WHAT IS LEGAL TECH?
Legal technology, or Legal Tech, is the use of technology and software to provide legal services and aid the legal profession. Many legal technology firms aspire to shake up the usually conservative legal sector.
A number of tactics and technical tools were used to meet legal criteria. Web technology and conventional programme design have been employed to accomplish goals such as increasing access to case law. Machine learning algorithms have been used to help with research and due diligence. User experience design seeks to make contracts simpler to use.
WHY LEGAL TECH?
Increased tech use isn’t exactly a risky gamble to make. Gartner forecasts that legal department technology will increase by 200% by 2025. Similar forecasts are made by a tonne of other studies, some of which are carried out by groups with an interest in seeing adoption rise.
TRENDS IN LEGAL TECH
Legal technology is an industry worth many billions of dollars. In 2019, the industry generated USD 17 billion globally. By 2025, the legal and technology startup sector is projected to develop at a 28% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) and bring in USD 2.5 billion.
Despite this significant increase, there is still a discrepancy in the legal profession. Take a peek at the World Justice Project’s Global Insights on Access to Justice Survey’s 2019 figures for the United States:
- 66% of those asked said they had a legal problem.
- 76% were able to find assistance.
- Only 33% of those questioned said they could get advice or legal assistance.
- Only 48% of those questioned were able to resolve the problem.
- Those that found a solution had to wait at least eight months.
- 45% of those who had a problem had difficulty.
These statistics were given by the United States, which has one of the highest lawyer-to-population ratios. Nearly four billion people, according to the UN, live in a world where there is no established legal system. If the legal sector can fully realise its enormous potential, both individual attorneys’ practises and the entire business will undergo significant change.
With a $380 million addressable market, India is also developing in this sector. Growing data accessibility, widespread adoption of digital technology, a healthy climate for innovation and investment, and explicit legislative support all contribute to Legal Tech finally reaching the nation’s long-desired inflection point.
SEGMENTATION OF LEGAL TECH
Using contract management software, legal experts and other professionals may create, negotiate, renew, and gather information on current corporate contracts. Contract management software may assist your organisation in ensuring that every contract’s intended purpose is properly realised by maximising contract performance, insuring the enforcement of commercial terms, accelerating cash flow and time-to-revenue, and lowering the risk of noncompliance.
Contract management software is no longer a luxury in today’s setting of increasing business complexity and unpredictability; it is a need.
An instrument used to continually measure, monitor, and audit whether company operations are in compliance with relevant laws, organisational regulations, and consumer and business partner standards is compliance management software.
Law Practice Management
Legal practise management software is a software that manages a law firm’s case and client data, billing and bookkeeping, timetables and appointments, deadlines, and computer files. It is also intended to help with any compliance needs, such as document preservation regulations and electronic filing systems used by courts.
Legal research and analysis software
Lawyers can look into legislation, case law, and specialised legal concerns using legal research tools. Law firms can utilise this software to go over data points and find the best precedents while preparing for trial or working through a case.
ADVANTAGES OF LEGAL TECH
The most developed B2B market has demonstrated that the legal IT business is expanding, particularly among major law firms. Collaboration tools, document management, intellectual property management, and electronic billing are among the most well-established technology.
The adaptability of legal technology development is another benefit. 50% of legal technologists have seen an improvement in the services they offer as a result of the Covid-19 health crisis, enabling them to create new features or specialised services like crisis management. However, as technology develops, legal professionals may feel pressured to use it in order to boost productivity while also adding stress and complexity.
As client demands for cost and speed increase, the demographics of the legal profession are changing in favour of a younger, more technologically competent workforce. The basic barriers to the use of legal technology continue to be a challenge for the legal profession, but firms who manage to get through them are seen as trailblazing, cutting-edge law firms.
Adopting legal technology is critical because it will have a significant impact on how law and the legal profession grow in the future as new technologies, delivery methods, and business models emerge. How can a law firm easily adapt new practises? Implementing a number of simple, helpful tools is a great place to start.
