Five key legal industry trends to watch in 2021, from Sysero
We’re quickly approaching the end of 2020, a year that has proven truly transformative for the modern law firm. Amidst a global pandemic, law firm leaders have faced the challenge - and opportunity - of accelerating digital transformation with their firms.
1) Greater Focus on Differentiation
As competition in the legal sector heats up heading into the new year, law firms will need to place greater focus on projecting a distinct and compelling value that sets them apart from other firms. While law firms historically tend to weather downturns better than the overall economy, there’s no question that differentiation will be crucial in 2021’s highly competitive legal market. Yet, according to Altman Weil’s most recent Law Firms in Transition survey, only 55% of law firm leaders think their firm is clearly and specifically differentiated. Moving into 2021, firms must be able to promote and share knowledge to maximise lawyers’ potential, effectively stand out in the market, and enable improved client service.
2) Move to Self-Service
While self-service client portals aren’t a new idea, law firms have become much more serious about investing in them in recent years - a move that’s only been accelerated by the pandemic. With more lawyers and clients working from home than ever before, law firms are realising they need to find new ways to engage with clients online and provide high-quality service with less hands-on support. The trend of remote working shows no sign of slowing, making client self-service portals a must for the modern firm in 2021. These cloud-based portals give clients the ability to access firm-managed documents on-demand, without the need to install software. Clients can simply access the portal online, select a template and quickly generate a document by completing a guided online questionnaire. By moving legal transactions to a self-service model, firms can continue to provide on-demand client service regardless of location and build a clear, specific competitive advantage.
3) Agile Working Practices
Since the start of the pandemic, law firms have been experimenting with flexible working practices. However, heading into 2021, firms will need to solidify and scale their ability to quickly and cost-effectively deliver legal services. Agile working practices are no longer a nice-to-have selling point, they are a crucial element in adapting to the new legal ecosystem. With this mind, we expect to see more firms adopt workflow automation to streamline a number of everyday processes and make them accessible in the cloud, such as client onboarding, contract creation, negotiation and legal service delivery.
4) Need for Improved Efficiency
Faced with tighter budgets, tougher competition and increasing client demands in the new year, law firms will need to uncover new ways to drive efficiency across various operations and processes. To adapt to the new legal landscape, firms will need to rely on legal automation tools to drive more productive, profitable and scalable work, without sacrificing quality. Legal automation can be used in a number of ways to streamline key processes, from digital onboarding and client acceptance to document automation and contract management. As law firm leaders look to do more with less in 2021, we anticipate an uptick in the adoption of legal automation technologies to improve processes, streamline services and deliver greater value to clients.
5) Heightened Focus on Security and Compliance
The arrival of COVID-19 has brought with it some serious security and compliance concerns for law firms. Cybercrime is on the rise, and many firms are headed into 2021 struggling to navigate the new cybersecurity implications of remote working, whilst also ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements. Fortunately, secure online automation tools like Sysero can help keep remote teams productive and secure in the new year. By automating once-manual tasks, cloud-based automation tools can be used to guide users through firm-approved processes, whilst ensuring data is encrypted and managed in compliance with data protection best practices. As cybersecurity and compliance become a key focus for firms in the year ahead, it will be crucial to create a standardised and enforceable framework for compliance that embeds risk in everyday processes, no matter if they are carried out within the office or home work environments.
With 2021 on the horizon, now’s the ideal time to review the technical capabilities of your firm and identify areas of improvement. This will be the year to embrace opportunity, drive change and welcome new innovations that can transform your firm’s future. To learn more about how Sysero’s solutions can help, get in touch with our team.