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4 Ways That Technology Will Disrupt Your Legal Firm

Julie WhitingAugust 19th 2019

With the technological advancements that are constantly occurring in today’s world, there are inevitably going to be digital disruptions in most sectors. But what kind are affecting the Legal sector? Should your firm be concerned and are there ways to combat these disruptions? Read on and learn about what will be affected and what you can do to positively implement digital transformation to avoid future obstacles.

In all honesty, not everything can be digitalised within the Legal sector. However, there are opportunities for digital transformation in most areas of Legal firms that will contribute to an increase in efficiency, as well as reduced costs and the opportunity to provide firms with an advantage over their competitors. Before we get started, we must acknowledge that we understand that the Legal sector is a paper-based industry and there is no getting around this fully and digitalising everything. There are specific documents that need to be physically present in order for actions and certificates to be processed to embassies, all of which are very important. However, there are a multitude of processes that can be automated which will save people both time and money, which is ideal in the Legal world as fees can be quite expensive as they are.  

Objection- Surely this means that less time will be charged for if services can be enhanced in their speed of completion and would result in less income for the firm. 

Overruled- It will in fact be more likely to increase your customer base as more will be satisfied with the quick return of answers, information and advice from yourselves and the reduced cost of legal fees. Therefore, you would be in a better position to acquire new customers and be able to compete with your competitors in this sense.  

So, with that out of the way, let’s get started on the 4 ways that technology will disrupt your firm if you don’t look to implement some form of digital transformation.  

It all begins with Cloud Computing

Firstly, we must address the fact that cloud computing is the main body of any digital transformation, as additional aspects such as bots and automation, work conjointly with the cloud. Cloud computing is of high importance due to the rise of 24/7 consumer culture. There are generations who have grown up with technology and therefore, there is a higher demand for most organisations to be using technology in order to appeal to this audience. This means that many will need to change or at least adapt their traditional ways of working in order to thrive and survive. As we also mentioned earlier, more and more firms are realising the advantages that technology can bring to the Legal sector and so if you aren’t on board with this, you may be left behind and struggling to compete with others for your clients. Such advantages include: 

  • Increased accessibility and security as a result of digitalising documents and storing them in a centralised database. Of course, there is always a risk of losing data but by having it on the cloud, you have copies which are protected and less likely to be lost.  
  • It is easier to become and remain GDPR compliant as all your data will be in one place in the cloud. 
  • Our CRM systems and case management systems also help to streamline and simplify processes throughout the firm which will lead to an increase in quicker collaborations and productivity. 
  • Flexible and agile working is also on the rise and with data stored on the cloud, you would have the ability to access any information required, at anytime, anywhere.  

The above benefits will no doubt aid in completing tasks and cases in a shorter time period as you won’t have to search for the paper documents, nor try to find where they are stored and get them sent over from a different branch of your firm. As a result of this, legal fees will be lower, and clients will also be satisfied with the speed of service and so will be more likely to stay and recommend your firm to others who need legal help. Flexible working also contributes positively to the work-life balance of your employees and so being on the cloud can also help with retaining and gaining new employees. 

Automation, Automation, Automation

Automation doesn’t have to be complicated and there are many mundane and repetitive processes that can be automated which would save time and improve the efficiency in your firm. With repetitive tasks being automated (like billing and other administrative tasks), this would bring down your administration costs and reduce any risk of human error with manual information inputs. Automation can also help create smart contracts through the use of blockchain technology, which allows records to be kept on a digital ledger. The ‘smart contract’ feature allows coded programs to act on predefined triggers from these records and can aid in drafting contracts, verifying legal documents and more. The benefits of having this piece of technology include lower fees, and a reduction in manual and repetitive administrative work which would give lawyers and other legal bodies to spend more time on other legal insights and cases.

What do you get when you mix Chatbots with Lawyers? ’LawBots’

Chatbots, or ‘Lawbots’ are increasing in use within the legal sector and are being utilised as another way to streamline customer communications and provide general legal advice. As a result of more industries buying in to offering clients 24/7 access to information, there is more expectation from clients to gain an immediate response. Ultimately, this means that Legal Secretaries and others are having to spend more time on the simple enquiries rather than the work that will assist in the completion of matters. What many don’t yet realise, is that it can be so simple to set up an always on, readily available Customer Service Bot within your firm which will triage and respond to simple client enquiries through a multitude of digital channels. A bot can quickly and easily complete tasks ranging from notifying a client when a document is ready to view, to receiving updates on the purchase of a property, and this in return can save many hours of billable time.  

Does a bot cost the Earth? Surprisingly, a bot is not an expensive piece of technology in relation to the benefits that you’ll receive by having one. They are a quick solution to start consuming cutting edge cloud technology that will make an immediate business impact by assisting clients with simple enquiries, and even directing internal staff where certain documents are stored, no matter the time. As well as saving time and money, an investment in a bot can help your firm compete with others in the Legal sector.  

I have some examples where firms and customers have thrived on the use of chatbots, so your firm could definitely reap the benefits if you so wish: 

  • DoNotPay was created to dispense legal advice when someone has received a fine and is looking for some basic legal assistance. Now, there are several advantages that immediately leap out at us here, but the main one is this; this application is free (to those in the US) and so this is a major bonus to the customer seeking free, trust-worthy advice instead of having to invest heavily in an actual human lawyer. We all know that legal fees are expensive and not everyone can afford to pay for a lawyer to help them with a simple task such as a parking fine.  
  • Rocket Lawyer is another digital chatbot that is used to help firms apply elements of documents to assemble their own legal documents, without the help of a lawyer (therefore reducing costs).  

Now, we’re not saying that you need to create an application for chatbots to be efficient. Chatbots can also help answer the simplest of legal tasks without the help of a human and once again, this would save time on manually inputting information on a case into a system, and money. We at cloudThing, have our own AI and Chatbot expert, Ed Yau, so, if you have any questions on this area and how to implement effective and efficient chatbots/lawbots, he’s your man.  

Let’s approach the bench - When it comes to Big Data, are you using it to its full capacity?

Finally, we reach the topic of Big Data and Legal Research. Big Data refers to the large sets of data and processes used to capture, analyse and extract value from data sets, and it can be used to find relevant information quickly, such as similar cases to use for evidence. Its main emphasis is on management and helping with making better decisions in real time. Due to the accessibility of data stored online, it is easier to see everything that is occurring in the firm to ensure that there are consistent service levels, as well as viewing the internal pipeline of clients. Of course, all data has to be GDPR compliant and even with this in mind, the data can still safely be used in optimising marketing campaigns by identifying up-selling opportunities. 

Cognitive analytics have also proven efficient when it comes to reviewing contracts, for example, as it has shown to save roughly 80% of time taken for contracts to be reviewed manually. This will mean that employees will need to spend less time overlooking contracts which will allow them to use time more effectively in other matters.  

So, data can be used safely and effectively and with these processes, it will allow you to find the exact information you need in as little time as possible, resulting in a better customer experience, and employees who are less stressed when trying to find information for their cases. 

To summarise, tech trends are going to assist your organisation to work quicker and smarter than your competitors.Yes, there is a cost with all this (like there is with anything), but surely this investment is overflowing with benefits and opportunities?These processes and transformations are not impossible to achieve, and we are here to help! Many other law firms are already on-board with digitalising processes and if you want to stay up-to-date and continue to compete with them, this is something you should look into. We have the expertise and knowledge to help you implement these technological advances into your firm, all you need to do is get in touch for a chat and we’ll see how we can best help you and meet your requirements. Objection? Overruled...

© Julie WhitingAugust 19th 2019

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