How ‘old law’ can adapt to the threat of alternative legal services providers (Part 2)

Becoming legally-trained management consultants and undertaking chargeable legal project management aren’t the only ways lawyers can respond to ‘new law’ threats. Having a response is, however, critical.

Growing awareness of the capabilities of legal technology and adoption by the legal industry means it is inevitable matters will be run with ever-increasing efficiency. Lawyers who don’t adopt the latest time-saving software will always find themselves being undercut in competitive tenders. But there’s more lawyers can do than simply engage in a ‘race to the bottom’ on price.

1.  Be technology specialists

Technological solutions offer exceptional opportunity, even the simple ones. That’s good news for a largely technophobic industry. Blindly following competitors into acquiring the latest software isn’t true innovation though. Why not instead:

Critically, by deploying software unique to your firm – or using existing products better – firms can insulate themselves from the threat of new law and distinguish themselves from old law competitors.

2.  Get automating

Despite naysaying from lawyers, running through a precedent checklist is a task capable of automation. Proofreading is a task capable of automation. Receiving client instructions and matter opening can all be automated. It’s worth investigating the many applications firms are creating with Neota Logic such as King & Wood Mallesons’ Foreign Investment Review Board tool, or considering legal technology start-up Josef, a specialised chatbot builder for the legal industry. Much more is possible too. English magic circle and silver circle firms are true innovators in this space – you can learn how by reading our two part series (Part 1 and Part 2).

Importantly, developing these tools require existing firms to leverage their significant intellectual property resources in precedents, policies and matter documents, and the collective human capital of the firm. It’s little wonder why only the largest – and most prestigious – firms are beginning future-proof themselves by dabbling in the legal technology space.

‘New law’ start-ups can’t – in the short term – erode such a competitive advantage.

3.  Questions to ask

For a creative introduction to how legal practice might be transformed, lawyers should ask themselves:

1.     Which existing processes are repetitive and time-consuming?

2.     Are you still drafting documents the old fashioned way? 

3.     How are you adapting your in-house training of junior lawyers to respond to the changing landscape? 

4.     What if legal research were automated away? 

5.     Do you know how your bills are being used? 

6.     Could your clients use legal software you have developed?

7.     Would a tool to enable expensive subject specialists to more efficiently complete matters be better than one to enabling a task to be completed by paralegals?

There are many possibilities.

Unless lawyers adapt to this new legal paradigm, matters will continue to evaporate as new law businesses use superior technology and business processes to deliver a better result, for less money, while delivering a more pleasant customer experience.

Our services

Lawyers wanting to learn more should consider our range of continuing professional development seminars and our range of legal technology and marketing solutions.