Main Challenges Facing Law Firms: Pressure to Innovate

Main Challenges Facing Law Firms: Pressure to Innovate

New technological advances bring both threats and opportunities to the legal sector. There is a constant pressure to innovate either internally or find the right solution externally. But what are the areas that would benefit more from innovation? According to the 2018 Aderant Business of Law and Legal Technology Survey, respondents indicated that the legal technology that has a high impact on their firm is:

  • document management (90%)
  • time and billing management (88%)
  • financial management or ERP (73%)
  • mobility and mobile apps (70%)
  • business intelligence (70%)

Resistance to change

Most lawyers recognise the need to innovate and digitally transform, however, the process of transformation is very slow in the legal sector. The 2018 Aderant Business of Law and Legal Technology Survey finds that only 30% of the legal professionals asked said that their firm has hired someone responsible for innovation. This mostly applies to large law firms since most mid-sized and small practices believe that they cannot afford the expense. The 2019 Law Firms in Transition Survey by Altman Weil reveals that 69% of respondents believe that “partners resist most change efforts”, while 59.8% of the surveyed answered that “most partners are unaware of what they might do differently”. To this point, it is clear that many senior partners are not convinced that innovation is fundamental for the future of their practice. However, legal innovation is happening and legal leaders should embrace it instead of fighting it, or they will risk to be left behind by their competitors and miss out on the benefits that can be achieved.

The traditional legal culture is very change-resistant.  Mark A. Cohen stresses in his Forbes article that “legal culture is changing—but not from within”. There are various disruptive technologies ready to enhance the way lawyers operate but some of them are not motivated enough to innovate. Maybe the resistance to change is inherent in the training of lawyers, where they learned to look back for answers, in the form of precedents, and not to the future. Lawyers need to embrace the new business environment.

Transforming Threats into Opportunities

Modernising the way lawyers think and work is not easy. However, they operate in an environment that is so competitive, especially now that the barriers to entry are weaker than they used to be, that digital transformation is the only way to survive. But what are the main steps to pursue innovation in your legal practice?

1. Set Goals
If your firm is ready to innovate and digitally transform, then you will need a detailed digital strategy that will include targets, objectives and deadlines.

2. Pursue the right ideas
There will be various ideas regarding new technologies and aspects that need to be innovated. But if you work on a budget you would be better off spending some time finding and evaluating the best ideas to invest in.

3. Perform a thorough analysis
Before starting a digital transformation programme, you should perform a thorough sector, customer, competitor and internal analysis that will help you assess which are the biggest problems that could be solved with innovative technology.

4. Develop
To outperform the new entrants in the sector, it is beneficial to develop new client-centric business models tailored to your clients’ needs. Show them that you care and you are ready to adjust to the new era.

5. Spreading the Innovation
When your innovation is tested and ready to be implemented, your firm should spread it across all your functions: offices, industries or countries.

6. Outsource
Of course, not all firms can support an R&D department. That is why outsourcing technology is a good solution. At Calls9 we’ve helped numerous large and small law firms to develop innovative technology that increases the firm’s profitability, brings more sales leads, enhances the client experience and assist lawyers with their information management.

7. Team Up!
Firm leaders should let their staff be creative and come up with ideas that would elevate their practice. Lawyers know where the everyday problems lie, or what clients demands are and they would be a great source of ideas.

The Solution: Consultancy and Technology

At Calls9 we see technology through a lawyer's eyes and we know how to help you gain a competitive advantage and future-proof your firm. But first, we help you see how your organisation can use digital to transform with our Digital Transformation Audit.

Take our Digital Transformation Audit to understand:

  • How your business is perceived by your customers and employees to identify areas of improvement
  • What the competitive landscape looks like and changes in your sector that could affect your business
  • How digital can enable new business models, better ways of working and improved customer experiences
  • At the end of the process, you will have a clear digital transformation strategy built around your specific needs and designed to help you improve your business, disrupt your market or enter a new one.

At the end of the process, you will have a clear digital transformation strategy built around your specific needs and designed to help you improve your business, disrupt your market or enter a new one.

We then use this strategy to kick-start a programme of digital transformation.