The next five years: future of legal technology, legal business report by Aderant
Four years ago, we introduced a thesis called “Your Firm 2020.” At the time, we predicted the majority of law firms will expect legal technology to support better automation, mobility, and collaboration. We also noted that cybersecurity would be one of the most pressing concerns. As we publish this paper, we’re closing in on the final quarter of 2019 and we think those forecasts have largely played out.
Proof of this can be found from a variety of sources, including Altman Weil’s 2019 Law Firms in Transition survey: Regarding automation, the survey reports that “About half of the survey respondents (48%) reported using technology tools to replace human resources in order to increase efficiency of legal service delivery.” In addition, the survey noted that, “Most firms (62%) that have moved toward rewarding efficiency and profitability (not just absolute revenue) in partner compensation decisions have seen consequent improvements in performance.”
In the same survey, when asked what their firm is doing to develop a flexible, scalable and resilient business model, 63.3% of respondents cited a rethinking of office space requirements to include flexible, shared spaces. This suggests more and more firms are embracing the idea of mobility and the agile culture of today’s lawyers and staff.
Aderant’s own annual survey, the 2019 Business of Law and Legal Technology Survey, found that 57% of respondents use a mobile device for something as simple as time entry. Not surprisingly, it corresponded to their firms getting invoices published faster than those firms that did not enable mobile time entry for their lawyers.
As we have conducted this survey three years in a row, an interesting trend emerged in the way firms viewed cybersecurity. From 2017 to 2018, we saw a 57% spike upward of cybersecurity being a top challenge facing their firm. As this is such an important challenge, it’s no surprise it was addressed quickly. Consequently, from 2018 to 2019, we saw a 48% decrease of cybersecurity being a top challenge.