Legal Technology Trends in 2022 that Shape Law Firms
- Legal Technology: What is it?
- Automation: Where Legal Technology will Thrive the Most?
- Top 10 legal technology trends for setting up a successful law firm
- Clouds and Blockchains in Legal Technology
- Cybersecurity and Legal Technology
- Building a workforce with Legal Technology influence
- Concluding Remarks
There is no denying that the previous two years have been difficult for all of us. Nevertheless, the years have also demonstrated that technology contributes to the advancement of many things. It also refers to the legal procedure we must go through. With the aid of many remote technology solutions, many legal professionals may be curious to see what technology holds in store in 2020 and 2021.
Technology has influenced almost every aspect of legal procedures in today’s legal world. Legal tasks like contract drafting are simplified and managed more efficiently. In addition, it is time-saving and accurately counts working hours.
The technological landscape is constantly evolving in legal technology trends for law Firms. But consequently, a question arises. Do we need to prepare for any added disruptions following such a radical change?
YES! The legal services sector will continue to develop as the world and technology do. The legal technology trends for law firms that will still be significant in 2022 and help shape the market in the coming years are constantly increasing, and this article aims to highlight as many as possible.
Legal Technology: What is it?
Law firm technology for law firms refers to practice management, billing, document storage, and accounting. Law firms were slow to adopt these solutions because they were a traditional industry and preferred tried-and-true techniques. Legal technology trends for law firms have advanced considerably in recent years. Now, a law firm can use legal technology to adapt to the contemporary challenges of practicing in a post-pandemic world and providing clients with better, faster, and more thorough services.
The year 2021 saw significant growth in the use of legal technology trends for law firms, creating a lot of trends for law firms along the way. This technology has significantly altered how the industry works. More specifically, the sophistication of legal operations departments has increased exponentially, adding new efficiencies to the production model. In addition to improving customer satisfaction, new tools have opened up new business opportunities.
As per the Gartner report, firms will have automated 50% of their tasks by 2024. According to experts, the increased budget businesses and legal departments will devote to investing in legal technology tools is expected to be one of the most significant trends in 2022. After Covid-19, the industry’s strategy transformation has accelerated, and legal technology expenditure is expected to rise for law firms to boost output and productivity in 2022.
With the development of legal technology, some new legal issues are being bolder and more important to be considered. Let’s take a look at some of them:
- Digital Transformation: Digital transformation is sweeping industries everywhere and it is finding its way to the law too; consumers are moving toward digital, and law firms need to get on board to reach clients where they want to be.
- Artificial Intelligence: AI is a lucrative technology in virtually all industries, and law firms are realizing the value of AI for managing day-to-day tasks with the expansion of data volume.
- Cybersecurity: According to NSC’s report, cybercrime is on the rise, especially in the legal sector. As law firms shift from in-person to a remote or hybrid work environment, more and more sensitive information is at risk from a hack or breach by bad actors.
Automation: Where Legal Technology will Thrive the Most?
Law firms, which once relied heavily on paper documents, now want the entire legal process to be automated and digitalized with up-and-coming legal technology trends. As long as remote work exists, digitizing these services will become even more necessary. However, there is a benefit to this potentially tricky task: according to the same Gartner report mentioned above, automation will cut costs associated with IT and operations by a whopping 30%!
Legal workflows are some of the most sought-after legal technology trends for law firms in 2022. A legal workflow can be summed up as a series of organized, planned, and distinct procedures lawyers typically use to receive, review, and complete legal tasks. Additionally, it increases the effectiveness of providing customer service while reducing human error. A McKinsey & Company study found that 25% of this time could be automated with the right legal technology solutions. As a result, if one wants to increase industry efficiency, this is one of the most critical tasks.
This is why it has become commonplace this year to incorporate software that enables users to automate documents, the management of contracts, and legal searches. Automating repetitive tasks has generally increased, making lawyers more effective.
Top 10 legal technology trends for setting up a successful law firm
Improvement in Document Automation
Law firms are taking a trend of going paperless, and this is becoming the new norm. The use of hard copy files can be cumbersome and disorganized, and a transition through conversion of such files to soft copy format through scanning and uploading them to the cloud allows uniform file organization and ease in file sharing. The goal of law firms in this era of Technology is to ensure seamless sharing and access of files and documents, which helps keep up with technology trends.
Higher bar in communication
Advancement in Technology has caused a rapid shift in communication as law firms have adopted online platforms such as zoom, teams and video tech. It is through these technologies that disposition such as client meetings and court attendance sessions are becoming easy to manage. Therefore, the adoption of these online platforms makes it easy for law firms to keep up with the tech industry.
Simplified tasks through automation of basic administration tasks.
Most manual tasks in law firms are cumbersome, and the same tasks can be performed with good Technology. Law firms have identified the application of Technology in tasks such as document sharing and filing as well as record keeping to simplify cumbersome tasks.
Virtual environment to better communication with clients
Technology has made it easy to communicate with clients, mainly through video conferencing, creating a virtual environment for engaging with clients. Client meetings are now being simplified by the use of Technology, as there is no need for physical meetings to communicate the same information that could otherwise be communicated virtually.
Digital transformation of law firm tasks, documents, and communication makes the workforce model more seamless—these range from virtual meetings and court sessions to the mobility of documents and files. In addition, the need to work remotely has made it easy for lawyers to work flawlessly without sticking to the office to finish tasks.
