According to the 2019 Altman Weil “Law Firms in Transition 2019” survey, 96% of law firm leaders “agree almost unanimously that a focus on improved practice efficiency is a permanent trend in the profession.” One way that some firms are addressing the push for increased efficiency is by using technology to improve firm processes, with 48% of the survey respondents reporting that they “used technology tools to replace human resources in order to increase efficiency of legal service delivery.”
In other words, ready or not, the legal marketplace is changing and 21st century legal clients are increasingly demanding that their lawyers use technology to increase efficiency and provide more accessible, affordable legal services. How does your law firm compare? What steps is your firm taking to set the stage for success in the new world order?
If your firm doesn’t yet have a firm plan in place to ensure success in the midst of a legal landscape in flux, never fear! This very topic was covered during the Keynote in February at the ABA Techshow in Chicago. During this talk, Betsy Ziegler offer lots of insight into how law firms fit into the rapidly changing world we now live in.
Below you’ll find the visual notes from that session along with 3 key takeaways:
Law firms fail because they don’t foresee the future
One of the key points Ziegler made was that businesses that don’t foresee the future fail. Look no further than Kodak, Xerox, or Blockbuster (or the many mall stores that are rapidly disappearing) for examples of that phenomenon in action.
We’re in the midst of unprecedented change, and when you’re a lawyer with a busy practice, it’s not always easy to keep up, let alone make decisions that will position your firm for future success. Even so, it’s important to make the time to learn as much as you can about the technological advancements that are affecting the practice of law – and your clients’ businesses as well. That way you’ll have a foundation of knowledge upon which to build and plan for the future.
If you’re not sure where to start, this blog post is a great place to start: “The Duty of Legal Technology Competence:How To Keep Up.”
Solve problems that don’t yet exist
Of course, learning about technology and change isn’t enough. As Ziegler explained, the next step is to make accurate predictions about how these forces will affect the future, and then make business decisions accordingly. Obviously, this is easier said than done.
So what’s a busy lawyer to do? I’d suggest you consider reading Richard Susskind’s book “Tomorrow’s Lawyers: An Introduction To Your Future.” In it he predicts how technology will affect the legal industry as a whole in the coming years and offers advice for lawyers seeking to thrive in the new world order. You can learn more about that book and some of his advice here.
Legal software can future-proof your firm
And last, but not least, Ziegler emphasized the importance of technological innovation to the practice of law in 2019. According to Ziegler, software can sometimes do more than human lawyers can by accomplishing tasks more quickly and more accurately. The trick is knowing which software tools will be most impactful for your firm.
Choosing the right legal software for your firm isn’t always easy, but it’s an important decision and one that can have a lasting effect on your firm for years to come. But before choosing software, it’s important to fully understand your firm’s needs, and then carefully research your options.
When it comes to research, there are a host of resources about legal software available, both online and off. A great place to start your research is this book: “The 2019 Solo and Small Firm Legal Technology Guide,” written by Sharon D. Nelson, John W. Simek, and Michael C. Maschke. You can learn more about this book here.
Finally, for even more information on how legal software can help you automate your law firm and set your firm up for success in an increasingly competitive legal marketplace, make sure to download this FREE guide: “8 Essential Technologies to Increase Your Firm’s Productivity.”