2023 Legal Technology Trends
Legal technology can help law firms achieve greater productivity without resorting to hiring additional staff. Legal tech spending has been rising recently, from digital marketing to legal automation tools. Specialized CRM software can help law firms securely track data, manage their cases, and gain fresh insights. Following emerging legal trends can give you an edge over your competition.
Legal tech is the use of software, applications, and general technology to provide support and services to law firms and other organizations in the legal industry. Legal tech can include emerging technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence to help legal professionals work more efficiently.
Legal technology generally refers to software, such as programs, rather than hardware, such as computers. You can use plenty of generic business tech across multiple industries. However, legal tech is specific to the legal industry and carefully tailored based on what legal professionals do daily and their anticipated needs.
Law firms that embrace the latest innovations in the legal technology field will benefit from increased productivity. This efficiency is due to features such as task automation to reduce staff time spent on repetitive tasks, increased visibility from digital marketing, and intuitive case management software.
Growth of Legal Tech Spending
Research companies predict that legal technology budgets will triple through 2025. The pressure on legal professionals to drive efficiency and manage the workload in their departments is expected to intensify in the coming years.
Many legal departments have needed modernization upgrades for some time. By increasing spending on technology, they can reduce their dependence on outside counsel while upgrading their department through the digitization and automation of legal work.
Legal leaders are likely to choose technology over hiring additional personnel for several reasons:
Legal technology can help these departments meet productivity demands and support existing workflows while adapting to changes in technological advancement and the corporate environment.
Growth of Digital Marketing Spending and Website Investment
Law firms are embracing digital marketing, online advertising, and web development. The American Bar Association’s 2022 Legal Technology Survey found the trend toward leveraging digital marketing nearly universal, with only 6 percent of responding law firms lacking a website.
A growing number of law firms rely on internal marketing staff to manage their websites. Law firms often turn to their marketing staff or outside consultants to create their website content, but the survey, which is part of the ABA TechReport 2022, revealed that lawyers still execute a large share of marketing tasks.
Law firm content has remained fairly consistent over the past several years. Typical content includes:
A smaller percentage of firms publish consumer guides written in-house and externally written legal articles. And less than half of the survey respondents said their firms syndicated their content on social media and outlets such as Law360 and Bloomberg.
Growth of Less Traditional Legal Roles
Law firms are getting out of the habit of using lawyers to handle the majority of roles within the firm. In recent years, there has been an uptick in nontraditional legal roles that use technology. These roles include:
Legal operations in particular was also highlighted during this year’s CLOC conference. As more law firms embrace developing technology, you can expect these roles to grow and for additional roles to crop up to support advancing technological developments.
Investment in Automation Tools
Legal automation tools take routine or manual legal tasks and automate them. These tools save time and increase the firm’s efficiency. These legal automation tools are often aimed at the low-level process part of a lawyer’s job, such as:
- Copying and pasting
- Printing PDFs
- Scanning documents
- Notifying colleagues of project updates
Performing these tasks, though important, is not an efficient use of a lawyer’s time. Legal automation allows firms to free up time in their attorney’s day and set them on more critical assignments.
- Contract automation
- Contract review
- Electronic signatures
- Automated billing management
- Knowledge management
- Automated workflows
- Automated risk and compliance management
- Obligation management
Data Storage in the Cloud
Storing data in the cloud has obvious benefits. Each of the firm’s attorneys will be able to manage and supervise their legal data on the internet from any device, anywhere in the world.
The benefits of cloud storage are so profound that the American Bar Association’s 2022 Tech Report noted phenomenal growth in this sector. For example, between 2021 and 2022, cloud storage increased by the following:
60% to 70%
65% to 75%
60% to 70%
65% to 75%
Popular cloud services among lawyers include generalized business tools such as Microsoft 365, Dropbox, and iCloud.
Increase in Cybersecurity Focus and Spending
Cyberattacks are on the rise, and many security experts feel unprepared to mitigate future threats. Law firms handle immense amounts of sensitive data. With cybersecurity coming into sharp focus in the approaching years, your law firm must have a strong incident response plan should the unthinkable occur.
Unfortunately, the ABA survey revealed that only 42 percent of respondents have any cybersecurity incident response plan. Of the respondents, larger firms were most prepared, with 72 percent claiming to have a plan. However, the likelihood of having an incident response plan fell in tandem with the size of the firm polled, with only 9 percent of solo respondents claiming a plan in the event of a cyberattack.
Policies surrounding technology governance are growing. An impressive 89 percent of respondents claim to have established one or more policies governing technology. This number is up from 83 percent in 2021 and 77 percent in 2020.
Further Adoption of CRM Software to
The AdvoLogix CRM offers an artificial intelligence-powered legal solution. It is based on Salesforce but is customizable to your law firm’s needs. It integrates with various popular business and legal applications to help increase your firm’s efficiency.
AdvoLogix has over 15 years of experience bringing cloud-based solutions to legal departments and public service groups. The AdvoLogix CRM has repeatedly helped law firms and other organizations scale their business without the requisite growing pains.
Employing the right CRM software for your firm can help you build stronger relationships with your clients while ensuring that opportunities are not falling through the cracks.
Increase in Cybersecurity Focus and Spending
As remote work becomes mainstream, the role of the virtual assistant is increasing in law firms. Today, it is common for people to work from home and use video conferencing apps to connect with colleagues and clients.
Tech-savvy law firms focus on capitalizing on emerging technologies to improve their workflow and client experience. Their less technologically minded counterparts may spend significant time performing repetitive tasks, such as:
- Scheduling meetings
- Managing case history databases
- Communicating with clients
- Searching for documents
Legal assistants can provide a high level of administrative support to help law firms and solo practitioners thrive efficiently in today’s fast-paced environment.
Increased Attention to Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) is an exciting prospect for law firms. While it may not yet be advanced enough to take over daily law firm tasks, it may get to that stage soon. As it evolves, innovative lawyers will find new ways to incorporate it into their practices.
Currently, law firms already use artificial intelligence to automate tasks such as discovery and contract review. Google’s Document AI is an example of a tool that allows firms to analyze and store data from documents.
As AI technology advances, you can expect to see more complex tasks handed over to artificial intelligence. OpenAI’s ChatGPT may also prove useful to law firms in executing a variety of tasks as its developers expand its capabilities.
The future for artificial intelligence in law firms is nearly limitless. However, there are four functions that machines are not able to recreate:
Lawyers and legal staff will always execute tasks requiring these functions. Law firms may allocate the rest to artificial intelligence in the future.
Legal technology continues to be an exciting and growing sector. Over the coming years, legal tech will likely continue to gain momentum. A career in the field of legal tech can be a promising and lucrative move. Entering a growing market on the ground floor can lead to exciting career opportunities.