Researchers predict that the legal technology market will increase threefold between 2020 and 2025. While spending in this sector jumped from 2.6% of in-house budgets in 2017 to 3.9% in 2020, it’s set to reach approximately 12% over the next three years.

Naturally, the legal industry has been facing increased pressure to modernize its technology.

While we’re especially interested in trends affecting IT litigation law firms due to our ERP expert witness practice, today we’re providing an overview of technology trends in the legal industry in general. 

6 Technology Trends in the Legal Industry

1. A Rapid Move to Digital Marketing​

Digital transformation has long been popular, but it’s accelerating at a rapid pace. This is because customers are making the shift themselves. They now expect legal firms to leverage the same technology they’re used to seeing at their preferred retail store or supermarket. 

If the legal industry can meet this demand, the potential for conversion is significant as customers are using technology to find new lawyers online and connect with existing ones. To compete in this space, firms need to make their online presence highly visible, personalize their customer service, and optimize the user experience.

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2. The Rise of Tech-Savvy Data Analysts and Project Managers

Workloads are increasing at law firms across the country. At the same time, budgets are tightening. This means that legal teams are looking for ways to be as productive and efficient as possible, at the most sustainable price point.

To help offset some of this burden, firms are shifting some of their work away from lawyers and onto indirect, non-law personnel. This is a natural move since many of these tasks require experience and expertise beyond the basic legal realm.

Take legal operations, for instance. In this sector, employees are tasked with organizing and analyzing customer data for actionable insights on how to run their firm.

To fill this role, firms are hiring specialized legal project managers and data scientists who understand how to make the best use of technology, such as professional services software.

Firms are also doubling down on in-house training and professional development and seeking outside consultancy guidance when necessary. 

3. Increased Focus on the Client Experience

Customers expect personalized experiences, and this extends into the legal sphere. If firms can deliver on those expectations, the potential for referrals and repeat business is ripe. 

When evaluating which software to implement, business leaders must choose platforms that offer convenience and transparency to their current and future client base. These solutions should facilitate seamless and streamlined interactions that align with what customers receive from other brands. These solutions should also make communication and collaboration easier for both in-house and customer-facing employees. 

Another aspect of elevating the client experience is investing in tools that address client concerns with empathy and understanding. While this feeling is easy to capture through an in-person representative, it doesn’t always translate to tech.

Modern enterprise software can help employees simulate a real human touch, so they can address needs and capture leads around the clock, even if they’re not at the office. 

4. Automation of Administrative Tasks

One of the most challenging aspects of a legal team’s job is managing all the paperwork that passes through the company on a regular basis. On one hand, these documents are necessary to ensure legal compliance. On the other hand, they can be cumbersome to create, manage, and analyze. 

These teams are looking toward automation technology to help reduce or eliminate much of this rote, administrative work. This means focusing on legal tech solutions, like specialized ERP software, that can help them manage their documentation.

Legal firms are also seeking to improve accessibility and version control through centralized dashboards.  As paperwork becomes more complex, modern software solutions with easy-to-use dashboards will become even more valuable. Firms are giving top priority to solutions that allow them to automate documents, manage contracts, and simplify legal searches. 

5. Prioritization of Data Security

Every day, lawyers handle documents that are sensitive and confidential, so data security should always be top of mind.

This is especially true as cybercriminals become more sophisticated and turn to advanced, discreet methods of attack. According to one recent report, 25% of legal firms have experienced a data breach. These can come in many forms, including:

  • Device loss or theft
  • Pirating
  • Website compromise 

Cyber-attacks are on the rise, and companies are investing in tools that can help them strengthen their security measures. As they do, they’re helping to fortify their firms against such attacks. They’re also increasing consumer confidence and long-term loyalty. 

6. A Move Toward a Distributed Workforce Model

According to one survey of 507 attorneys, the majority (31%) retain control over their schedule. Some have complete control over whether they work from home, while others are required to come in to the office two or three days a week. 

Legal firms are looking for new ways to accommodate this setup. This includes reevaluating the tools at their disposal and questioning whether they can support a distributed workforce model.

Many firms are investing in new systems to facilitate long-distance communication. They’re also investing in advanced training solutions to help employees understand these new workflows. 

The goal is to help remote or hybrid employees feel as included as the rest of the team, which ultimately improves morale and productivity. 

What Will Digital Transformation Look Like for You?

The legal sector wasn’t an early adopter of digital technology. Yet, there is still time to catch up. The right enterprise software tools can modernize the client experience, automate manual tasks, and improve security measures.

Looking ahead, technology trends in the legal industry will continue to evolve. As they do, the focus will shift from modernization to transformation.

Our enterprise software consultants can help you understand your options and select the best technology for your needs. Contact us below for a free consultation.

About the author

As Director of Panorama’s Expert Witness Practice, Bill oversees all expert witness engagements. In addition, he concurrently provides oversight on a number of ERP selection and implementation projects for manufacturing, distribution, healthcare, and public sector clients.

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