In a profession characterised by tradition and convention, the change will be resisted. However, with increasing pressures from clients and an ever-evolving global market, law firms must now demonstrate an ability to harness the benefits of new technologies in order to stay competitive.
Whilst other industries, such as fintech, have embraced advances in technology and thus grown their capabilities, the legal sector has historically been a reluctant adopter. That is, until very recently. The force with which the pandemic struck every industry cannot be overstated, and the legal sector was especially forced to consider their own capabilities in order to adapt to the demands of an entire workforce having to work from home.
However, even prior to the events of 2020, the last few years have seen the legal sector faced with tough pressure on costs, both from their clients and competitors.
One category of such competitors is legal tech providers: companies supported by professionals with the hybrid expertise of both technology and law. These providers offer innovative new tools and technologies with which legal service delivery can be streamlined, and costs cut to a fraction. Although it is difficult to imagine the behemoth legal sector feeling threatened by an array of startups, the investment pouring into this field shows their influence will only continue to grow. Consider the figures, for example £300m of capital was raised by a collective of 250 legal tech start-ups over the past 5 years in the UK; in the US, that number reached $1bn. With such figures, it is realistic to say that legal technology is poised to transform the legal landscape.
While this transformation may be enhancing rather than destructive, it is clear that the most prudent law firms have noted the incoming changes. One way in which such firms are adapting is by offering new graduates alternative entry routes into the legal profession. The consensus for these graduate schemes and traineeships which focus on legal technology and innovation, as well as legal project management, is that they are a welcome alternative to the traditional traineeships for solicitors. Additionally, law firms will benefit from the unique mindset of the new waves of graduates for whom legal tech is at the forefront of their minds.
Finally, as the Big Four consultancies increase their foothold in the legal market, it becomes more crucial for law firms to ensure their own offerings are as cost-efficient and client-focused as ever. Organisations such as Deloitte Legal and PwC NewLaw benefit from the preexisting technological expertise of global management consultancies, a factor that is likely to appeal to clients.
If you are interested in learning more about law firms' adaption to LegalTech, please don't hesitate to reach out to me.