Legal services embrace technological shift

Recent research has indicated that patent filings for new legal services technology has seen a global growth of 484% over the past five years.

Conducted by Thomson Reuters, the findings have been interpreted to indicate the change in the delivery of legal services following the growth of technology, as well as the resulting impact on law firms.

One of the key factors that the research draws attention to is the implementation of technology within firms and the extent of this role. It is a given that some processes may be suited to automation, namely those simple yet important tasks which require a ‘tick-box’ approach. In delegating this kind of activity on to a computer, the burden is shifted from employees who are then able to spend their time on more valuable tasks.

As well as improving the practice and resource management within law firms, improvement of consumer experience has also been cited as a key reason for harnessing technology. As well as being recognised as an effective way of clarifying the legal process for consumers, digitisation has also been implemented to improve usability and connectivity between the provider and the consumer. Through the use of tools such as instant messaging and progress reports, consumers are able to access real-time feedback on their legal query, reducing the need for additional communication. In turn, this simplifies and streamlines the process, cutting both costs and time.

These factors have underpinned HM Land Registry’s digital overhaul, which has been a key player in the property sectors’ movement toward greater use of technology. With an aim to improve the user experience, their data-driven goal filters through every part of the organisation, with a focus on harnessing technology for the benefit of all involved in the property transaction. New services include consumer access to progress on their transaction as well as a push toward digital signatures. Rather than just theoretical improvements, the technological shift has been met with positive feedback from consumers. Of those that have tested their Application Enquiry service, for example, 82% stated that it was excellent, a proportion which the Registry is continually striving to increase.

Whilst legal services technology is bound to be a step in the right direction, that doesn’t mean it’s without its flaws. With the systems and processes moving online, the need to implement effective protection methods will only increase. Although saving client data in the ‘cloud’ will improve accessibility within a firm, it will also make it much easier for criminals to access large volumes of sensitive data remotely.

Whilst embracing technology within legal service delivery is key for firm development, it is also vital that firms acknowledge the associated risks and implement effective strategies on a firm-wide basis.

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