As Obelisk attends the Legal Geek Conference 2017, we’ve been thinking about the legal tech trends that are going to be shaping our industry in the years to come. Here are just some of the biggest talking points in the law industry that are having a real impact on the way that lawyers work – opening up more opportunities for networking, flexible working, better client management and security.
A lawyer’s knowledge of their client base and network should be considered to have as much importance as the knowledge, and customer relationship management software (CRM) is helping legal professionals better understand the information they have available. More often associated with sales teams, CRM software made for the legal sector is growing in popularity and can can provide lawyers with the ability to keep a more accurate and up to date database of clients referrals and retentions, new case matters, and other leads and communications. However the real boon comes with the ability to analyse and use the data you have to analyse key metrics and performance indicators, such as the lifetime value of any particular client, or where clients are finding your business and where the most leads and referrals are generated. Being able to manage both existing and potential contracts enables lawyers to
The Social Lawyer
The way that lawyers are using social media to aid their work and boost their careers has accelerated in recent years – many firms and individual lawyers are actively embracing social media to market themselves, for client development and even for case investigation. This excellent infographic created by Mycase.com breaks down the habits and percentages of legal professionals on social media – some of the points that interested us most were:
- 57% of firms have a LinkedIn presence – we have previously published some advice for lawyers who want to make the most of LinkedIn and time spent on social media marketing if you want to brush up on your skills.
- 24% of lawyers have had had a client retain them directly or via referral because of their online networking.
- 71% use social media for career development and networking. Start making the most of your time on social media marketing with our time saver tips.
AI and ‘Robot Lawyers’
AI is a trend we’ve been following closely here at Obelisk. Artificial Intelligence is no longer a future concept – routine legal tasks are already being taken over by technology, and it’s causing some major changes in corporate law, as well as other areas of our industry. There are some reports that the trend is driving lawyers away from firms into in house roles, and even into the founding of legal tech start-ups. With clients looking to take advantage of savings offered by technology, lawyers need to refocus on the irreplaceable human aspects of lawyering – client relationships, understand of complex issues attached to cases and providing a source of knowledge, emotional intelligence and understanding that technology is unlikely to ever replicate. Lawyers should see the advancement as an opportunity to seize rather than a battle to be waged: AI is an opportunity to improve creative analysis, lawyer wellbeing and quality of work – it’s time to embrace it!
One of the key talking points in the legal profession and likely to be a hot topic at this year’s Legal Geek conference, the issue of cyber security is becoming ever more pertinent as companies and individuals alike rush to keep up with the information about ourselves that is available online and ensure it stays secure and uncompromised. Data protection is a particular concern for lawyers who handle all kinds of sensitive information. More and more legal firms and service providers are relying on Cloud storage to keep data safe, as it provides access to better security and expert remote management of software/IT as part of the service, and more robust backup procedures than what may be available in house. In addition to documents and stored information lawyers may consider moving all of their client communications to cloud servers to ensure a consistent level of security across the board.
As well as getting one’s own house in order, it’s important to keep abreast of the next big things in cyber security in order to adequately advise clients and handling cases where data breach and misuse have occurred.
Non-traditional Service Providers
Not strictly a singular technology trend, but a by-product of the developments of technology and increasing adoption within the industry has enabled more non-traditional legal service providers to succeed where traditional firms are losing ground. Non-traditional service providers e.g. mobile/remote legal consultancies, are driven by innovative use of new technology to provide new ways of working with clients on a flexible, part time, in house and ad hoc basis.
As more of the legal industry adopts Cloud and mobile technology and other platforms and software that enable more efficient high quality work, there will no longer be many reasons left to maintain a culture of presenteeism and overwork in the office. We aren’t there yet by any means, but there are promising signs that technology and forward thinking is driving long overdue change in law.
Obelisk CEO Dana Denis-Smith will be speaking at Legal Geek Conference 2017 on Women in LawTech. Be sure to revisit The Attic for more legal tech updates and thoughts on the future of law.