Another significant benefit is automation. Many functions of managing a legal business may be automated using a wide variety of software. The application, for instance, enables you to schedule meetings, manage papers, and carry out other tasks. Additionally, automated billing frees up your time so you may focus on more important legal issues. By not needing to engage an office manager or assistant to handle administrative tasks, you will save time and money.
Improved customer satisfaction
The fact that legal technology provides a better user experience and may keep your clients happy is a significant advantage. Even if you give the finest quality legal work, your consumers may be disappointed with your overall level of service if they were not as connected or involved as they could have been. Consider how legal website aspects such as live chat are used by legal technology. This feature may increase client satisfaction.
Higher mobility: the ability to work anywhere
It could be challenging to do business if you are unable to get to your physical attorney’s office due to bad weather or illness. You may set up your virtual office almost anywhere now thanks to advancements in legal technology. Your work is unaffected as a result.
Adapting to change
Even while electronic court filing has been available for some time, it may soon become mandatory. It’s a good idea to start using it straight away so you’re prepared for the shift. In fact, the American Bar Association (ABA) has a clause in its Model Rules of Professional Conduct stating that practitioners must stay current on relevant technology.
Considering that delays are the most common cause of complaints to the Legal fraternity, using technology may aid businesses in completing work a great deal more swiftly and properly. Clients need services to be given quickly; therefore AI systems may automate routine tasks in half the time it takes a human attorney. Regular legal tasks will be handled more swiftly and with greater participation, which will make clients happier.
Using technology improves productivity, precision, consistency, and even profitability; there is no dispute about that. More importantly, using legal technology enables lawyers to concentrate on serving their clients with the highest calibre of customer service and satisfaction.
DISADVANTAGES OF LEGAL TECH
In the legal profession, time is money. According to a commonly held concept in the industry, every minute spent on non-billable duties is “sunk” time that could have been spent on money-making projects. Some attorneys are hesitant to accept technology since it may be difficult to gain familiarity and usefulness in the early phases of adoption.
Using the stare decisis concept, typewriters, fax machines, and internet research were formerly regarded novelties that took a long time to learn. What would a modern law firm look like if, example, attorneys didn’t adopt word computers three decades ago? It would be significantly less effective and successful. It is crucial to follow the example of earlier attorneys and react to new technology with an open mind.
Law companies may be hesitant to invest in new technology since the return on investment isn’t always obvious. Some technological advancement is expensive, and if there isn’t a clear and immediate economic benefit, it could be challenging to see their value. They want to know how this will assist the company make more money. Firms must understand that attorneys will have to put in time for this, maybe without getting paid for it, but it will be beneficial in the long run.
If you feel this way about technology, you should reconsider. Despite the fact that it does not immediately increase revenue, renting office space is a critical investment for many lawyers. Customers of legal services are beginning to expect the use of technology in the legal profession. According to a recent research by Thomson Reuters Consumer Experience, four of the top five reasons for consumer dissatisfaction are technological in nature. Prior preparation will allow attorneys to deal with these difficulties before the market advances and makes them obsolete.
The speed trap
Speed is critical in a profession where every minute is worth a dollar. Some legal companies are cautious to invest in technology because they believe it may cause delays.
If time is an issue, keep in mind that not everything needs to be adjusted right now. Set the priorities for your practise first, and then work your way down the list as time and money allow.
REIMAGINING THE WAY THE LAW SHOULD BE PRACTICED THROUGH LEGAL TECH
- Despite traditionally being a late adopter of technology, market constraints are forcing innovation and change in the legal industry. Today, using legal technology is required to compete, especially in light of practitioner and client demand. There is a belief that the pace of change and adoption is quickening as the legal workforce becomes more mobile, younger, and tech-savvy. Some of those subjects and some of the impending disruptive personalities need to have been covered in this research.
- Why is there a disruption right now? While the new Legal Tech sector is still in its infancy, the urge to innovate and disrupt the status quo has risen. As the number of cases has grown, in-house legal departments have been seeking for ways to boost profit margins. Furthermore, the environment is changing owing to the changing demands of attorneys, such as their need for ongoing access to data and information.
