Rudi Kesic is the CEO at Advantage Consulting . He is the ex-managing partner at Advantage Law group and widely regarded as one of the world’s top legal technology experts.
Why is it important for law firms to invest in virtual practice technology?
The future of the legal sector is digital. This has been made apparent by both the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Law Society of England and Wales in their long-term plans, which predicts that in 10 years’ time, the existing model of legal service provision will be markedly different and based on a ‘digital first’ approach. This approach will allow for virtual and more productive consultations with lawyers across the globe, on demand 24/7.
What is a Client Centred Virtual Law Practice?
In order to facilitate ‘virtual first’, the emphasis is on integration and interoperability across the legal system with the client at the heart of their legal matter and in charge of their own legal platform.
If traditional law firms want to ensure their place as part of this virtual legal world, then they need to start changing their manual processes and become more digitally enabled. Digital access to law is set to become the norm with over 75% of all 55-64 year-olds and 50% of over 65s now using the internet via a smartphone.
What will be the main lawtech developments in 2021?
The legal technology community have the opportunity and responsibility to restructure and reinvent legal services, to meet and exceed the evolving demands of business and society, in our digital world.
- The Cloud. We are already seeing the impact from early digital disruptors such as Actionstep  and Clio  cloud-based practice management technologies which have transformed the way law firms manage their files, store and manage documents, communicate with clients and manage practice finances.
- Mobile Apps. Recently, some of the more innovative law firms have started to invest in client communication mobile apps to help support their clients in being able to send and sign documents securely as well as book appointments and speak to the lawyers directly.
- Lawyers on Demand. Due to the pandemic, people are increasingly being encouraged to stay at home and manage their legal issues from the comfort of their home with virtual law apps such as Lawyer 365  allowing almost instant free consultations by video with qualified solicitors, as well as AI-assisted legal chats, or booking appointments 7 days ahead.
- Digital ID Verifications. Most law firms are now starting to use digital verification technology to verify their clients IDs through apps like Verify 365 . Not having this technology will start to become a disadvantage.
How can your law firm get involved and benefit from lawtech?
For small and medium-sized law firms to remain competitive and to be best positioned for the future digitalisation of the legal sector, investing in some of the emerging legal technologies such as “Lawyer 365 ” will be a prerequisite.
There are many other lawtech platforms and services available in the market and it has become apparent from feedback from Advantage Legal Network (ADNET) member law firms that they are unclear about what to invest in to remain competitive, attract more clients, as well as help drive efficiency and operational performance of their law firms.
Like I said earlier, platforms such as “Lawyer 365” smartphone app that allows small/medium law firms the ability to get new clients, manage initial enquiries and act as a “virtual legal hub” are a must. This particular app sets the foundation for a digitally enabled future by providing a platform for initial consultations with your clients and if combined and integrated with cloud case management systems such as Actionstep or Clio, you can manage your matters and business operations effectively with access to a scheduling calendar and the ability to notify your clients with their matter progress. However, better integration of these platforms, e.g. Clio or Actionstep with Lawyer 365 smartphone app going forward will be essential.
Advantage Consulting will be working closely with our lawtech partners to enable easier access to legal technology so that solicitors firms can make the best use of the latest lawtech available in the provision of legal services.