Exigent’s yearly list of predictions is an unmissable one: CEO David Holme is known for sparing no one in his frank preview of winners and losers for the year to come. With his projections for the future, you will discover:

Legal tech: The market is maturing. It’s not as broad or wide as many predicted, but GCs are more aware and (likely more intimidated) than in previous years. 2020 will see this come to a head for many GCs – many will need to better understand tech or risk being bypassed. 

Big Four: The Big Four will continue their march into legal services. The consultancy business is facing a rough time - EY and KPMG are aiming to cut costs as the shine is taken off management consultancy. This means these organizations are looking for new markets to make up this shortfall. Enter the legal services sector. 2020 will see an even greater push by the Big Four into legal services, using their tech arms to bolster their attorneys.

Big Law: With so many new competitors in the market – from the Big Four to ALSPs to other smaller law firms who are taking advantage of new technology, Big Law has started to hit back. In 2019 several (Linklaters and Clifford Chance joining Allen & Overy) launched gig-economy style networks of lawyers who can work when and how they choose. This network means Big Law isn’t tied to huge salaries, but that it has the resources to call upon should they need them. This is a sign of two things – firstly, that Big Law is nervous about the uncertain economy and unwilling to head-up massive recruitment drives. Secondly, that they are starting to think a little differently about how their business models are changing.

AI: 2020 is not the year when AI will take over legal. Whilst some of the hype ‘dust’ is settling and real AI applications are getting to market, pure AI alone won’t actually be able to solve legal problems by itself. It will still need training from multidisciplinary teams of legal professionals and technology experts. Artificial Intelligence will still need Human Intelligence (HI) to function and produce results. So, the winners in this game in 2020 won’t be AI developers or knowledge workers; it will be those that embrace the change through hybrid solutions and new approaches. 

Blockchain: 2020 will see blockchain make bigger (albeit still relatively small) inroads into the legal industry, mainly making the first steps in corporations, rather than law firms (who technically sit at the end of the supply chain and are therefore less likely to impact change). Smart contracts will be one of the key areas to watch, together with potentially the development of new cryptocurrencies by companies or governments.

And others, including insight into legal education, ALSPs, compliance, and data for the years to come.

Download Article: Top Ten Trends for 2020 in Legal