The many changes in technology that impact the society today bring both advantages and also some challenges. These technical changes have affected the law firms and attorneys too! First and foremost is that people are expecting new kind of lawyers. These expectations of clients are like a double-edged sword that brings with them both advantages and the possibility of causing loss of revenue from the legal practice if the changes are not handled properly.
Lawyers want to practice law
Practicing law is the one thing that lawyers are not only motivated to do, but also something they like and specialize in. Anything that takes them away from practicing law is sub-optimal. However, the way society is changing based on the new technology adoption, and they also have to adapt to the new environment to a certain extent.
Impact of technology on legal profession
Changes are happening in technology, and they are being adopted rapidly by large numbers of the population. That is driving the change in business models. Look at the impact of technology as seen by the way Uber disrupted the taxi industry. While in the taxi industry the technology change is the disruptive innovation, while for the legal professionals the changes have been mostly of the sustaining innovation type. The tools to improve the business processes have matured and are increasingly being more widely adopted.
Pricing pressure and more savvy clients
The one area that is negative for legal professionals is the new models of providing legal services via online resources. This makes the clients a little savvy on at least some of easier aspects of legal services. Where the clients can find excellent quality service via online resources, the volume and billing rates of the services have been negatively impacted.
Business is growing from clients throughout innovative businesses
Innovative companies do things differently, and their pace and methods of work are truly unique. Their expectations from lawyers are different. Innovative firms are used to being rewarded for their various ways of approaching work. So when they see law professionals who are a couple of generations behind in adopting technology or new business processes, they feel very uncomfortable working with such professionals. They may feel that such law professionals will have difficulty getting them quality legal service.
Legal industry technology providers strive to make things better for the attorneys
Adopting new software is a bit of a challenge, and when the software is not well designed, it becomes very cumbersome and difficult to use. This issue becomes amplified manifolds for busy professionals like lawyers. Any technology solution that will allow the legal professionals to adopt to technology quickly, intuitively and reliable manner will be appreciated and more likely to be utilized.
Time scarcity and the legal profession
Time is the least inflexible resource and legal professionals know this better than anyone else. Everything a lawyer does takes time including listening to a client, drafting the case, thinking of trial strategy and driving to court. The success and effectiveness of a lawyer are determined by how well they manage their time, the scarcest resource. Any tool that helps save time is a great help to lawyers.
Some things tire us, and our brains need a little break after such tiring work. Surprisingly, legal professionals may not get tired as much from legal work as other aspects of maintaining records for billing. After doing this necessary but tedious work that many lawyers may consider mentally draining. It affects their ability to move on to do productive legal work immediately. To avoid such challenges, there are tech companies who work hard to simplify the billing and time keeping process to ensure the legal billing process is done as effortlessly as possible.
Security is a challenge, and there are some solutions too!
Losing access to a social media account that posts pictures of restaurant meals or beautiful landscapes are not big an issue. But when dealing with emotionally involved matters like lawsuits, the issues that can arise from a security breach sometimes have serious consequences. So a cloud based software that does not need regular installation unlike a desktop based software to be secure could be the blessing.
Client expectations due to technology adoption
Clients may expect new ways of interacting with lawyers in how they receive their bills and pay them. They may not like to see a bill via traditional mail. They may just want an email and the ability to look it up online and make payment online after reviewing the bill.
Advantages provided by quality technological solutions
Good legal application software provides many benefits. Cost savings is only one aspect of it. Legal billing software can reduce the time and also make timekeeping easy. Reducing time could not only help in the professional life of a lawyer, but it could also contribute to getting better work-life balance. Similarly, many other aspects of a law firm can free up the active time available to focus on more billable activities, in developing skills that allow for higher hourly billing rates or having better work-life balance.
Overall, this is a time of both opportunity and challenge. There have been several such phases in the legal industry, and the legal professionals have overcome those successfully. The brightest and the most motivated join the legal industry, and without a doubt, adopt and overcome this challenge.