Over the last two years significant change has occurred in the way legal firms operate and the most notably, hybrid working and remote communications appear to be at the forefront.
In a recent survey of 1000 legal professionals and 1000 general consumers (clients and prospective clients), the respondents were asked what is most important to them from a legal practice in the post-COVID world and the findings are quite revealing and insightful.
Furthermore, in this 2022 report sponsored by a leading legal software vendor and summarised by the Law Society, it was revealed there has been a major increase in adoption levels of technology amongst law firms and the use of technology is part of a long-term shift that is being driven by consumer demand for more remote-capable legal services.
So what are the salient points from the research which impact the Legal Sector and Information Technology in particular?
Consumers demand more flexible legal services
Since the Pandemic consumers have become used to new methods of communication with lawyers. In the research, it was revealed 79% of consumers view the capability to work remotely with a lawyer as a significant factor when selecting who to engage with for legal services.
In addition, over half of the respondents indicated a strong preference for video conferencing solutions across multiple points in a legal case. True, whilst technology had provided a competitive advantage for some firms over others in the past, technology solutions are fast becoming a standard feature – a given if you will – that law firms need to offer their client base in order to remain noticed.
The cold hard truth is those Legal Firms failing to consider video conferencing solutions either by a dedicated solution, Unified Communications or Microsoft Teams, for instance, will be at a noticeable disadvantage going forward.
Technology is the route to success
The research revealed a strong correlation between those Law Firms deemed as a ‘growing firm’ and the adoption of technology. Over the last decade those legal practices who had moved with the times and adopted client-centred technologies had seen annual increases (revenues) amounting to 135%.
Plus of these firms, 41% had adopted the use of client portals (see PortalPlex by Expedite Law for instance) with 46% using Client Relationship Management (CRM) solutions. In addition, the use of reporting tools was twice as prevalent in ‘growing firms’ or firms which delivered a minimum 20% annual revenue growth.
So the message is clear, those firms who understand the importance of technology in client relationships and harness the benefits of flexible technologies remain competitive in an ever-tightening and fierce legal sector.
Move away from physical office space
The survey data shows that law firms are focusing less on investing in physical office space and concentrating on improving their digital capabilities with practice management software.
To elaborate, the research revealed legal professionals are most likely to view legal management software as a significant expense – and by inference of more importance – (67%) and are most likely to purchase additional software in the future (61%). By way of contrast, law firms are least likely to to invest in office space.
The consequence of these findings is that the legal industry should be prepared to invest in the creation of more tech-enabled client experiences. Law firms need to carefully consider how legal services are provided and accessed in the future as client expectations continue to evolve.
Legal practices who adopt new processes and tools are well placed to become more flexible, resilient and client-centred. Whilst law firms ignoring these trends will be unable to remain relevant in a fast changing legal sector.
Don’t get left behind
Here at Expedite Law we are well-placed to assist law firms wanting to move with the times. We can assist with the digital transformation you need to implement in your business in order to stay relevant in a very competitive sector.
Expedite Law can advise on numerous solutions including unified communications, video conferencing and legal case management software such as MatterSphere & Peppermint. Plus our team of highly skilled developers can tailor legal software solutions specifically to your needs. In addition, we are a specialist MSP with a strong focus on the Legal Sector who is also accredited with ISO 9001 for Quality and ISO 27001 for Security. Please see our Case Studies for examples of we have just some of our clients.