- However, the pace of technological innovation and adoption has lagged behind that of other service sectors of the economy, including banking. The two main end-user components nevertheless face some substantial structural obstacles to investment. Change is resisted, in part because law businesses are firmly rooted in partnership arrangements and the billable hour philosophy. Second, internal legal departments are seen as cost centres; therefore, while increasing ROI via efficiency is beneficial, focusing on profit centres and investing in sales technology may be a more persuasive pitch.
- Despite these constraints, there is still a significant market accessible to investment and disruption. According to CB Insights, firms targeting the legal industry raised $155 million in venture capital in 2016 through a record-breaking 67 deals. Several significant focus areas identified in this analysis will improve in 2017 and beyond.
CHALLENGES TO LEGAL TECH
Why legal tech could not make its place in the Indian Legal Industry?
- Slow adoption has been an issue in embracing legal technology.
- Awareness: Many smaller legal tech companies have difficulty persuading corporations about the effectiveness of their solution.
- Marketing: Legal tech solutions could not develop a brand which requires a large marketing budget to combat the lack of trust stemming from lower awareness.
Case study: technology and litigation
The organization’s contractual position is enhanced through the usage of end-to-end contract management software. It enables monitoring to prevent violations and find out when the other party disobeys the contract.
By analysing comparable cases and outcomes, knowledge management systems enable legal to evaluate the chances of winning a lawsuit without relying on hurriedly completed human research or the experience and gut instinct of the legal function.
E-discovery tools make it easier to disclose information that is pertinent to the case, and cognitive text analytics point Legal’s attention to the most important portions of the other party’s disclosure.
By freeing up time from tasks that can be automated, technology as a whole reduces the risk of breach and aids the settlement and litigation processes, allowing lawyers to use their knowledge effectively.
WHAT’S HOLDING BACK LAW FIRMS FROM INNOVATING?
According to Altman Weil’s 2018 “Law Firms in Transition” study, which was published in May of this year, the most significant impediment to law firms innovating was partner resistance to change. When it comes to creativity, a partnership agreement may certainly provide a variety of obstacles. I’m not sure if this is the most pressing problem.
Two other significant obstacles impede legal firms from innovating:
1. By definition, law firms are cautious businesses. We are entrusted with our clients’ most private information, and it is our duty to protect that information at all times. Adopting new technologies and working techniques must thus be weighed against the requirement to fulfil other obligations, which may lead us to err on the side of conservatism more often than we should.
2. When compared to other industries, the legal profession has a lower diversity of perspectives. This means that the bulk of the talent pools at law firms are made up of people who work in the legal business. However, law firms are no longer among the world’s most creative enterprises. Firms that want to be on the cutting edge of legal innovation must employ new talent from outside the legal industry. Furthermore, law firms should make greater efforts to reduce needless levels of hierarchy so that all voices are heard and may contribute to the business’s direction.
3,Cost Vs. Revenue
Cost is a crucial issue in a company’s choice to embrace or reject technological solutions, especially when paired with the potential return on investment. According to a Bloomberg poll, more than half of in-house legal department participants agreed that “the biggest impediment to integrating technology at a faster rate is a lack of funding.” Investing in law IT solutions may appear counterintuitive when legal firms must cut costs to remain competitive, if not survive.
In a law practise, billable hours are equivalent to income. In essence, this means that everything that increases the productivity of your workforce decreases your profit. It also applies to software programmes that have to be managed and delivered to clients. Therefore, the more effective your legal technology assistance, the greater your income is.
The present pricing patterns of the various solutions exacerbate the situation, since legal firms often view law tech solutions as a cost. Choosing the cheapest choice is not always the best option. Businesses, on the other hand, must find a balance between cost and feature. You must select services that support your whole company’s procedures while keeping your costs to a minimum.
Cost – Because “AI” and “machine learning” are so well-liked, experts may charge more because their talents are in great demand. Law businesses are not used to investing money in products that may take years to complete and possibly much longer to turn a profit. It is fairly easy to spend a lot of money on software development and end up with little to show for it.
