Is Biglaw ready for the benefits of transformational change?
One of the main barriers to the adoption of Lawtech is the oft-quoted misconception that “Lawtech is just a fad.” The more history a firm has and the greater loyalty towards legacy systems, the more likely this sentiment will raise its head.
While trends in new innovation are often surrounded by a certain amount of hype, that doesn’t mean that all new innovation is a fly-by-night fad. There’s a big difference between knowing what is genuinely valuable and discounting something just because it’s not been tried before.
Technology has changed everything in the workplace, both in the legal profession, and in the day-to-day lives of clients. Imagine going back just a few years and working without the easily accessible resources that we now take for granted, for example, your smart phone. Only a few short years ago most people would have never guessed that we would be able to facetime our loved ones at any time from almost anywhere, through free and accessible wifi. Today a 5-year-old can do it.
Lawtech is evolving in the same way. Technology is constantly developing to fit the constantly changing demands of the legal sector. Those who embrace these changes have the opportunity to drive business transformation, while others risk being left behind.
Clients today expect instant access to all services, including their lawyers, while price alerts, peer ratings and social media significantly weaken customer loyalty. Add to this, the increased use of apps and online services for simple transactions and the future looks grim for law firms that cling to traditional business models.
Innovation is the key to minimizing this risk. However, implementing technology for technology’s sake is never a good strategy. Instead of throwing technology at a problem, the most successful digital transformation looks at business challenges first, then integrates the right technology. This gives Biglaw an advantage over seemingly more agile, smaller law firms. Larger firms have the resources to evaluate, integrate and test technology to achieve the best business outcome.
According to Deloitte, 100,000 legal roles will be automated by 2036. The report estimates that technology has already contributed to the loss of more than 31,000 jobs in the sector. There’s a silver lining here, though: an overall increase of approximately 80,000 roles. Most of these roles are higher skilled and better paid than the ones lost to automation.
By lowering the price of law it becomes accessible to a broader market while freeing highly skilled workers to spend more time on the tasks humans do best, such as advising clients, leading negotiations and appearing in court. Instead of replacing staff, Lawtech can help law firms do the work they were already doing, but better, for more clients.
What’s not to like about that?