“Law firms must use technology to innovate and transform to remain competitive”, that was the main message delivered to the audience at this year’s Advanced Legal  User Conference.
The event, held in Manchester during September brought together leading figures from the industry to discuss and share their thoughts on the future of the legal market and how technology is helping to shape it.
The day was opened by Fran Eccles-Beech, the chief executive of the Manchester Law Society, who highlighted the changing legal landscape and how law firms have to modernise in the face of growing competition and changing political-economic factors.
James Akrigg, head of technology for Microsoft, then took to the stage to explore the world of modern working and how our personal, consumer, expectations of technology are transferring to the workplace.
James said, “Technology is at a point of change, its impact now on customers and how law firms enable their own employees is critical, technology is no longer about “information technology” but is now being used to drive “innovation and transformation” in the legal market.”
He went on to say how IT should be used to manage risk rather than expose it and provided an insight into the new business capabilities coming to Microsoft products that will help firms become more productive, efficient and, importantly, secure.
James also highlighted the “mobility experience” as a key element in the user’s daily use of technology. “Users have to have a consistent experience whether they use desktop, laptop, tablet or phone – to maximise their productivity, but that brings its own challenges around security, especially with sensitive documents and data, and future technology must address this”.
Before proceeding to discuss how embedding security and data encryption within applications and documents themselves will be a key part of Microsoft’s product portfolio in the future.
James was followed on stage by industry colleagues from Plan B and mmadigital – both looking at how law firms can use technology to gain a competitive advantage.
Tim Dunger from Plan B discussed the right way for law firms to manage disaster recovery and implement a Business Continuity plan whilst Dez Derry from mmadigital revealed the tips, tricks and tactics that can help any law firm compete in the digital marketplace.
The afternoon gave delegates access to product specialists from across Advanced Legal’s portfolio who revealed latest enhancements to the firm’s software alongside workshops on topics as diverse as social media, IT infrastructure management and the Governments Digital by Default strategy.
This year we wanted to talk to our clients about the future of technology and how that can help them manage their firms differently, and we certainly achieved that.
The presenters at the conference all came from different angles but all ultimately addressed the same topic point, that technology really can help firms drive process and effect change in their business.
It was great to see so many clients at the event that represented the full spectrum of our product portfolio and we are already well underway to planning next year’s activities.