Now almost three years ago, the pandemic’s onset brought pervasive, perpetual and exponential change to business models across every industry. However, one of the most widespread shifts remains the obligation to digitally transform.
While the legal industry has been known to take a traditional approach to conducting business and is well-known for its reluctance to adopt modern technologies, the global pandemic all but forced law firms to embrace them at a much faster pace than the legal industry had seen to date. From increased cloud adoption to AI integration, the tools now utilized by law firms hold the power to spark a new era of law firm business models.
In the cycling world, the margin of victory is often mere seconds—which means small factors, from aerodynamics to the temperature of an athlete’s sleeping quarters, can impact performance. While these details may seem infinitesimal, they compound into more meaningful and large-scale performance gains in aggregate.
British Cycling team coach Sir Dave Brailsford famously applied this theory of aggregating marginal gains in 2002 to snap the country's Olympic gold medal-less streak. Just 13 years later, the team made marginal improvements that resulted in three Tour de France titles and 14 Olympic gold medals, a remarkable turnaround in performance.
The legal sector remains one of the most document-intensive industries today. Yet, many smaller law firms continue to keep huge troves of data onsite, in digital format and as paper copies. It’s expensive and time-consuming to manage, exposes them to security risks, and is a poor fit for today’s hybrid workplace. Clients are increasingly demanding better data management from their legal advisors.
By moving to unified cloud-based document management platforms, smaller law firms can punch above their weight — benefitting from the same kind of seamless digital workflows as their larger counterparts. That’s the way to improve productivity, client service, and business outcomes.
How do you measure your return on what is probably the largest investment your firm makes each year? Whether it is a major capital investment in a new document management system or the ongoing maintenance of software, hardware and systems, many millions of £s/$s are spent every year by law firms and legal departments.
User adoption of these systems must be seen as critical. Implementation of new technology projects will not meet expectation, or could even fail entirely, if the teams tasked with driving adoption don’t prioritise helping users through technology and process changes.
When the pandemic hit it forced law practices to modernise. Those still using old paper methods quickly needed to adopt new tech and those already using digital systems needed to make sure they were easily accessible for staff from home and able to operate under these new pressures.
Everyone was suddenly adopting new ways to work and finding the new technologies they could use to continue delivering the same service level to their clients.
The legal sector is on a digital transformation journey. While some business processes have been successfully digitised, there are firms that are still relying on manual input, or legacy systems, to complete tasks. Even those firms that are investing in IT modernisation have not necessarily been able to drive the expected benefits. Legal processes are still often time-consuming and stressful for both lawyer and client. This not only creates a poor client experience, but it can also dominate the time of high-value members of staff who should be delivering more profitable services.
We live in an era in which data volumes are multiplying exponentially – representing a clear and present hazard for law firms from potential data breaches and the soaring costs of data storage. Here in part two of our data disposition series, Chris Giles suggests how firms can go about controlling data’s proliferation.
The LawTech landscape is currently at its most buoyant - with tech start-ups developing some of the most innovative and ground-breaking solutions as well as acquisitions from larger organisations taking place across the sector. There’s been a significant amount of investment in this space by providers and venture capitalists alike, and nothing to indicate it slowing down.
What are the issues, challenges and information governance considerations that firms should be aware of in relation to matter mobility? Chris Giles surveys an evolving landscape.
Matter mobility is a component of information governance that is now of growing concern to law firms, simply because it’s becoming more and more common for both lawyers and clients to move firm. Accordingly, firms are well advised to direct some concerted effort to ensuring that as part of their information governance programme, they reduce the risks of matter mobility management and minimise its unhelpful effects on productivity and client service levels. But first, your firm needs to be clear about the inherent hazards of matter mobility and the attendant negative impacts.
"Software is eating the world," wrote Marc Andreessen in The Wall Street Journal in 2011. More recently, we have heard claims that both Services (as in the" as-a-Service" model) and AI are eating Software. The foundation, in addition to raw computing power, of both the "as-a-Service" model and AI is data. Loads of structured and unstructured data. Data is used for training AI algorithms and 'Big Data' generated by an organisation's business processes and interactions with customers (including end customers), business partners, vendors and other external parties. Most organisations are more or less drowning in data, and their users struggle to navigate all the disparate and siloed "data lakes" (pun intended) available to them.
Finding a hidden story can be crucial to winning litigation but finding it can often take a huge amount of discovery – which can be costly and takes time. Whether it’s buried among a thousand or ten million documents, legal teams need to be able to access the “hot documents” or the story telling documents quickly, to ensure they know the real story and can craft their winning argument. But, with external factors like hybrid working practices changing the way people work, legal teams must find new ways to stay ahead.
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