Derek Southall of The Intuity Alliance/Hyperscale Group assesses how successful law firms are adapting to the new digital reality
More has happened in legal tech in the last three years than in the 20 that went before. It is now a $15.9bn market with only 20% market penetration. Many law firms are shell shocked by the rate of change. What steps are the successful digital firms (SDFs) of tomorrow taking?
SDFs know they can scale independent of headcount or expensive real estate. Legal fundamentalism is declining, with expressions such as ‘non-lawyer’ and ‘fee-earner’ disappearing.
SDFs employ artificial intelligence experts, business analysts and data scientists.
They recognise that conventional IT delivery models lack relevance and they are shifting to cloud or virtualised systems such as Work 10, Netdocs, Repstor, Clio, Peppermint, LexisOne and HighQ.
IT experts in SDFs now focus on those enabling and disruptive technologies that actually make a difference to client delivery. SDFs recognise that full-service firms need to partner and collaborate as they simply will not have enough manpower or skills. Innovation functions are being created to work with as opposed to against IT functions.
‘Successful digital firms recognise they are part of an innovation ecosystem and understand proptech, fintech and blockchain, and their place in these markets.’
Derek Southall, Hyperscale
SDFs want systems with the perfect trilogy of cloud, AI and content to take understanding to another level, together with low-code systems that are quick to deploy, such as Kim Technologies, Manzama and HighQ.
SDFs ‘get’ the concept of scalable platforms; EY certainly do with their Riverview Law acquisition. SDFs – and the Big Four – productise their offerings with scalable client solutions, such as for IFRS 16.
Successful digital firms recognise they are a part of an innovation ecosystem and understand proptech, fintech and blockchain, and their vision of their place in these markets. They know that ‘RegTech’ – technology such as Intraspexion and Tessian designed to prevent regulatory breaches – will be huge, as do IBM with their Promontory Financial Group acquisition.
SDFs do not teach their lawyers to code, but they are educating them on what is possible and many start-ups are putting traditional legal tech to shame – Juro, ContractPodAi and Ping. Why did it take Joshua Browder and Billy Bot to show Big Law how to develop bots?
SDFs know future systems will auto-price, assemble diverse teams and leverage third-party resource, from firms like Lawyers On Demand and F-LEX, with recommendation engines surfacing knowledge.
Public datasets will be mined by Lex Machina and tools like LexPredict, Case Crunch and Tyler Technologies will transform dispute resolution.
SDFs understand that legal tech vendors are marketing direct to their clients and organisations such as the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium will alter the work that clients will outsource. They are optimising their ability to digitally integrate with other providers and systems, such as Alacrity Law, and many will be watching the recent $68m investment in Atrium very carefully.
These firms know that digital is here to stay and that the rule book for legal services is being rewritten. They know this could be their moment.
For more information, please contact:
Derek Southall, founding director, The Intuity Alliance; chief executive, Hyperscale Group
T: 0333 772 2255