Technology is changing the legal sector. Legal practitioners all around the globe are facing new challenges caused by the swift evolution in technology, forcing them to rethink their workflows and methods.Because we know it's hard to keep up with what’s happening in the legal tech space and it might even be a little daunting, we gathered three of the most exciting trends for you.
You cannot advance your career or gain a competitive advantage if you are not aware of what is happening in your industry. Staying up-to-speed with trends is important in order to build your credibility and value. Only by being one (or ideally five) step(s) ahead of your competitors, you can continue to act as a top industry player and provide your customers with the best service possible.
1. Delocalisation & Cloud computing
In the last few years, the number of legal firms moving to the cloud has been increasing by 20% each year. But the pandemic caused quite an extra stir for many sectors, especially the more traditional legal sector.
During the pandemic, people were suddenly forced to work from home permanently, and had to be able to access their company database while working from an improvised home office in their sweatpants. This skyrocketed the need for cloud-based data storage. So much so that The London Daily Post even predicts that 58% of law firms will use a cloud-based data storage, such as Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, or Dropbox, in the very near future. Or in other words: on-premise document storage is “so 2019”.
There is no legal department or law firm that will deny the need to adapt to the delocalisation and cloud computing trend. Increasingly, this adaptation will become not only a competitive advantage, but gradually turn into a basic requirement and even stop being competitive at all. H.G. Wells said it best; Adapt or perish.
2. Liquid expectations
We live in a world where every one of our services is tailored to our needs and our high expectations. These expectations tend to trickle down from one sector to another. Today, legal practitioners expect the same ease of use they experience on a Friday evening when ordering their Thai food: fast service, almost no setup, intuitive design and effective output. Yet, a significant number of legal tech solutions still feels and acts as if they were developed in 2001, leaving legal experts frustrated. Frustration leads to discontent and rapid abandonment of any legal tech tool that does not live up to these expectations.
'Liquid expectations' is a trend that has been going on for over four years in other traditional industries. When predicting upcoming trends in legal tech this trend seems to have been overlooked by many. In 2021 and beyond, we anticipate that legal professionals will demand greater user-friendliness, lower maintenance, and almost no setup from their legal tech solutions. Legal tech should make lawyers’ lives easier, not add a setup and maintenance burden to agendas that are already bursting at the seams.
At henchman, one of our core values is "focus on the user, and all else will follow". We are obsessed with the problem rather than the solution, and we have fiercely and mindfully listened to our user base to create the best drafting experience ever made. This experience-focused product strategy becomes apparent when you see and use the product. But you don't have to take our word for it - try it yourself.
3. ArtificiaI intelligence
A recent survey commissioned by Mitratech revealed that 32% of legal operations leaders and lawyers will make artificial intelligence and machine learning a part of their technology roadmap in 2021.
Legal departments will leverage AI to deliver real-time insights and simultaneously help them be more efficient and effective. It is not AI’s goal to replace legal professionals but rather to equip them with the tools needed to replace the somewhat repetitive, manual tasks that typically waste valuable time and resources. In other words, allowing lawyers to focus on creativity and strategy and enabling them to be value-drivers for their customers.
Henchman uses AI to recognise contracts, clauses and definitions. Subsequently these are clustered and tags are automatically assigned. No setup. No maintenance. This means lawyers no longer need to open countless folders or endlessly scroll through contracts looking for that one clause created for that one client on whatever rainy Tuesday it might have been…
There you have it, three exciting trends to be on the lookout for: moving to the cloud, clearing the fog of user expectations and deploying AI to boost value. Even though trends come and go, it seems that many of the trends we have seen emerge in 2021 are here to stay and will only intensify in 2022. We can only encourage you to jump on the bandwagon and try to stay ahead of your competition.