The Road Ahead — How Legal Technology Can Help you Thrive in 2022

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When it comes to judging legal technology’s ability to positively impact your firm’s success, it’s an open-and-shut case. According to Forbes, digitally mature organisations have an advantage over digitally immature organisations in terms of performance, profitability, scalability, and client loyalty. Furthermore, research by Thomson Reuters and Georgetown Law highlights that the law firms most open to change — i.e. blending new technology with existing legal practice — would “undoubtedly emerge as the market leaders.” 

What’s driving this need for change and why should you take notice? 

1. Clients

Expectations are sky high for rapid, seamless service that aligns around client needs. Your clients are used to a digitally sophisticated customer experience from banking to insurance - they’ll expect the same from their legal counsel. They also know that technology enables even more personalisation, which in this context means allowing lawyers to spend more time with their clients and less on paperwork. Clients themselves will increasingly choose firms whose use of technology frees legal professionals to deliver valuable consultancy and business advice. Savvy clients also understand that technology can generate important cost efficiencies which they will want to see reflected in invoices. 

2. Processes

The new legal landscape is one in which billings are down and competition for business is soaring. This has been driven by the global readjustments of the last two years. What this means for law firms is an urgent need for new business and operational models optimised for the challenges of modern practice: the ever expanding regulatory environment, a race for top talent and an increasing pressure from savvy clients. These models need to demonstrate an increased value proposition to clients, unlock efficiencies throughout a firm’s processes, and make financial sense where billable hours are scarcer than previously. The clearest route to a firm’s success is through digital transformation and the automation of routine tasks. The result - increased responsiveness and efficiency — can be seen very clearly in firms that have transformed. What’s more, as more firms evolve, there is an even greater need to remain competitive.

3. Skills and talent

Firstly, when it comes to acquiring skilled professionals, your UK general counsel clients are also your competition. Because they are all-in on digital transformation, when they do use outside partners, like you, they’ll expect your people to be as skilled as theirs and your firm to operate with supreme tech-driven efficiency. This need to compete digitally is shown in a Thomson Reuters report which states that 89% of UK general counsel are looking for their law firms to embrace technology, and 95% feel they should be investing in more innovative ways of knowledge sharing.

Secondly, as digitally native generations enter the workforce, their innate tech proficiencies and desire to work in a modern, data-driven workplace mean those law firms that are unable or unwilling to deliver flexible, fast-paced, collaborative working are likely to lose out on acquiring the brightest minds. In a similar vein, older generations, with family commitments, also seek out firms that deploy technology in ways that address the traditional work-life imbalance. 

Roads were made for journeys, not destinations

Investing in great legal technology isn’t just about solving any individual problem. It’s about working with you, your firm, and your clients; understanding your changing requirements; and supporting your business to thrive by:

  • Reducing compliance risks 
  • Saving time and removing inefficiencies 
  • Improving collaboration with teams, staff, and clients
  • Supporting new ways of working
  • Attracting top tier talent
  • Connecting you to global opportunities

Never stop asking, "Is there a better way?" 

Cutting out extraneous processes and menial tasks is the shortest path to streamlining operations, helping to attract and retain both clients and staff. The easiest means of achieving this? Automation. 

Every hour an AI system completes basic functions such as document searches and filing puts countless hours back into staff schedules for interacting with clients and practising law — the skills your client will need.  Advanced technologies can also support complex decision-making at speed and uncover new case insights; a massive benefit to pressured legal professionals.

The case for digital transformation, then, is simple. It is about remaining competitive not only within the legal sector itself but also within the minds of those who wish to work with and for you.

Where do you go from here?

The main roadblock for law firms is selecting technologies that will deliver rapid results. The technology that offers practices the best chance for success is that which has been designed specifically from the point of view of law firms. 

This technology that appreciates the specifics and nuances of working within the legal sector helps lawyers work even more productively — as opposed to an off-the-shelf solution equally likely to be sold to a manufacturing or retail business

Technology providers who understand that a modern law firm is as much a commercial enterprise as it fosters relationships with clients and staff are the ones who can deliver long-lasting, purposeful change to practices. These providers will help reinforce any digital transformation with effective cultural transformation to ensure their customers experience success when undergoing such seismic change.

DISCO: World-class engineering with a deep love and respect for the law 

As a leading provider of software as a service solutions developed by lawyers for lawyers, DISCO is reinventing legal technology to automate and simplify complex and error-prone tasks that distract from practising law.

DISCO helps law firms manage transformation at speed. While others may offer tools that create the illusion of digital transformation, DISCO’s deep understanding of legal practice, backed by ongoing support from our professional services and client success teams throughout your transformative journey, allows your organisation to thrive, at pace, in the changing legal landscape.

To understand more about what DISCO can do to help create a true digital transformation within your practice, download our ebook.

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Stephen Dearing

Stephen Dearing is General Manager on DISCO's EMEA team. He has extensive experience of building, developing and coaching high-performing businesses and has held several international senior leadership and advisory positions within the software, enterprise, financial technology and data industries.