Technology has made a considerable impact on the legal sector in the last few years, and its influence will continue to grow during 2020. As we enter a new decade, those within the industry who fully embrace digital transformation will see their businesses flourish.
Legal industry trends in 2020
Technology has the potential to change the face of the legal profession. Remote working opportunities, expansion into global markets and the use of social media for marketing or evidence gathering are just a few of the opportunities technology offers.
So what are the trends we’ll see going into 2020?
The globalisation of legal markets
Technology has made the world a smaller place. UK law firms have already established themselves in Western markets, such as the US and Europe. 2020 is likely to see law firms looking to expand into other markets with economic growth potential such as India, South Africa and China.
Following Brexit, entry into these countries will become more important for firms looking to maintain their competitive edge globally.
In 2020, law firms looking to cut costs and improve productivity can outsource some of their processes. They will then be able to focus instead on core legal functions and providing a customer-centric service. Research, document reviews and transcription work are some of the tasks that can be outsourced, either entirely or on an ad hoc basis during busy periods.
At the end of 2019, the Solicitors Regulation Authority introduced new regulations allowing solicitors to work as freelancers. It means solicitors no longer have to register as sole practitioners, work in a practice or as in-house counsel.
2020 will bring an industry trend of solicitors who wish to take advantage of more flexible working hours and less regulation moving to freelance roles. Freelancers will be able to set their own rates and are likely to keep them lower than traditional firms to give themselves a competitive edge. They will also be an attractive option for those who can’t afford or don’t want to pay high legal costs.
The rise of remote and flexible working
The fourth of our legal industry trends predictions is an increase in remote and flexible working opportunities across the UK.
The combination of mobile working devices and secure data storage of the cloud means lawyers can work flexible hours from any location. Particularly beneficial to working parents, remote and flexible working opens up a wider talent pool for firms which include it in their working practices. Firms who focus on work-life balance will also be able to recruit and retain top talent and improve their gender balance.
A focus on digital transformation
The most impactful of our five legal industry trends to look out for in 2020 is the continued focus on digital transformation. Law firms are looking to legal tech to boost customer satisfaction, improve productivity and reduce costs. AI and machine learning will continue to play a significant part in helping firms hit their transformation objectives. Automation will enhance business processes across all areas, from compliance to research to documentation creation and review.
An emphasis on using data more effectively will mean legal businesses migrating to the cloud to take advantage of increased security and cheaper data storage. If you’re looking to migrate to the cloud, you must make sure you plan effectively. Give yourself enough time to carry out the process, or you may find yourself with more issues to solve.
The appetite for legal tech does, however, have a dark side, as jobs in the legal sector are predicted to fall by 4% over the next few years. Support jobs such as legal secretaries and admin roles are likely to be hardest hit as technology automates many of their tasks. The number of lawyers is predicted to rise.
CBSIT offer a range of services to assist you with the IT requirements for your law firm. You may be looking to take advantage of a secure cloud environment for data storage purposes, protect your chambers from cyberattacks or need IT support services. Whatever your legal IT needs, CBSIT can help. Contact us to speak to a member of our experienced team today.