According to the 2020 Future Ready Lawyer: Performance Drivers survey report by Wolters Kluwer, despite the increasing importance of legal technology being a key concern for 76% of lawyers, only 28% said their organisation is well prepared for it – demonstrating a significant gap between the trend and the readiness to address it. However, the COVID crisis has pushed law firms to adapt and evolve, accelerating the legal technology landscape.
New ways of working post COVID
The COVID crisis has had a major impact on the way legal professionals in law firms work with their colleagues, clients and in the courtroom. As per the new survey report Impact of the COVID Crisis on the Legal Sector by Wolters Kluwer (see Figure 1),
- 52% of law firms indicate that they will work from home more in the future. 62% of legal professionals also say that they will increasingly collaborate remotely with colleagues and third parties going forward.
- 66% of law firms report that they will improve the way they virtually/digitally communicate with clients.
- Most respondents across Europe also see changes to the courtroom coming, with 41% expecting an acceleration of remote, virtual hearings as a new way to interact with judges in the future.
Top tech investments of law firms accelerated by the COVID crisis
Tools that support remote work and virtual collaboration have undoubtedly become crucial for business continuity and client service. It is no surprise that law firms plan to continue to invest in legal technology. In fact, in the same survey report, 56% of law firms in Europe indicate that their need for legal technology solutions has increased as a result of the COVID crisis and 65% report that their investment in legal solutions will stay the same or increase moving ahead.
The top technologies (see Figure 2) law firms said they are looking to invest in are tools to assist with:
• e-signature: 63%
• e-meeting and e-voting management: 46%
• document and contract workflow management: 40%
• workflow management and process automation: 34%
• analysis of regulatory and case law trends to predict results of claims: 32%
Choosing the right tech partner to facilitate the new normal in law firms
Given the urgency of investing in tools to support new ways of working, you might be tempted to invest in technology without giving in much thought. However, implementing tools without looking into what they can do for your law firm can cause more damage than you anticipate. The key is to to identify your needs and pain points and invest in tools that addresses them. Below are some essentials to look for, when choosing a tech partner.
1. Data security - Working and collaborating remotely are taking the front seats post COVID and there is a natural shift towards cloud-based technology. However, it is important to keep in mind that working remotely poses inherent threats to data security. As you deal with sensitive information, it is important to choose tools that ensures protection of your law firm data.
Our solutions are not only compliant with EU privacy rules but are certified to the highest market standards (ISO 27001, SAS 70 Type II). Our state-of-the-art technology encrypt backup and disaster recovery replicas on a remote site, further safeguarding you against cyber threats or data loss. What's more, data transmission is encrypted with a 2048-bit PKI Certificate and certified by Norton, ensuring peace of mind that data is transferred securely. Furthermore, it is monitored 24/7 for intrusion detection and encrypted data transmission is continually monitored by Norton Symantec for vulnerability.
2. Case management - The solution you invest in should facilitate remote case management. With a practice management system like Kleos that is integrated with MS Office, time tracking, invoicing and accounting tools, plus a secure file sharing portal, connection to eCourt, integration with Skype and mobile apps, you can work on your cases safely from anywhere.
3. Automatic document creation - As the workload increases, it is important to find tools to optimise document creation, so that you can work without any interruptions. With Legal SmartDocuments you control MS Word-based templates for any type of legal document, and then your associates, paralegals or clients compile questionnaires to automatically generate a draft (based on your rules & clauses!) for your review.
4. Document collaboration - When working remotely, manually checking document versions and exchanging feedback can be disastrous and impossible to manage! With a document collaboration software like TeamDocs, you can easily review and track changes in documents that you share with colleagues and third parties.
5. Meeting management – As remote collaboration is inherent in the new way of working, it is important to make sure you can continue to manage your important meetings with minimal physical interaction with your colleagues and clients. With ActiveMeetings, you can organise and manage (virtual) shareholder and board meetings or other formal meetings by the book.
For more findings from Wolters Kluwer’s Impact of the COVID Crisis on the Legal Sector Survey, download the survey report here.