimes the smallest changes that yield the greatest results. From the beating of a butterfly’s wing to a small shift in the predictability of pricing, the impact of iterative upgrades can quickly amount to significant transformation. These are just a handful of ways in which law firms can outmanoeuvre the competition and set themselves up for success. To find out more about the ways in which DISCO can help you create faster paths to lasting change, get in touch today

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Philip Demetriou

Philip Demetriou is Senior Director of UK and European Sales at DISCO. With more than 20 years of international edisclosure experience working for KPMG, Epiq, and Consilio, he has an extensive knowledge of how law firms and legal departments can embrace the benefits of cloud-based solutions to transform their businesses.