The technological development in most law firms is still anecdotal, although the trend is changing. In Spain, the most prestigious law firms have already begun to adapt or are beginning to implement technological tools to transform their traditional management methods.
The reality is that our society is already totally immersed in digitization, and clients demand immediacy and ease for completing any transaction. That’s why only the legal professionals that are capable of offering the most efficient services and the best technological tools can satisfy the expectations of these new clients, and thus will be able to survive in the new digital world.
In this post we talk about the digital transformation in the legal sector and what law firms can do to adapt their services to the standards of the 21st century.
This post is also available in Spanish.
As in many other areas, the economic crisis that began with the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers in 2008 created a “before” and “after” for the legal sector. And despite the indisputable recovery that occurred in these past few years, the way of doing things in law firms has also changed radically compared to the first half of the 2000s.
What is the new context in the legal sector?
Law firms are now facing a new context characterized by:
- New legal situations arising from new digital business models and business models from the collaborative economy.
- Regulatory changes in some markets, such as in the financial or insurance sectors.
- Change in customer demands, who are increasingly accustomed to carry out any process or operation online.
- Different mentality of new professionals, who are no longer predisposed to develop their entire career in one single company.
- New challenges such as cybersecurity.
All of these factors, among many others, have led the sector to a situation in which the way of doing things has quickly become obsolete. The typical procedures and practices in law firms no longer allow them to respond with the speed and precision that new clients demand.
What should law firms do to adapt their services to the 21st Century?
To respond to this question, it's worth highlighting a recent study about law firms created by PwC. According to this study, 80% of those surveyed consider that having a digital strategy is critical for the future of their organizations..
However, only 23% claim to have begun this transformation, which makes it legitimate to ask why it is so difficult for the legal sector to adapt to the new digital economy.
The reasons are certainly diverse, but it should be pointed out that the traditional organization model of law firms is diametrically different from digital companies:
What are the advantages of digitization for law firms?
Overcoming all of these paradigms so firmly rooted in the profession is not easy, but lawyers should be conscious of the benefits of digitization:
- Greater operational efficiency
- Greater capacity to attract and retain digital talent
- Cost savings
- Take advantage of shared knowledge
- Increased added value to customers
- Greater access to new business opportunities
What technological solutions facilitate the digitization of law firms?
Cloud software services that promote a greater collaboration and enable to share documents, calendars and tasks. They avoid the intensive use of email and allow to save time.
Tools that facilitate communication
They allow to hold meetings remotely or calls through the Internet. Considering that more and more law firms aspire to be global, they can't lack these solutions to communicate with clients in other countries.
Tools to digitize documents
The intensive use of paper does not fit with the digital era. All records, lawsuits and documents still saved in physical files should be digitized and stored in the cloud.
Accounting and HR management tools
In addition to using digital tools to streamline procedures related to the typical tasks of a law firm, it is also recommended to improve internal processes, such as accounting or human resources management procedures.
Tools to sign documents online
How many documents are sent to sign in a day in a law firm? Probably nobody is keeping count, but undoubtedly a solution that allows to sign contracts and documents remotely will streamline the processes in law firms.
In short, the need for the digital transformation of law firms is indisputable, and this is a challenge that the legal sector has to face sooner or later.
Therefore, although law firms tend to be quite strict in their way of operating, they should change to meet the needs and demands of new digital clients.
The final goal is to offer the best legal experience possible, which is totally viable thanks to the tools present in the market today.
This post is also available in Spanish.