There are numerous notable trends which could potentially erode the traditional legal practice within the marketplace. We have compiled several predictions and observations gathered from a range of sources on technological changes in the Legal Profession.
- The Apple Watch
The Apple Watch will continue to gain in popularity as solicitors learn new and varied ways to integrate them into their practices. For instance, have you considered the ability to have your associate subtly send messages to your watch from counsel table while you’re examining a witness?
- Rise of Cloud Storage
Sentiment in the media has turned against Dropbox in recent months. However, I believe law firms and other small businesses will increasingly replace their aging, mobile-challenged file servers with Dropbox, Office 365, and Google Apps due to their edge in user experience and integrations.
- Two Contradictory Trends of the year
- Increasing availability and adoption of Cloud and Software as a Service (SaaS) solution e.g. Osprey
- Increased sensitivity to cyber-threats and data security.
Both trends are reaching threshold points in attention and activity, without a reasonable way for organisations to exploit cloud solutions while navigating risk. Don’t expect a resolution in 2016, with increased embedded security capabilities within solutions as well as continuing uncertainty and sporadic action and adoption among legal practices. With any luck, we’ll see meaningful steps towards an industry-wide cloud computing and data security standard as well.
- Computational Law
This is an automated tool for legal analysis which is commonly used by law firms, this branch of law will continue to grow exponentially. The drastic development of technology will enable lawyers to be focused on serving as advisors and ‘concierges’ to their clients. This will also allow them to be more efficient in delivering legal services.
- Law Firm as a Service (LFaaS) & ‘Information-as-a-legal-service’ model
2016/17 will be the time that Law Firm as a Service (LFaaS) becomes commonplace. Firms large and small will begin to deliver entire suites of automation and advisory tools built around specific legislation or for industry specific clients. They will sell unlimited access to these tools at flat subscription rates, or they will give them away to their largest clients as value-added services.
Marketing consultants predicts that a tipping point will be reached where the innovative legal practices will be joined by early adopters in pursuing the ‘information-as-a-legal-service’ model. Low-level work will be significantly more profitable if delivered as commoditised legal information to clients via online subscription based platforms.
This model allows legal practices to answer some of their clients’ questions for a fraction of the cost of using in-person services, while still remaining profitable. It also enables them to use analytics and visualisation tools to deliver new deeper legal analysis to their clients.
- Customised secure communication platforms
Businesses are using messaging apps for the purpose of internal communications as the encryption technology continues to improve. This ensures the information exchanged by all parties is more secure.
- 2016 year of cyber security catastrophe?
This could potentially be the year in which high-profile law firms could encounter a serious cyber-security catastrophe. This would expose many firms’ inadequate attempts to protect their clients’ information.
- Firm focused security
Security will remain as a key focus for the majority of firms. Cyber security threats will continue to grow in both force and origin, this could pose a real danger to law firms regardless of the size of the firm.
- Public data security breach
It is predicted at least one of the top 200 law firms will suffer a very large and very public data breach which compromises confidential client and employee information. As a result, the legal industry will be forced to take stock of its security, insurance and communications preparedness. Clients across the board will demand firms to demonstrate that they’re prepared for all types of cyber security breaches.
- Virtual law offices
The amount of solo and small legal firms keeping up virtual law workplaces will increase significantly. As the idea becomes progressively acknowledged and accepted, solicitors will embrace the virtual model in greater numbers because of its cost efficiency and adaptability.