The other is danger; attorneys also provide clients with peace of mind. They do this by depending on time-tested procedures for finishing legal work. Contrarily, innovation requires a lot of work to ensure that it won’t create mistakes or raise risk because clients don’t want that.
MARKET SIZE OF LEGAL TECH
The legal profession is widely believed to be the most exclusive of all professional services. That idea has suffered greatly as LegalTech rapidly moves from the periphery of the industry to a prominent debate issue in the legal industry at large. The outbreak served as an impetus for the quick adoption of technology by the legal sector.
All parties, including attorneys, law firms, corporate, regulators, and the court, have approved LegalTech and are actively trying to speed its deployment as a consequence of the efficiency and accuracy gains.
Omidyar Network India estimates that the local LegalTech market is currently worth $380 million with only a 10% penetration rate. Additionally, it projects that over the next four years, the market will grow at a 35% annual rate. According to a recent CLOC poll, 54-57% of Indian businesses intend to automate their legal procedures.
According to a Forrester report from August 2020, the lack of digitalization was jeopardising the revenues of 47% of Indian firms. According to a recent Gartner study, Indian firms would spend three times as much on legal technology by 2025.
The 2019 Global Legal Department Benchmarking Report reveals that the use of technology by law firms across several legal fields has increased significantly.
Smart contracts, predictive analytics, and decision support tools are expected to be used by more than 80% of law firms by the end of 2022. Furthermore, the AI legal technology market was valued at $3.2 billion in 2018 and is expected to rise at a 36% CAGR by 2026.
A fully digital law practise should replace paper-based documentation, as evidenced by the 20% annual growth in cloud usage in the legal industry.
SEGMENT WISE MARKET SIZE OF LEGAL TECH
- Contract management & compliance: It is expected to grow at a CAGR of 13.5% from $1.5B to $2.9B by 2024. While there are comparatively fewer players in the end-to-end contract lifecycle management space in India, the market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 7% to reach $95M by 2025.
- Practice Management: The global legal practice management software market size is poised to grow by $933M during 2020-2024, progressing at a CAGR of almost 10% throughout the forecast period. The Indian market is similarly expected to grow from $24M to $40M by 2025.
- Legal Research and Analytics: The global market for Legal Analytics estimated at $770M in the year 2020, is projected to reach a revised size of $5B by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 30%. Greater digitization in India is leading to new customer demand growing the market from $72M to $85M by 2025.
EVOLUTION OF LEGAL TECH
- 1973: LexisNexis invents the little red UBIQ terminal that allows legal attorneys to search case law online.
- 2006: First version of the electronic discovery reference model (EDRM) was published.
- 2007: 800 Bn Gigabytes was the amount of ESI estimated because of digital tranformation in the law industry.
- 2008: The stock market crashes, acting as a catalyst for transformation in the legal technology market.
- 2012: LLM launches the first review-integrated legal tablet application.
- 2013: “Smart contracts” appears as protocol on top of blockchain technology to execute terms of a contract.
- 2015: Funding in legal tech startups hits an all-time yearly high of USD 289 Mn.
- 2016: IBM launches the world’s first AI lawyer.
- 2018: Thomson Reuters introduces Westlaw Edge, the next generation of its industry leading legal research platform. Many e-discovery and other legal companies merged or got acquired. Legal tech products transformed into platforms for better practice management.
- 2019: Annual investment in legal tech companies valued USD 1.2 Bn.
- 2020-2022: By the end of 2022, more than 80% of law organisations are expected to adopt the following technologies- smart contracts, predictive analytics and decision support tools.
- 2023-2026: $3.2 Billion was the valuation of the AI legal technology market in 2018, which is expected to rise with a CAGR of 36% by 2026.
CONSIDERATIONS WHEN ADOPTING TECHNOLOGY
We should expect varying levels of technology enablement within the legal function and, increasingly, digital transformation depending on the amount of regulation, the size of the organisation, and the industry in which it works. Large and highly regulated enterprises or those in the technology industry are likely to use more technology than less regulated, smaller businesses in conventional sectors.
