If you want the short answer to this question, it’s not yet.
The adoption of technology by the legal industry has been slow-moving. We first saw new technologies emerge to digitise document storage, data rooms and case management systems. As they have become more or less commonplace, the innovations have provided incremental improvements to the way lawyers work – streamlining, optimising and providing new insight. While the industry is moving in the right direction, we are yet to see technology bring something new to the table; the tools haven’t changed the process entirely nor enabled lawyers to deliver legal services in a totally different manner.
Where we have started to see more investment is in emerging technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, Natural Language Processing and process automation fields. With more interest than ever, the discourse around legaltech (as we have seen in all industries) has moved on to become dominated by the big ideas and potentialities of technology to bring about fundamental change and industry-wide transformation.
However, the key word here is ‘potential’; there are still large steps to take to develop the new opportunities and, critically, open our minds to embrace technology.
Despite a surge of innovation and growing intent from firms to embrace technology, lawyers continue to rely on email to communicate and Microsoft Word for everything else. We do have to start to question when the true point of ignition will be. Covid has undoubtably been a catalyst and an agent of change, but what will it take for law firms to wholeheartedly start to change and adapt their practices?
It is important to remain balanced, however, and not think that everything needs to change, at least not immediately. Change for change’s sake is not productive, and the reality when at the coalface can tell a different story.
We explore these key themes around legaltech and how legal services could change with the intervention of digital tools in Shieldpay’s first collaborative eBook. We worked with leading legal industry voices, both practitioners and technologists, to bring together their insights on what the future may hold for the transaction management lifecycle.
The book is divided into three sections, reflecting the three key stages of the transaction management lifecycle: build, manage and complete. However, there is an emerging fourth stage discussed in the book. Increasingly, lawyers are considering what happens after the deal is completed – how can the loop be closed? With all the data being collected from start to finish, how can firms start to add more value to their service? Although there has been a clear focus of new tools on how to enhance the delivery of service for the lawyers – increasing speed, reducing administrative burden and enhancing efficiency – simultaneously there is a drive to improve the quality and delivery to strengthen client relationships and thereby opportunity for repeat business.
We answer these big questions, and more. Our contributors tackle some of the most prominent digital innovations in the industry, such as automation, Artificial Intelligence, blockchain and the emerging focus on data, as well as the industry’s undying love of legacy software. Throughout the book, we contemplate the true power of digital innovation and its ability to fundamental change the industry, looking at the applications, the barriers to adoption and how deal teams could change as a result.
To access the insights from prominent industry figures from firms such as Ashurst, Stephenson Law and Foot Anstey, and legaltech companies Juro, iManage, Avvoka, SeedLegals, Structure Flow, Ruby Datum and Legatics, download the eBook from the Shieldpay website.