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Majority of law firms aren’t investing in technology fast enough to meet client demand
Global News

Intapp logoIntapp, a leading provider of business applications for professional services firms, today released the results of a survey conducted in collaboration with The Lawyer. The survey sought to identify where firms are on the “data-driven insights and intelligent automation adoption curve.”

 

The key finding: while every law firm in the survey considered intelligent automation and data-driven insights to be highly important, there is a significant gap between this recognition and the actual investment in deploying these technologies. Although driving growth is a strategic focus of law firms, to date they have primarily invested in technology to drive operational efficiencies.

Another important insight was the significant potential for leveraging technology to make the client development process a bigger driver of profitability. This is an area that forward-thinking firms are already taking advantage of to sustain and/or improve growth.

Perceived Importance of Intelligent Automation vs. Actual Investment

  • Ninety-seven percent deem intelligent automation to be important for conflicts, yet only 44 percent of firms are taking advantage of data-driven insights in this area.
  • While 90 percent of firms believe that using data-driven insights to manage client terms is important, only 16 percent currently use technology solutions for this purpose.
  • Eighty-seven percent of firms feel intelligent automation is important for resource allocation, yet only 14 percent have invested in this area.
  • Although 86 percent of law firms agree that automation is important to deliver insights and analytics to clients, only 18 percent have, to date, made the investments necessary to embed this capability into their service delivery models.
  • Forty-four percent of respondents stated that intelligent automation for opportunity identification and cross-selling is very important, yet only 16 percent of law firms report they are currently utilizing data-driven insights for this purpose.

“As law firm clients become more informed about process, value and alternative services, long-term relationships are being challenged,” said John Hall, Intapp’s CEO. “What we’ve seen in the industry – and what this study shows – is that forward-thinking law firms are embracing a client-centric technology strategy as a driver of both top- and bottom-line growth. They are using intelligent automation, AI and other modern technologies to differentiate themselves from the majority of firms who are lagging behind.”

Firm Performance Is Positively Impacted by Investments in Technology

The “pacesetters” (those earning $700 million – $1 billion in revenue) are making the most significant technology investments to date across the entire client lifecycle, with 81 percent planning to invest slightly or significantly in client development and 74 percent planning to invest in business acceptance. Not surprisingly, the survey showed that the highest-performing firms have also made the most significant investments in innovative technologies in the areas of business acceptance and client delivery.

“People are now thinking of investing in technology because of the strategic advantage it can give them,” commented Abby Ewen, IT director, BLM. “Previously, these investments were seen as a necessary ‘keep the lights on’ evil.”

Top Three Investment Areas for Future AI Capabilities

Surveyed firms selected the following use cases as the top three investment areas for future AI capabilities: 1) seeking improvements in time recording to support accurate and prompt billing; 2) pricing to improve budgeting accuracy; and 3) identifying target opportunities through relationship mapping.

“A key challenge our firm will face over the next twelve months is the changing nature of the legal business model,” commented Mark Ford, Chief Knowledge Officer, Baker McKenzie, “The new model will be more efficient (by client demand), and this will be achieved in part by using technology, with a growing emphasis on the value that AI solutions will begin to bring.”

With $3 trillion in legal fees on the table according to the 2017 State of the Industry survey by CLOC, the more forward-thinking and global top-tier firms are the ones poised to win more business and compete successfully in this client-empowered era. For everyone else, the race to keep up with modern technology and sustain growth is only going to become faster and more challenging.

“Clients may not be asking directly for modern technology as part of their legal services, but its absence could erode demand,” said Ralph Baxter, industry thought leader and former chairman and CEO of Orrick LLP. “Forward-thinking firms recognize that process design, innovative technology and experimentation can help them better differentiate themselves, win more business, produce material improvements in their service delivery model and increase quality – all while reducing their costs.”

Survey Methodology

The survey was conducted in the United States, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Germany, and Australia by The Lawyer on behalf of Intapp. More than 300 leading law firms were surveyed, with large firms (those with 300+ lawyers) making up 60 percent of the participants and mid-size firms the remaining 40 percent. In addition, one-on-one interviews were conducted with managing partners, COOs, CFOs, CIOs, CMOs, Chief Innovation Officers and other firm executives.

Full survey results and related content are available here.

About Intapp

Intapp provides software and services that enable professional services firms to thrive in an increasingly competitive marketplace enhancing their ability to win more business, operate efficiently, manage risk, and drive client success. Over 700 customers globally, including 96 of the Global 100 Law Firms, 5 of the top 8 Global Accounting Firms, and 5 of the top 10 Global Economic Consulting Firms rely on us. We offer a Professional Services Platform - purpose built for this industry - spanning the entire Client Lifecycle with solutions for Client Development, Business Acceptance and Client Delivery. For more information, visit www.intapp.com.    

 

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