There are several tasks that a legal function will do, some of which will be automated. The organization’s legal advisors, many of whom are already using e-discovery tools for this purpose, could handle infrequent tasks like legal due diligence while other activities that lend themselves to technological solutions could be assigned to other functions if they do not require legal expertise.
Before adopting technology, the operational plan for the legal function should be in accordance with the organization’s strategy. The strategic roadmap will transit Legal from its current condition to the ideal operational model, representing Legal’s end-to-end procedures as defined by a process analyst. It will also discuss how technology may be leveraged to its advantage, including solution installation. As a result of the new strategy, the person in the relatively new position of CLOO is likely to take the lead in modifying the role.
Putting together the right team
It takes a combination of information from both inside and outside the firm to choose the best technology. Data scientists who are knowledgeable about workflow and how to employ natural language processing must work in collaboration with lawyers who are familiar with the organization’s market and legal environment. A programme management office handles change management and inter-team communication difficulties between the GC’s team and technologists under the direction of a project manager with experience in both the legal and IT fields. Legal tech has suffered if IT is not included when introducing even the most basic technologies in the past.
During the review and implementation phases, it makes sense to draw on Legal’s current experience and analytical grasp of technology’s possibilities and restrictions. These insights might have resulted from advising on an enterprise-wide AI strategy, consulting with other divisions that have introduced a digital component that produces revenue to the business model, or installing technology to boost productivity and reduce costs.
After determining the problem(s) to be solved using technology that would substantially influence cost, efficiency, labour mix, or results, it makes sense to select the data Legal would find most important, as well as the appropriate reporting and visualisations. However, implementation should not begin until Legal has investigated its feasibility, sustainability, compatibility with other tools or systems, and budgetary viability (with aid from other departments or independent experts). The roll-scale outs are critical. Rather than compounding issues throughout the organisation, which raises the likelihood of failure, it may be prudent to begin with the head office legal department controlling the technology, optimising the team’s skills, and extracting the most value from the data Legal has.
To properly use the technology, assess how it will affect people and processes, create a change management strategy to win support, and instruct the legal team in its usage and upkeep. For instance, if a contract management system is put in place but not properly maintained, it may eventually get clogged with expired contracts, which might distort data until the population is cleaned out of them.
FUTURE SCOPE OF LEGAL TECH
- Client collaboration is the centerpiece of the legal economy
The key trend that will continue to change the legal landscape is the rising emphasis on client collaboration.
Law firm technology will enable professionals to communicate with their clients more effectively in order to promote transparency, efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and the quality of legal judgments.
- Predictive Legal Analytics will be on the rise
The transition from analytics to predictive analytics will be one of the key legal issues. The use of this technology by law firms will lead to the creation of innovative solutions that improve strategic planning and other data-driven information. Both established law firms and cutting-edge legal tech startups will use this to incorporate predictive analytics into their mobile applications and other services.
- Growth in Virtual Assistance and Automation
Another trend that will endure in the legal business is the increased use of virtual assistants and automation technology.
These programmes and platforms would be utilised by both solo practitioners and small legal clinics to manage a range of tasks, including as meeting scheduling and intake.
- Advent of new legal solutions using AI and Blockchain
In the upcoming years, a wide variety of innovative legal solutions utilising the potential of AI and Blockchain will proliferate and take over the market.
These legal technology tools will help legal practitioners find better clients, devise fresh marketing plans, and choose the best ways to do business in a cutthroat, client-driven market.
- Rise in Legal tech investment, products and services
As more individuals become aware of the benefits of adopting mobile applications and technology in the legal business, acquisitions, mergers, and funding will expand. Existing legal organisations and investors will collaborate with emergent enterprises to gain a stronger market presence.
As a result, the number of legal technology consultants that specialise in aiding law firms with the integration of cutting-edge technologies into their present model will grow.
- Change in Hiring process
Finally, this year and beyond, there will be a big upheaval in the job process. Businesses and legal tech firms will eagerly seek out now-lawyers to hire so they may significantly improve their operations. This group consists of people with background in process management, C-suit administration, and sales.
Non-attorneys will help to improve the environment and provide new ideas for increasing company efficiency, while lawyers will continue to focus on high-level, substantive obligations.
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