Historically, legal departments have been resistant to technological change, leaning on the long-standing motto: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” However, the economic transformation over the past year has shown us that the motto should actually read: “if it ain’t broke yet, it might break soon, and your business will fall behind because of it.”
With the pandemic changing how we work, legal departments have seen a spike in technology spending, finding solutions that not only fix unforeseen problems but make day-to-day operations function efficiently and without friction.
This article rounds up the best sources on tech trends, the most accurate statistics for upcoming changes, and critical thoughts on the future of legal technology.
This article, derived from Gartner’s 21 Corporate Legal Tech Predictions Webinar, discusses five key statistics for the future of legal technology. It includes predictions on legal tech spending, which will be up threefold by 2024, and the future of legal team staffing. Gartner predicts that because of the pressing need to maximize lawyer’s skills and expertise, 20% of roles will be filled by non-lawyer candidates.
“Advancing key improvement and innovation efforts will likely require a different set of skills or perspectives than those typically groomed in a traditional legal education.”
The survey also predicts that by 2024, 50% of the corporate transaction workload will be automated. Further, the same study but from 2 years prior finds that 55% of the legal workload can be automated, leaving only a 5% gap for inefficiencies. With this shift toward automation, legal teams are leaving time-consuming administrative duties behind to focus on high-value and billable tasks.
Law.com’s analysis on the Wolters Kluwer 2021 Future Ready Lawyer Report finds that 57% of legal professionals plan to increase their tech investments in the next three years (up 6% from last year.) This increase is unprecedented, as legal teams are notorious for slow technological changes. In fact, 78% of the 700 surveyed plan to adopt collaboration tools, and 77% plan to employ automated contract drafting solutions. Adopting both solutions makes communication between parties more efficient and allows legal teams to use their skills on high-value tasks rather than day-to-day minutiae. Moreover, 81% of those surveyed will invest in E-signature solutions, which is a significant way to increase efficiency and maintain security.
Wolters Kluwer offers their own summary on the 2021 Future Ready Lawyer Survey, which provides insight on client-firm relationships. With corporate legal departments turning to tech solutions, law firms are compelled to do the same. Wolters Kluwer reports that 91% of legal departments intend on asking prospective firms about their use of technology in the next three years. 78% will expect their employed law firms to use technological solutions to deliver the best service possible, and 76% expect their firms to increase efficiency and productivity through these solutions. 24% of legal teams are prepared to switch firms based on their current expectations.
The American Bar Association’s 2020 Tech Report provides an analysis of the for purchase, ABA 2020 Legal Technology Report. Included in this report are statistics gathered from attorneys who, at majority, hail from small firms (under 50 attorneys) and who, on average, have been admitted to the bar for 30 years. ABA reports that 62% already budget for technology, with a direct correlation to firm size––the larger the firm, the more likely they are to employ technology solutions. It also reports that only 7% found that technology problems often impact their productivity. Most legal technology is outdated, fragmented, and lacks an intuitive interface. Athennian, with its user-friendly platform and expert engineering, offers the best-in-class solutions for those affected by technology problems.
Above the Law offers insight on a recently released report by American Legal Net (a survey based on interviews with attorneys from large-scale legal firms). ALN reports that almost 50% of those surveyed found that a year of remote work did not impact their yearly profits.
“[The] feared drop in productivity never materialized … By June [of 2020], we realized that we had not slowed down as much as I thought, and by September or October, we realized that we were actually having a pretty good year....”- Attorney interviewed by ALN
79% reported using technology to aid the shift to remote operations, and 64% are considering upgrading their technology based on their experiences during the pandemic. Notably, 52% have allotted a higher technology budget already.
The legal industry, just like the rest of the world, is changing––rapidly. With new technological solutions emerging, and the attitudes toward them transforming, it can quickly feel daunting. But it doesn’t have to be. Athennian makes migration easy––take the first step to enhancing your team’s productivity by contacting Athennian for a demo.