There is a enduring stereotype that legal professionals are sluggish to change and shackled to old ways of thinking.

We disagree.

To consider that the entire industry and profession fails to recognize the importance of technology as part of their day-to-day is an unfair assessment. As advocates of technology, we also understand change is difficult and must be a thoughtful process, especially for the legal profession—legal firms and corporate law departments alike and of all sizes.

The potential impact of not changing can and will be immense.

Will capital investment in technology increase?

Yes. And a resounding “yes!”

For any legal professional and IT department taking the necessary steps to adopt new technologies, the value to these “legal rebels” will create more value for their clients and their organization. Whether they’re just beginning to research the impact on their business or already making a full transition, these disruptors, in our opinion, are expected to make large investments over the coming months.

Newly inspired legal firms and corporate legal departments alike are advancing toward a competitive environment unlike anything they’ve seen before. And this is a space that’s being driven by client demands influenced primarily around their interactions with technology.

Adoption and investment is necessary. Consider these points:

  • Game-changing document management software.
  • Automation and analytic technologies.
  • The benefits of real-time, actionable data.
  • Adding value to client relationships.
  • Improving the client experience.
  • Establishing a new competitive edge.

We’ve got our ears to the ground and know that more clients than ever before are influencing change, which will require legal professionals and IT leaders to make sizeable investments in technology.

The legal playing field is clearly changing. Your investment in technology needs to keep pace.

How will smaller legal practices survive against bigger firms making considerable investments in technology?

Simply put, there is no better way to stay competitive than to invest in technology. Of course, the investment will not be as significant compared to larger, more capital-heavy firms. But with the right technology, smaller firms will find that more clients will be more willing to engage with them.

Your firm needs to be a part of the evolving, dizzying pace of change. You need to consider future-proofing your business. It’s not impossible, and you don’t have to feel like your firm is already behind.

With so many solutions and services available, the legal professional, regardless of the size of their legal firm or corporate legal department, can benefit from this technology surge. Determine which areas need immediate change and which can be part of a longer-term roadmap.

You either start adaption now or risk becoming obsolete.

Like any industry, legal practices and solo practitioners need to understand the risks of not investing in technology. It’s higher for smaller firms because the associated costs or the resistance to change delays the adoption of new technology. Smaller firms may also have low technology integration and lack the skills and leadership to increase it. But adoption is crucial.

Small firms with higher rates of technology adoption are more likely and better prepared to weather change like the COVID pandemic, gain easier access to skills and talent, experience new opportunities to improve productivity and experience smaller revenue and employment declines.

There are the struggles with the excessive costs of digitalizing your businesses, lack of employees with information technology skills and knowledge of how new technology would impact their business.

Like anything in business, there are barriers to navigating technology adoption and just as many benefits. But not all are making the most of these digital technologies. 

The reality? If a small firm doesn’t embrace change, they risk an opportunity to remain competitive, or even stay in business. You need some degree of digital maturity.

Legal professionals are embracing technology and moving away from archaic thinking.

The thought of using technology to more effectively collaborate and exchange information through the use of the cloud may seem jarring for most. Digitally intensive industries are reaping the benefits from higher digital maturity. Industries that have made technology a central part of their business model, are outpacing non-digitally intensive sectors.

Enterprises of all sizes experienced an increase in the number of employees working remotely in the early months of COVID pandemic. Remote work options involve internal digital technologies, such as video conferencing platforms or cloud storage, as well as customer-facing ones. And while small businesses may typically be lower-value targets for cybercrime compared to larger enterprises, there is potential for attacks that could be devastating.

As businesses adopt more digital technology, this increases the exposure to digital security incidents. As businesses digitize, investing in digital security as a preventative measure will be a critical lifesaver.

Digital technologies, from email newsletters to document management software, have become central components of how businesses operate, market themselves, and generate sales. Of course, when it comes to adoption there differnet types of ideologies:

  • Firms who will jump on new technology or changes in processes first.
  • Firms who take their time and test products before making a decision. 

The long-lived life of the legal profession through adoption of innovation and technology as things change has been a hallmark of a profession that has adapted and continues to thrive with a constant focus on client success.

Whether it’s a new product or moving to the cloud, legal professionals are eager to enhance their firms more efficient.  

Change has to come with a clear benefit, for your firm and your clients. It’s also worth noting that every firm is different and moves at their own pace, but that doesn’t mean they are sluggish to change. They’re merely thinking several steps ahead. Once they’ve established that, the proper shifts can be made, if the benefits outweigh the costs. 

Feeling pressure to change?

Risking your entire business on something new isn’t necessary. Explore new products and services you can adopt at your own pace. Don’t dive into the deep end and take the rights steps to get started. Be clear and specific on the benefit you aim to achieve. When ready, take the steps necessary to implement changes. Learning from other firms who have taken similar paths to change and get their advice—what they did, the challenges encountered, and best practices put in place for a smooth transition.  

Continue to be meticulous decision makers. Stay focused, adopt new solutions where needed, be comfortable experimenting, and learn your way to scaling your organization, but don’t fall prey to inaction.

Being methodical doesn’t mean slow. It means being strategic and scaling your organization and not falling prey to inaction.