Last year’s events have revealed just how important urgency is. The pandemic has kicked off a frantic arms race in the adoption of digital technologies and by the looks of things, it’s far from over.
Even though the COVID-19 crisis has slowed down, it still holds true that keeping up with the trends isn’t a choice but a necessity.
So, what are the most important trends you should look out for to set yourself up for success? Which technologies will help your law firm survive, and even drive your law firm’s future growth in 2021? Resume reading this article to find out.
1. Continued adoption and advancement of digital technologies
Even in the upcoming post-pandemic era, adoption and advancements in legal technology will maintain an upward trajectory.
As a trend within a larger trend, the impact of technology on improving the workflow in the legal profession can’t be understated. For starters, it ensured the survival of many law firms by enabling remote work and helping them stay relevant in the digital age. With legal technology becoming more advanced, there is a strong indication that the use of new technologies will be even more common in 2021.
The pandemic-induced tech also made a positive impact on the entire legal field by giving everyone easy access to remote hearings, mediations, and depositions. Technology will probably continue to be a part of court procedures and other legal events, even after the pandemic is over.
As incentives go, this provides a big one to keep track of the latest technological developments and see if or in which direction the tide will swing in this and coming years.
You know – stay ahead of the curve.
2. Companies embrace more workflow automation
Modern legal professionals were always aware of the potential that lies in the automation of administrative tasks. Even before the pesky virus, many of the time-consuming tasks were automated. When the shift towards remote work happened in 2020, automation became a crucial part of an effective work environment.
It’s expected for the trend to become even more prevalent in 2021.
A good example of automation in the legal field is easy to see in the way document review and creation are now being approached by using legal document software. Solutions like Loio offer a simple way to streamline document review. It takes advantage of AI and several machine learning techniques to scan through the document and automatically pick out multiple categories of key information, allowing for a faster and smarter work.
On the other hand, automated document creation solutions can be found integrated into certain legal practice management software systems, such as Smokeball. This software will drastically cut down on time and resources while drafting documents.
Automation is one of the best ways to improve profitability and efficiency in a law firm.
Being aware of the developments that transform the way soul-crushing tasks are being completed is the first step toward a business attuned to the current needs and expectations.
3. The growing use of AI and machine learning techniques
AI is at the heart of the biggest innovations in multiple industries, and legal technology is no exception. While the road towards the implementation of AI has been very slow, the legal profession is undoubtedly catching up.
In 2021, AI will become even more prevalent. It’s going to continue to complement the workflow of many law professionals, while also playing an integral role in bringing advanced new technologies.
AI-powered technology only provides you with tools to streamline recurring tasks giving you more time to focus on more important things. Such is the case with reinventing the way professionals do legal research.
Thanks to access to massive amounts of litigation data, legal research platforms have made it possible to search through piles of information and help craft quicker and more relevant legal work such as briefs, case strategies, and motions. AI-driven predictive capabilities offer predictive analysis that can help companies foresee, manage, and win cases.
All of this is slowly but surely making traditional legal research obsolete.
4. Enhancing remote and virtual work conditions
When things finally go back to the old normal, there will be a more strategic approach to the way we approach work.
Law firms will have the opportunity to reconsider the way they implemented tools such as cloud-based law practice management software. By analyzing their workflow and their capabilities, they will be able to improve on how they handled the switch to remote work.
If we aren’t under pressure to make things work purely out of self-perseverance, we can leverage new cloud-based solutions or the ones we already have to their full potential.
There is still room for improvement.
Since productivity and profitability are the focus of the legal profession, improving virtual work effectiveness and remote work productivity will provide a greater return on investment. Improving the way firms handle remote work will make them prepared for any shift in trends that might occur when the pandemic is over.
5. A bigger focus on cybersecurity
The switch towards remote work has opened up a can of worms, bringing in many new online risks and vulnerabilities. In the legal profession, it’s even more important to mitigate these dangers due to the sensitive nature of the data worked with.
Raising awareness about the security risks that can happen and the measures available to eliminate them will become a bigger priority in 2021. It has never been a better time to switch to secure cloud-based services than now. Cloud-based solutions not only improve remote working capabilities but also protect vital data from security breaches.
With more clients performing security audits on law firms out of concern for the safety and privacy of their data, cyber threats will have to be taken more seriously than ever before.
Improving on what is already there
Now that the recovery phase of the pandemic is here, it’s never been more important to have an understanding of the ever-shifting tides in the trends of the legal profession.
Judging by the current developments, it seems the industry is following the path carved out during the pandemic, but with more attention added to perfecting and streamlining the workflow.
This doesn’t mean law firms shouldn’t strive for perfection and fall back on the way they did things at the beginning of the pandemic. Rather, they should pay close attention to current developments in legal tech, and try to anticipate how to do better when faced with the new, post-pandemic “normal”.