By Legal Futures’ Associates The Cashroom
In the modern climate law firm efficiency and the implementation of technology are inextricably linked.
Technology has the potential to reduce time scales, drive more efficient processes and create an increasingly smooth and transparent customer journey.
According to the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) Technology and Legal Services report, almost half of all consumers and a third of businesses, who are familiar with using online platforms and apps, are beginning to demand a similar online technological solutions for legal services in the hope of improving convenience, communication and consistency.
Increased consumer demand is, in turn, putting pressure on law firms to adapt or face the realistic alternative of perishing. Embracing technology into legal services provision is such a huge consideration for law firms in 2019 that 80% consider it to be their key challenge over the next 2-3 years, according to PWC’s Annual Law Firms’ Survey 2019.
As the legal sector looks to improve efficiency, legaltech start-ups are beginning to flood the market in the hopes of finding a solution to help ease the burden by providing legal document drafting, automation, chatbots, artificial intelligence, smart legal contracts, case management systems, electronic dispute resolution, knowledge and research tools and lots more.
The Growth of Legal Technology
Just two years ago, only 10% of the top 100 law firms were using artificial intelligence technology to improve the accuracy and speed of processing large amounts of information. This has increased to 40%.
Following the introduction of price and service transparency regulations in England and Wales in December 2018, law firms are now a lot more aware of the digital onboarding and process offerings they are able to present their clients with. Pricing calculators, the use of chatbots and online portals are growing in popularity and use.
Over a third of all legal services are now accessed online or by email, at least in part, with this increasing to over 50% of conveyancing firms.
In 2014, investment in legal technology amounted to £1.5 million. So far this year, this figure has exploded to £61 million, tripling the £22 million investment made in 2018, according to information from Legal Cheek.
City firms are also choosing to invest in legal technology with a veracity never before seen in the sector. Many prominent law firms, such as Mishcon De Reya and Dentons, now utilise ‘in-house tech hubs’ in the hope of creating bespoke technological solutions specific to the firm’s unique needs.
HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) started upgrading the current courts system in England and Wales. The changes, costing in excess of £1 billion, have seen a range of digital and online services involving divorce and probate applications.
Since October, HMCTS have widened the online probate service. All legal professionals can now make applications for probate, intestacy, or a grant of representation.
During the trial stages, over 50 law firms used real life cases. The legal professionals and clients involved noticed significant time savings.
As more services become digitalised, the need for law firms to keep up with innovation increases. The sector has therefore seen a boom in technological solutions.
Advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Law firms are under increasing pressure to provide their services faster and for a lower cost. AI software systems which can read data in addition to processing information quickly and accurately, have the potential to reduce timescales, limit the time spent processing documentation, increase the time spent with clients and enable law firms to become a lot more competitive.
US machine-learning algorithms were pitted against 20 lawyers boasting decades of experience earlier this year. The trial focused on the impact of using machines to review errors in non-disclosure agreement contracts.
The law specialists comprising of associates, partners and in-house lawyers spent an average time of 92 minutes to complete the task. Their average success rate was a respectable 85%. The AI technology achieved 94% in just 26 seconds.
Using technology like this to process high-volume contracts with minimal risks will enable the legal specialist to spend more time on more complex legal issues or working with the client to better their experience.
The Portal Solution
Email technology no longer offers the efficiency and security a modern legal business needs to remain compliant. Almost all businesses have reported being targeted by phishing emails at least once in the past year. When a single breach could be reputationally damaging, the sector was clear that a solution was needed.
Secure portals are increasing in the sector providing law firms and their clients with heightened levels of security and efficiency.
Almost a quarter of SRA regulated firms admitted to using portal technology. The technology enables law firms to communicate effectively both internally, with relevant stakeholders and with their clients. Messages are not lost in a long email list and are logged creating a clear audit trail.
Third parties are also using this technology. Here at The Cashroom, our portal offering ensures law firms remain compliant through a secure platform restricted only to invited parties.
Our processes remain efficient because all communication is tracked and open to all relevant stakeholders. This provides complete transparency in the process. It also avoids duplicated documents and messages being sent just for the same process to be completed.
All correspondence using The Cashroom Portal is unique to the law firm. Each task also has an automated workflow, ensuring all processes are completed accurately and efficiently.
Tracking communication, especially when more than two people are working on a task, can become difficult. However, the portal system offers a clear and transparent audit trail which could save a law firm time and ensure regulatory compliance.
Whether using The Cashroom for SRA compliance tasks, Payroll, Accounts or VAT returns, the portal system offers the law firm round the clock access, enabling the firm to monitor progress and remain informed whilst protecting sensitive information from unscrupulous cyber criminals.
Want to have a chat about how we can use portal technology to help your firm?
If you are regulated within the English and Welsh markets, then please contact:
Alex Holt E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: 07817 420 466
If you are regulated by the Law Society of Scotland, please contact:
Gregor Angus E: email@example.com T: 07875 598 593