// Law firms must adapt to technological change to stay up to date
The law industry might sometimes be criticized as being resistant to change. Though, a survey held in 2018 by the Law Society showed that 88% of decision-making respondents believe technology improves the delivery of legal services. So, how come that with the will to adapt, not much innovation has happened?
There is a shift going on in law firms, they believe technology offers opportunities and advantages, so says the Law Society’s CEO Delphine Loo Tan. The Business Times states that 82% of respondents of the Law Society’s survey, saw technology adoption as crucial for their firm to stay competitive. 42% of respondents said they will invest more in legal tech in 2019-20. These outcomes are driven by the increase in productivity, time-saving, reductions seen in administrative workload – ultimately translating into better service and faster turnaround for clients.
“Solutions could perform as much as 30% – 50% of the tasks carried out”
New income streams through technology
Besides, technology helps open up non-traditional income streams. Rajah & Tann Asia, a Singapore law firm, established an independent subsidiary last year which attained a legal tech start-up to maximize its offerings. They now offer legal tech solutions like; cybersecurity, in-house counsel and data breach readiness and response. Boston Consulting Group even goes as far as predicting that legal tech solutions could eventually perform as much as 30% – 50% of the tasks carried out by junior lawyers today.
Issues with adapting to technology
So, you might wonder, with this positive outlook on technology for innovating the law industry, what is holding back most law companies? Indranee Rajah, the Senior Minister of State for Law, believes that lawyers are not anti-tech. She says lawyers are just too busy with their everyday tasks. She says; “lawyers are so busy in practice that they don’t have time to think about their practice…”. In addition, cost is an issue as well. The Law Society survey in 2018 found that 66% of the respondents cited that a limited budget is a big challenge for technology adoption.
“lawyers are not anti-tech”
Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, a big advocate of lawyers embracing technology, noted in one of his speeches that technology may not be cheap, but is necessary. He said: “While investment may be expensive… it will be integral to future-proofing our profession…” (Business Times, 2019).