Yet many firms may still be struggling to meet these demands with outdated IT and connectivity systems that make communicating with colleagues and clients a challenge.
In an environment where many professionals are working from home and key meetings and hearings are taking place remotely, how can firms be sure they’re meeting these demands?
Are law firms ready for the rise of virtual services?
Historically, the legal profession has been very risk-averse, which makes it slow to adopt new technologies and ways of working. For instance, even technologies such as electronic signatures have only started gaining acceptance in the last couple of years in many firms.
When it comes to advanced solutions, many firms remain behind the curve. For example, a 2020 Wolters Kluwer survey found 76 per cent of professionals agree that the increasing importance of legal technology is a key trend for the sector at the moment. However, only 28 per cent of respondents said they were “very prepared” for it.
This is something that will need to be addressed quickly, as the survey also highlighted the importance of technology in meeting client demands. These expectations have only increased in the wake of challenges such as Covid, which has pushed many business interactions to virtual solutions.
To ensure firms have a client-first environment, they’ll need the right collaboration solutions. Consumers are now highly familiar with being able to do almost anything through their smartphone, from grocery shopping to banking, so why should seeking legal advice be any different?
The same is true for those operating in the business world. Wolters Kluwer’s study found corporate legal departments have quickly turned to technology to improve productivity and efficiency, and they expect external law firms to do the same.
Indeed, 81% of corporate legal departments said they will require law firms to describe how they are using technology to be more productive and efficient within three years – double the number doing so in 2020.
The right tools to work anywhere, any time
So how can law firms go about meeting these expectations? The first step must be ensuring the underlying connectivity systems are in place. This means tools like high-speed broadband and unified communications solutions are a must.
This is essential in supporting services such as cloud telephony, video conferencing and collaboration tools like file-sharing. Being able to conduct business remotely is a minimum requirement for any legal business today, and without secure, effective solutions for this, firms will quickly get left behind.
Wolter Kluwer’s research revealed 62% of technology leaders in the legal sector report increased profitability year-on-year, compared with 29 per cent for those still transitioning, and just 17 per cent for firms that are still trailing in this area.
It’s therefore clear that the right technology means happier clients and better overall performance. So if you’re yet to get on board with the latest tools, what are you waiting for?
Read more: How the Legal sector can respond to 2021’s challenges
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