As we finish another unprecedented year, legal professionals are already looking ahead to gauge what's next for our changing industry. What should lawyers be aware of to maintain resilience in 2022? How should we prepare? To stay afoot of upcoming changes to the legal landscape, here are six corporate legal tech trends to watch out for in 2022.
Trend #1: Embracing Cloud-Based Data Storage
Cloud-based data storage is becoming the norm for legal professionals across the globe because of its remote access capabilities, automated solutions, and intuitive interface. Both in-house and within a firm, corporate legal departments deal with vast amounts of business-critical data every day. Keeping it organized in an efficient and accessible manner is a growing priority––especially as companies scale. With new cloud-based legal solutions on the market, lawyers are trading their traditional corporate governance methods or outdated software for modern cloud-based technology. According to a recent American Bar Association survey, 71% of legal departments and 75% of law firms plan to grow their use of data clouds in the coming years.
Not only does the cloud offer security and accessibility, but provides teams with more opportunities for online collaboration with different levels for user permissions and sharing capabilities. Finally, legal teams are embracing software that works the way they need it to.
Trend #2: Higher Tech Spending
The industry has made a huge pivot based in the past two years––adopting software solutions that ostensibly lacked a niche before the pandemic. However, despite the brief respite from the ongoing global circumstances, the legal industry’s new attitude toward technology isn’t going away. According to Gartner’s 21 Corporate Legal Tech Predictions Webinar, spending for legal technology will increase 300% by 2024.
Many legal departments, having been forced to adopt technology for remote-working purposes, have witnessed firsthand the return on investment of their new technology. Gartner also predicts that by 2024, 50% of the corporate transaction workload will be automated.
This increase isn’t just for the big guys either. Small and local law firms are realizing their need for corporate legal solutions. According to the American Bar Association, 62% of small law firms already budget for technology.
Trend #3: Streamlined Remote Work
With capricious global circumstances, remote-working looks like it's here to stay (at least part of the time.) What was once considered a temporary setback now looks like a norm for the foreseeable future, and law firms and corporate legal teams are investing in tools to make work-from-home most effective long term.
Cloud-based tools that allow for quick collaboration between lawyers, paraprofessionals, and clients reduce friction in the work-from-home model and offer transparency across projects. Collaborative purpose-built legal software offers solutions for the unique challenges presented to legal professionals. With corporate records now available securely in the cloud, and ink-pen signatures rendered obsolete, companies need not spend money on storage or courier services. In fact, Stanford calculates that companies save a minimum of $2,000 per employee by allowing remote working.
Trend #4: Document Automation
Legal professionals use technology to automate the time-consuming processes that hinder efficient operations. Gartner predicts that by 2024, 50% of corporate transactions will be automated, meaning more time spent on billable hours and building client relationships and less time spent on administrative processes.
With cloud-based document automation, data is seamlessly integrated into templates which populate signature-ready documents instantly. Through programming language and best-in-breed automation technology, precise and accurate documents like corporate summaries, registers/ledgers, certificates, and custom documents can be drafted in a single click.
Trend #5: Tech to Improve the Client Experience
In the changing legal landscape, clients expect transparency from the beginning. It is not uncommon for a client to ask for access to their corporate records and virtual minute books. Mature off-premises entity management solutions like Athennian’s allow for read-only access, giving clients the ability to view their data without altering it or increasing software costs.
Today’s sophisticated client’s expect their firms to leverage their productivity, too. According to Wolter’s Kluwer research, 76% of clients expect their firms to increase productivity through tech solutions.
Trend #6: Enhanced Focus of Cyber Security
With an increase in technology comes an increase in cybersecurity. Lawyers are expected to take a hands-on role in the protection of their team and their client’s data. Some software even has built-in security features, like Athennian and its SOC 2 Type 2 and ISO certifications.