Globally, the legal sector is poised for significant transformation. Increasing information complexity, client demands, economic forces, changing demographics and technology advancements continue to accelerate and demand a response. However, only 34% lawyers believe their organization is very prepared to keep pace with changes in the legal market. These are among the findings of an independent new survey of legal professionals: the 2019 Future Ready Lawyer survey from Wolters Kluwer.

Based on quantitative interviews with 700 lawyers in law firms, legal departments and business services firms across the U.S. and Europe, the survey examined how technology and other factors are affecting the future of law across core areas and how legal organizations are prepared. The survey found that as we enter the next-generation legal industry, some players already have a head start on the future, while others will need to catch up quickly to ensure continued relevance and resilience.

Key findings of the Future Ready Lawyer survey include:

  • Overall, only about one-third of lawyers (34%) believe their organization is very prepared to keep pace with changes in the legal market. Technology Leading organizations, however, fare much better, with 50% very prepared to keep up with expected changes.
  • Legal professionals report that the Lack of Technology Knowledge, Understanding or Skills comprise the top category of reasons for resisting new technology (36%).
  • More than 7 in 10 lawyers across Europe and the U.S. say that both “Coping with increased volume and complexity of information” and an “Emphasis on improved productivity and efficiency” are top trends with impact; and across all trends Technology Leaders are far more prepared to respond.
  • There are significant and concerning gaps between legal sector trends with expected impact and organizations’ readiness to address them. For example, 72% of respondents say “Coping with increased volume and complexity of information” is a top trend. Yet, only 31% feel very prepared to address it.
  • The top challenges for corporate legal departments today are: reducing and controlling outside legal costs; improving case and contract management; and automating routine tasks and leveraging technology in work processes.

In addition to the survey findings on trends, technologies and change, the Future Ready Lawyer report also includes insights from legal industry luminaries in the U.S. and Europe.  Download your free copy of the full 2019 Future Ready Lawyer report here.