Two-faced Lawyers Embrace Technology
We have the Rumpoles (of the Bailey) and the Martha Costellos from Silk, sitting together in our esteemed law firms, each exuding the same gravitas but clearly very different animals.
Both record their time in 6-minute increments, dictate letters into Dictaphones about the meeting they just recorded - to download and send via email to fast-fingered secretaries - to type up to send back to more secretaries, one of whom, 2 hours ago placed said Dictaphone in a drawer for use later… you get the idea. Inefficient? Needlessly labour-intensive perhaps?
Come on everybody, it’s time to join the dots between generations; for old-school lawyers to shimmy with the newbies and AI bots to do the sorting through filing cabinets. It’s time to let technology do the boring bits so that lawyers can be lawyers.
Take my advice… that’s what lawyers offer (for a fee) and are good at. Clients still expect that personal touch, to be welcomed by name into suitably swanky offices by an immaculately dressed professional who can expertly export their troubles away. They expect the traditional lawyer-client relationship with its etiquette and values to be retained and seamlessly incorporated within a modern and efficient instant-gratification advice hub.
But there are difficulties marrying these two worlds. There are technologies hitting the market, aimed at law firms but are they user friendly? Will Rumpole crumple under the strain of taking on new LegalTech? Valuable time needed to train staff to use the tech and associated procedures make adoption seriously unattractive.
It has been suggested that LegalTech should be studied in law schools. That way at least the new Generation Y entering the legal profession will be prepared for the significant changes to law firms predicted to occur by 2025 according to a 2016 Deloitte report. We may end up with two-faced disjointed law firms with the younger staff approaching client matters with their tech-goggles on and older staff in their die-hard soft-lens varifocals.
Or, how about this, we introduce technology into law firms that we don’t need a law degree to operate?!
Where there’s a Will there’s no punctuation
(Sorry, couldn’t resist). Where there’s a will there’s a way. That’s why Dovetailed have taken the time to study how law firms work and what they need to keep up with the world and its social-media addicted Millenials.
The days when a problem was dumped on the family lawyer, never to be thought of again until the final bill arrived are fading fast. A new generation of clients are a-knocking and a-clicking, who want to interact with their lawyers and their cases in different ways. They would like to be able to access their case files, track progress and deadlines. Usually, this requires the client to implement an intricate filing system at home in order to keep track of letters, emails, legal forms, contracts and associated documentation. Imagine if a client could have a secure dedicated personal case portal, read only, to log into within the law firm but separate to the firm’s confidential internal files. Ta-daa – much of the filing has been done already. Bliss. The client can find things! With growing global competition amongst suppliers of legal services, offering this kind of accessibility rather than simply cutting prices will enable law firms to retain their deep-seated reputation for quality and showcase their dedication to innovation.
How about using Machine Learning or AI automation to assist with laborious research?
Perhaps there is an additional way to securely exchange documentation other than via fax, snail-mail or trusted courier? We cannot be complacent about the importance of security and confidentiality but it is worth exploring alternatives to these dying modes of data exchange. Many industries are moving to software as a service (SaaS) but legal firms have been reluctant to make the change because of issues with security.
We have been doing our utmost to get ahead of these newly arising concepts and developed some attractive, easy to use, swanky technologies to do the dull administrative bits, encourage personal interaction between lawyers, clients and technology and create a new buzz of excitement around what is possible. Voice-activated time-recording anyone?