"This year it’s bigger and bolder and drew participants from around the globe. In many ways it’s equal parts inquiry, reflection and advocacy on behalf of the professionals that enable lawyers to do what they do and grow the business of law." That is among just some of the content of the 2018 Aderant Business of Law and Legal Technology Survey. There are various studies and research surrounding the legal community, but the information in this survey is very relevant and is quite consistent with our previous predictions of the Top 10 Legal Tech Trends in 2018.
There is no denying that law firms have grown reliant on legal technology. Below we shared a few findings from the survey I was most interested in.
EFFICIENCIES OF TECHNOLOGY
First, I went back to the 2017 survey so I could quickly compare the results from last year to this year. For this question they asked "Which technologies provide law firms with the greatest overall effectiveness?" I was happy to see Business Intelligence was in the top 3!
- 90% said document management
- 88% said time and billing management
- 73% said financial management or ERP
- 70% said mobility and mobile apps
- 70% said business intelligence
Below is a breakdown of the business intelligence category responses.
TECHNOLOGY TO DRIVE EFFICIENCY
It's no surprise to me that the answers from this section of the survey suggest firms are looking to eliminate process inefficiency. Many of our clients are interested in just that. This case study with Crowell & Moring, shows how a legal BI software can consolidate hundreds of reports!
The top five from this category are all great examples of efficiency efforts. Automating routine tasks (64%) eliminates the need for human intervention where possible, while workflow automation (54%) tools tend to drive tighter collaboration. Both support process efficiency. Analytics (47%), integration (34%) and mobility (24%) are strong signals that law firms understand they have important data and are seeking to tie it together in ways they can analyze it and then deliver insight to those that need it.
This is very similar to results from last year, although it appears as if they split some of the topics which caused the numbers to vary a bit. Automating manual tasks included areas such as work flow automation and tools. But again, the topics are still relevant and look like they will continue to be top priority. According to open-ended comments from last year's survey "Law firms posses massive amounts of potentially useful data that goes un-examined."
In addition to efficiency and technology, the survey looked more broadly at the business of law. It found that the legal business climate is improving, with 57% of respondents saying that business at their law firm is better or much better than it was in the last 12 months. The larger the firm, the more likely it was to say its business was better.
There is no denying that in the past few year law firms have grown reliant on the business side of law and professionals that can help them compete. This blog post expands on the idea that both technology and economics push law firms towards a clearer view of the bottom line, which has given a rise to new firm-wide initiatives more relevant to the business itself,many these technology initiatives mentioned above. In many ways the business of law in regards to the community of people, has become "the human operating system of the legal business."
The top challenges facing firms the survey found are pricing, cybersecurity, operational efficiency, technology adoption, and competition. Hopefully with the help of some of this technology and innovation law firms will no longer face those challenges.
"A total of 138 business of law and legal professionals from law firms all over the globe completed this survey. The vast majority of respondents hold business of law, legal technology, or related legal professional in a role other than that of a practicing lawyer. This included C-suite staff, financial or accounting staff, IT personnel, and other important functions essential to running a law firm"
The full survey can be downloaded at: The 2018 Aderant Business of Law and Legal Technology Survey.
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