Silver linings emerge with the rise of tech adoption in legal, according to InfoTrack

To suggest 2020 has been a turbulent year would be an understatement. As words like unprecedented, R number and new-normal spread like wildfire through the social lexicon, a paradigm shift was taking place in what has become the largest scale social experiment on the planet. When countries locked down overnight, businesses had to find alternative ways of operating and shift their business models to accommodate a host of newly imposed restrictions.

The Financial Times reported in June that the pandemic had been speeding up law firm adoption of technology, and software innovation in key areas like property and conveyancing was keeping the sector moving. As we saw following the 2008 financial crisis, global events force change at a significantly faster rate than we’re used to.

The legal industry in the UK has been slower to adopt new technology into their practices than other sectors. While the more tech-savvy firms may have been quicker to adopt digital processes, the digitisation of legal processes cannot take place without two key factors; changes accepted and initiated by leading industry and governing bodies, and the solutions providers to facilitate it.

Cue the upending of life as we were accustomed to, in March 2020; when businesses were subject to pivoting swiftly or risk being left behind. At the beginning of the year, it would not be uncommon to walk through the offices of a law firm and see in-trays filled with documents, files stored in folders and visits from the postman regularly. Eight months on, and things have taken on a different shape. From 27th July 2020, HM Land Registry announced they would accept electronic signatures for deed submissions. This was a huge step for the digitisation of conveyancing and marked a new era for the conveyancing industry in the UK. Emerging out of necessity, the change took place to ensure that the property market was not hindered further.

Recognition of the need for a digital future within legal is in sharp focus now and the pandemic was a big catalyst for change. The wheels are in motion and the evolution of the legal sector has been propelled forward with firms’ ability to offer everything from client onboarding and ID verification to post-completion without paper, post or stepping foot inside an office.

Despite the challenges 2020 has presented, it’s silver linings like digitisation that are shaping the future of the legal industry for the benefit of law firms and their clients.

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