Insights from DCS

Knowledge for the information generation

Digital Tech Adoption in Legal Firms

By Neetika Khanna - 31 May 2016

The adoption of digital technology in the legal sector may increase from 20% to 50% by 2020 (Market guide to enterprise legal management, Gartner). This is being driven by market pressures on law firms such as:

  • Threats from new entrants who work on reformed cost bases and structures 
  • Increased regulatory scrutiny, with one out of three general counsels being targeted by a regulator over the last two years, according to the 2016 Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) Chief Legal Officers Study. 
     
  • One-third of in-house counsel saying their company or former company has experienced a data breach, according to the ACC.

What digital initiatives are proving beneficial? Here are few we have found common to leading UK law firms:

Adoption of social media: Law firms are treading the social waters carefully. They are releasing very controlled content on selected platforms, mainly LinkedIn and Twitter. The approach is careful (rightfully so) as the chances of hitting a landmine are quite high. All the efforts on social media are concentrated on acquiring new customers rather delivering better services digitally. In a google survey conducted by Moses & Rooth, more than 34% of potential clients began their counsel search online and it's this market share that legal firms are trying to grab.  

Customer portal:  A handful of law firms have implemented customer portals where their clients can really engage with the firm by uploading documents, see the status of their case and have calendar reminders to alert them of important dates. Such services are enabled with a robust back-end for content managementThe benefits are manifold as it gives firms a competitive edge by making it easier to engage with customers and also ensures security of client data and reduces compliance efforts.

Billing and invoice management: Billing and invoice management is an important part of the overall customer experience. Automating invoice management helps eliminate issues as late invoicing, delayed payments and provides transparency to customers which they really appreciate. Automating invoice processing also unlocks potential for savings and efficiency gains for law firms.

Central systems of correspondence handling: Legal firms receive high volumes of  correspondence as post, email and email attachments. Believe it or not fax still exists and shows no signs of dying. Some of this correspondence might call for immediate action, hence a solution to centralise all communications, categorise them by their importance or document types is a must to ensure speedy processing of incoming documents.

Automating regulatory procedures: Legal document managementand automation ensures adherence to policies such as for addition, handling, retention and deletion of case records.Automation has proven helpful in managing the legal discovery process. 

Law firms who have harnessed the power of digital technology have benefited from improved performance and higher customer satisfaction. The best returns have been seen from technologies that help achieve both objectives together.