Three legal tech trends for 2016
A recent survey of UK law firms indicated that the legal technology industry will experience continued growth as it seeks to improve the way that law firms do business. PwC’s UK Law Firm Survey 2015 indicated that 95% of law firms plan to invest in IT in 2016 to improve efficiency and that the Top 10 firms interviewed feel they are winning against competition because they are investing in technology. Experts suggest that cloud adoption, communication and the emergence of alternative business models look to be the three dominant trends for legal tech in 2016.
Further adoption of cloud computing is expected to continue throughout 2016, driven by lawyer’s needs for greater efficiency and accessibility to their information from different devices. Joshua Lennon, Lawyer in Residence at Clio, the leading cloud based practice management solution, predicts continued gains for those willing to adopt new technologies:
"Firms that have already invested in technology are reporting strong gains in profitability and efficiency, compared to those firms that have not yet recognised their need to update. This instant access to information is also making it easier for firms to get up-to-the minute insights into their firm's finances, where they can best apply their efforts to reduce billing friction."
Opening lines of communication and adding greater transparency to the client/lawyer relationship is something that Derek Fitzpatrick, General Manager EMEA for Clio, has noticed greater demand for when speaking to clients.
“Cloud technology allows firms to share stored information with clients online. Due to the ever increasing pressure for law firms to operate securely and safely with their data, client communication portals, such as Clio Connect, are becoming hugely popular with law firms who want to keep communications secure and confidential.”
Legal tech is increasing the ability of boutique firms to operate more agile, flexible business models allowing them to reduce costs while accommodating their client’s needs. Joshua Lennon notes that “cloud technology is enabling firms to use contract and virtual employees to reduce costs”. The facilitation of remote staff in particular has been seen to help firms cut costs and pass these savings onto clients.
Although the legal industry has been traditionally slow to adapt to emerging technologies the progress being made and the benefits gained from the further adoption of technology in the legal sector cannot be ignored.