2020 catapulted legal professionals into uncharted territories and hence expedited the adoption of new legal tech and remote working. The world is becoming increasingly digital as a result of the pandemic, and even the tech-averse legal professionals have had no choice but to come around to the idea of embracing new technical innovations and their benefits.
The adversity now lies in deciding which technologies to adopt in order to create a resilient strategy which improves the way legal professionals can work. Below are some of the major trends we foresee reshaping legal tech in 2021:
When assessing legal tech opportunities, it is imperative that legal professionals first diagnose specific problems that can be solved, rather than implementing legal technology in search of an issue.
Legal tech is no simple panacea, and its deployment must be well assessed in terms of risk and suitability; the most far-reaching and most efficient solutions bear a large amount of complexity in their basic capabilities.
As legal departments become more au fait with legal tech, they will ensure stringent planning takes place prior to the incorporation of any new solution. They will be less inclined to make previously prevalent mistakes like seeking a legal tech roadmap without ample consideration of business or end-user needs.
As a general rule of thumb, companies that consider how a technology will improve specific operational functionality or business results have a much more seamless journey than those that don’t. Such thorough and clear-cut approaches to legal tech adoption will be much more prominent in 2021.
Clients of law firms expect a more proactive approach from firms to keep them up to date with the changing nature of the legal and regulatory framework. In recent years the complexity of legislation and regulation has grown considerably. Using older legal tech to monitor regulatory updates as a news service has proven to be expensive, error-prone and inefficient. New technologies that can pinpoint the impact of regulatory change are vital to supporting legal professionals ensure that their organizations policies, procedures, manuals and advice are up to date.
Regulatory change automation will drive down the cost of managing changes and open up a new opportunity for partnership between law firms and their clients.
Many in the legal industry continue to carry out mundane tasks which could be easily performed by legal tech. Therefore, automation will become the front-of-mind choice for organisations who wish to speed up their processes and see fit for such tools in their business.
The most significant trend will be document automation. Legal tech trends include some forward-looking organisations gravitating towards the use of automated software for document drafting. Previously tedious and time-consuming tasks are being completed in a matter of minutes. The pandemic has forced lawyers to embrace electronic signatures; the same approach will be taken towards document preparation and updating.
Overall, we are seeing trends in the legal industry tend towards the adoption of automation due to its capacity to, not only boost productivity, but also reduce the time spent on meticulous tasks.
For decades, companies in most sectors were open to the concept of allowing their employees to work from home. The legal industry, however, was always less receptive to the thought. As a result of the pandemic, law firms were forced to facilitate remote working and discovered the feared disturbances to their work were in fact much less drastic than imagined.
Remote work has, however, elevated communication standards, and legal professionals must therefore concentrate on developing and maintaining smooth communication and collaboration channels for every step of the client engagement.
Thankfully, the legal world has now become much more welcoming to the idea of remote work and legal professionals are seeking to incorporate into their firm polices even post-vaccination.
This new flexibility will also open the door for talented professionals to join continue a career in the legal professions that otherwise might not have been possible. This is true for legal professionals in both the public and private sectors.
2020 no doubt confirmed the significance of human connections. Consumers are more careful and cautious than ever; they require swift answers to their worries, albeit by a warm and empathetic voice. To gain a competitive advantage nowadays, lawyers are expected to be constantly available. Lawyers simply cannot be there to tend to their clients’ every need, so selecting a partner can be step in and provide that empathy will be a key determinant in deciding who excels and flourishes in the coming years.
There has already been a movement towards investment in tools that offer that human touch, and this trend is only set to accelerate in 2021.