Does law in the digital age need an overhaul? Both the legal profession and legislature are currently receiving a barrage of criticism. The former for its unwillingness to adopt digital transformation, and the latter for not being prepared to deal with the changes technology has brought.
Legislation in the digital age
Legislation across all industries and sectors needs an overhaul to reflect widespread digitisation.
Take gambling legislation, for example. The Gambling Act was passed in 2005 before online gambling and smartphone betting were popular. As a result, these forms of betting are not as heavily regulated as offline gambling.
Planning legislation faces similar issues. Legislation written in the 1990s and 2000s no longer provides an adequate regulatory framework for today’s planning sector.
The legal profession’s approach to technology
Legal firms have been slow to move with the times and invest in legal technology. Having worked in the same way for many years, the challenge to their business models posed by technology has been unsettling.
If law firms are to survive in a digitally-driven world, they need to change their collective mindset and embrace the benefits tech can bring.
Breaking down the barriers to embrace technology
There is no holding back technology. Law firms that continue to try to do business without it will lose competitive advantage by not keeping up with their clients’ digital expectations. Law in the digital age should be customer-centric, transparent and provide value for money. Technology can deliver all these benefits and more.
The cost of change
The cost of digital transformation is a barrier for many law firms. However, a focus on securing income rather than investing in assets that will be of strategic value in the future is a blinkered approach to take.
For instance, fears of substantial upfront costs are unfounded, as using cloud technology allows companies to outsource their IT infrastructure; this reduces rather than increases costs. Lawyers can also save on ongoings, as the cloud operates on a pay-as-you-go basis. Other advantages of cloud-based IT include faster service delivery and increased flexibility.
Roll out issues
Humans are, by nature, resistant to change. The thought of convincing a whole law firm to buy into new working methods is off-putting enough. Throw in the time it will take to train them in new processes and systems, and resistance rises.
An effective change management programme can help overcome these hurdles. With the right leader and an emphasis on high-quality communication, lawyers can successfully introduce technology into their firms.
The press is full of stories about security breaches and digital threats to businesses. While these reports may deter law firms from adopting digital practices, clients expect firms to provide the digital services offered in other sectors such as retail or insurance.
If a law firm doesn’t have the resources or skills to keep up-to-date with security measures, they can use a specialist external provider to deal with their IT security.
The future of law in the digital age
Both the government and legal professionals must take action if law in the digital age is going to deliver adequate protection for UK citizens. CBSIT provides several services that can help you secure your future and progress with digital transformation.
From cloud management services to management and security, our experts in legal IT will make sure your systems are efficient and secure. If you’d like to find out more, we’d be happy to talk you through your options.