Data security and privacy
As law firm work transitions to digital platforms, more are exposed and become vulnerable to cybersecurity threats and data breaches; therefore, lawyers must engage actively to secure law firms and client’s confidential information.
Most lawyers are expected to understand the use of Technology in their practice; this is because most clients will prefer a lawyer who knows all the tools available at their disposal applicable to the legal services offered. In this digital era, it can be difficult for lawyers to find solutions to client’s problems if they do not broaden their horizons by learning to leverage Technology.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI helps law firms to be more efficient, especially by using AI algorithm forms patterns in data management. Additionally, AI can help in revising documents and obtaining specific information to be used by lawyers.
The rise in digitalization has caused an increase in online Applications (Apps) which have online terms and conditions as contracts to be adhered to by consumers. Most consumers will definitely need a lawyer to help review the contract before signing. Equally, app owners will need a lawyer to draft the digital contract for the App.
Social media plays a vital role in public sensitization of some ethical issues and injustices, and such information can help law firms gather evidence to be used to prosecute perpetrators.
Clouds and Blockchains in Legal Technology
Another major player among the current legal technology trends for law firms in 2020 is secure storage solutions. We’ve seen this trend for years, so it’s nothing new, given that we must emphasize its widespread adoption as a trend for 2022. Partly, this is due to the increased risk of cyber-attacks on many companies, including law firms. A move to the cloud has many advantages. For instance, attorneys can oversee and manage every aspect of their legal proceedings online, using any computer or mobile device, from anywhere in the world.
Blockchain technology has been in the news recently, primarily because of its connection to bitcoin. It provides a digital ledger that can be shared, recorded, and copied but cannot change legally. Instead of using a centralized database, an integrated blockchain will collect information using a clear and accurate fixed ledger. This is perfect for legal departments those experience difficulties with a backlog of old documents.
Additionally, blockchain technology enables law firms to use digital wallets instead of escrow accounts for payments, automate ownership transactions, complete payments using cryptocurrency, and even ensure that contracts and agreements between numerous parties are followed. New legal technology trends for law firms like smart contracts and blockchain technology can potentially strengthen regulatory structures.
Users can also utilize it to create a network for information exchange impenetrable to hackers. Therefore, it is difficult to ignore the advantages that blockchain can offer. Blockchain-intelligent contracts also increase network security while automating legal procedures. Thus, less human intervention is required when carrying out legal procedures.
This gives us a segue into our next point, which is of utmost importance in this context.
Cybersecurity and Legal Technology
Cyberattacks have increased worryingly as a result of the pandemic. More confidential material is vulnerable to hacks and data breaches due to the rise in cybercrimes, particularly in the legal industry. Additionally, more law firms are converting to remote or hybrid working arrangements, which has been the trend for law firms over the last couple of years. “More and more clients search for firms that offer legal advice about digital matters, data protection, and cybersecurity,” claims Deloitte’s Future Trends for Legal Services report. Therefore, in 2022, being knowledgeable about cybersecurity will be essential.
Law firms have access to and are responsible for managing a great deal of information about the clients they represent. Legal professionals from these law firms should be aware of the elevated risk of cyber-attacks on their local networks. They should accordingly boost their investments in toolkits that aim to reduce or even eliminate these risks.
The American Bar Association (ABA) reports that 29% of attorneys experienced cybersecurity attacks at their firms in 2021 in its report on the profile of the legal industry. It may occur due to website compromise, piracy, intrusion, or the loss or theft of a computer or smartphone.
A significant increase is evident from comparing recent figures with last year’s. Because cybersecurity affects a company’s reputation, relationships with customers, and revenue, it is one of the most significant legal technology trends for law firms in 2022. Despite the majority of these cyber-attacks having little to no impact on the company’s overall performance, 37% of respondents acknowledged suffering financial losses due to these security lapses.
Building a workforce with Legal Technology influence
An increase in the diversity of profiles that law firms will hire is another one of the important trends in legal technology that we can already see—and that Gartner predicts. According to their forecast, a legal technology expert will oversee the digital transformation and automation of internal processes in a third of corporate legal departments by 2023. According to Gartner, there is a gap in law firms between professionals knowledgeable about internal processes and legal issues and those familiar with the technology required to improve these workflows. The consultant must fill this gap, which can be accomplished by creating and employing hybrid profiles.
In 2022, we can no longer claim that the legal industry is resistant to change or has faced more challenges than other sectors due to the pandemic. The industry has a unique opportunity to make the qualitative and quantitative leaps toward digital transformation that many clients from different industries have already been compelled to make. Innovation will also be fuelled by the legal sector’s increased adoption of technology trends, especially in 2022. It covers things like the attorney-client privilege, legal processing, and more.
In summary, businesses should invest more aggressively in legal technology, but they should also invest in more efficient methods. We can see that there are more and more investments taking place, but we must realize that the secret to the success of these investments is first to identify the issue in the first place. To make wise choices, we must look beyond current legal technology trends and discover the strategies that have been effective in the industry.
With everything moving quickly toward the digital revolution, the legal industry is set to undergo a complete transformation over the next few years. Legal technology trends for law firm help save time and money by improving productivity and customer service through various tools.
We are confident that the consolidation of the legal technology market, coupled with astute stakeholder investments, will enable the legal industry to address the sector’s growing challenges jointly and, in turn, enhance it for the better.