Emerging technology and client obligations are evolving the legal profession as we know it
Advancements in technology are altering the structure of legal work and the career paths that lawyers will take. The traditional path from graduate lawyer to partner will no longer be the default mindset, as new opportunities become available to law practitioners. Whether cutting out time-intensive research tasks or providing new platforms from which to offer legal services, the accepted business model of law firms is being disrupted.
Smart Law: 2016 LexisNexis Roadshow Report combines the findings from the 2016 Legal and Regulatory Technology Survey and 2016 Smart Law Panel Series to explore the changes and challenges faced by the legal profession due to shifting expectations of legal service delivery altered by technology.
"In the face of rapidly changing technology, difficult economic times and differentiated legal models within the industry, uncertainty about the future of legal practice is to be expected. The demands of clients in the current economy can only be met through innovation via technology that contributes to lower costs, automated tasks and increased transparency for a clearer and more collaborative relationship between the client and service provider," says Joanne Beckett, Managing Director of LexisNexis Australia.
Technological advancements are creating new practice areas to meet client expectations, and altering the structure of legal work and career paths in the process. Yet regulations governing the profession and a conservative risk-appetite to business development are still restraining the evolution of the legal landscape.
Progress towards incorporating technology is still underway. The Report shows that the key motivator for adopting technology systems for law firms was 'to meet client expectations' (55%). Despite this, only six percent of law firms are investing in client portals.
Whether cutting out time-intensive research tasks or providing new platforms from which to offer legal services, the accepted business model of law firms is being disrupted.
Ms Beckett adds that, "Innovation brings new opportunities for those in the legal profession. Legal career choices are broadening as new roles are created, such as legal technologists, legal project managers, legal process analysts and more.
"For law firms regardless of size, technology can help to achieve cost efficiencies and enhance decision making to satisfy client demands. The strong returns and benefits from these technological investments will come through the reassessment of key business components, including service offerings, fee structures, and staff career paths."
New technologies like business intelligence analytics and data analytics are slowly considered with 11% current use, mostly at the research phase. For many this technology means more opportunities for problem solving and strategic counsel. For others, it is viewed as a new challenge as technology comes with the expectations to deliver work faster with data-driven precision.
Smart Law: 2016 LexisNexis Roadshow Report highlights a willingness to examine and evolve organisational structures, operating models, cost structures and client offerings to enable the legal sector to get maximum value from the diverse skillsets of the next generation of legal professionals.
Pamela Philip, PPR
T:+61 2 9818 4044
Max Becker, LexisNexis
T: +61 2 9422 2841