In 2021, we find ourselves reliant on technology to an unprecedented degree. There’s no area of modern life that hasn’t been touched by advances in tech – and yet the legal profession remains resistant to much of the change.
Firms which are forward-thinking, and embrace new legal innovations, are in a great position to offer clients the technologically-informed service that they’re used to in other areas of life. After all, if you can easily hold a remote facetime meeting with your doctor, plumber, or personal trainer, then why not do the same thing with your lawyer?
Let’s take a look at a few of the technologies which law firms might look to embrace.
Moving your firm’s systems to a remote, cloud-based storage solution might seem like a significant one – because it is. But it’s worth it, since storage of this kind confers a number of significant advantages. Firstly, you’re protected against sudden data loss that might arise when the physical server on your premises is lost. Secondly, you’re able to scale your storage according to the needs of your business. Finally, you’re able to work remotely and collaborate across the globe.
A chatbot is a form of artificial intelligence which holds a conversation with a client. They’re able to answer common questions, and to pass control of the chat window on to a human being whenever the other side poses them a question that they don’t understand, or don’t have the answer to. Given that the majority of questions posed can be easily answered, it makes sense to outsource this portion of the conversation over to machines, and to take up the reigns only for the minority which actually pose a challenge.
There are a number of processes in the legal profession which don’t require the input of a skilled lawyer. These might include checking titles at the land registry, and the sharing of significant milestones with clients. Just as the logistics industry has worked out how to let a customer know that a given parcel has arrived at a given depot, so too might the legal industry be able to let a client know when their matter has progressed to a certain stage.
Automation of this kind also has compliance advantages. It can help a company to meet with its obligations when it comes to data protection, and anti-money-laundering measures, without unduly adding delays to the legal pipeline.
A 2019 report by the Law Society notes a distinct rise in the use of ‘lawtech’ in recent years – and adoption is only likely to accelerate, as a result of the pandemic, demographic shifts, and a general expectation that where tech can improve things, it should.