The year is quickly coming to a close, and with the start of 2019, a host of emerging legal technology trends are on the horizon. While 2018 saw firms bring automation closer to their clients to enhance collaboration and service delivery, 2019 promises new innovations and approaches to increasing productivity and furthering service differentiation.
Here, we share our thoughts on the top-5 legal tech trends to keep an eye on moving into the new year.
1) Increased Security
Security is a growing concern for today’s top law firms, as cybercriminals continually develop new tactics to compromise business data. In fact, according to a recent PWC survey, more than 60 percent of law firms have experienced a cyberattack. As data security concerns mount, the new year will bring an increased focused on proactively protecting sensitive data.
The good news is that relatively new regulations, such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Know your Client (KYC) requirements, help dictate where and for how long information can be stored and by whom it can be accessed. The ability to encrypt data and enforce multi-factor identification will also be crucial for law firm security in the new year. One way that firms can help protect themselves, is to partner with vendors that adhere to strict data security practices and standards, such as ISO/IEC 27001:2013.
2) Automated Risk-Based Business Acceptance
Building on security concerns, more firms will turn to automation to help them adhere to compliance with GDPR, Anti-Money Laundering regulations and KYC, while increasing the rate at which they can accept new business. Automated risk-based business acceptance processes are already commonplace among top Nordic firms, and we plan to see more UK firms start take a more streamlined approach to client intake in the new year.
3) Client Self-Service Portals
As firms look to drive greater efficiency, profitability and service differentiation, many are tapping into the power of automated self-service portals. Client self-service portals enable firms to process more fixed-rate transactions, while at the same time providing clients with immediate work product and a broader service offering. For example, forward-thinking firm Bates Wells Braithwaite uses an automated self-service portal to provide fixed-fee legal advice to their charity clients.
As competition heats up in the new year, we’ll see more and more firms adopt automated client self-service portals to create service differentiation, while increasing profitability.
4) Digitisation of Internal Processes
Moving into 2019, firms will also be turning to automation to help streamline business processes across the firm, from contract review to client collaboration. Workflow is a widely beneficial way to centralise, standardise and scale-up processes whilst improving compliance and gaining efficiencies. One area ripe for digitisation is the contract lifecycle. Firms can tap into workflow to modernise the full contract lifecycle – from automating contract creation and review to securing e-signatures and automatically archiving completed contracts.
As competitive and pricing pressures increase in the new year, the demands for efficiency in legal will push more and more firms to look to improve processes internally.
5) Increased Mobility
Today’s lawyers are on the move, and their work needs to go with them. As we head into 2019, we’re seeing more firms focus on ubiquitous access to data. The introduction of iManage Work 10 is a prime example of how legal technology providers are coming up with new solutions to make it easier for lawyers to work anywhere, and within a single user experience.
Some firms are already taking mobility one step further by authorising lawyers to access templates directly from their iManage accounts, making it easy to create and save documents via online forms, which can be accessed on any device.