LawTech: should it be on your firm’s agenda?

05 Dec 2019

As technology evolves and becomes further ingrained in our daily behaviour, it’s predicted that the growth of LawTech will gather considerable pace across the UK in 2020. Indeed, London is now ranked amongst the world’s top 10 LawTech scenes, emerging as a leading global hub for innovation in this field. With increased awareness and a preference amongst younger lawyers discovering LawTech in their professional development, it’s becoming a key consideration for firms who want to future-proof operations. From online professional development to AI litigation and smart contracts, LawTech covers a range of time and money saving applications, so even for the most sceptical, it is worth considering – and in the blog this week we’ll be discussing how digitising operations could help to benefit you and your firm.


Key drivers for sector growth
Valued at $15.9 billion globally, the LawTech sector is aimed at supporting, supplementing and replacing traditional methods of delivering professional legal services. As more firms inevitably embrace technology to improve their productivity and profitability, this valuation figure is likely to skyrocket. According to the Law Society Gazette, in the UK alone, there are 269 private companies in the legal industry backed by £430m in capital investment, with the most established LawTech products seen in the fields of eDiscovery and legal research. This is set to grow further, with Tech Nation recently receiving £2 million of UK government funding to help support the digital transformation of the legal sector over the next three years.  


Speeding up efficiencies
For example, Keoghs Solicitors recently developed AI technology that enables Road Traffic Accident (RTA) personal injury cases to either be litigated electronically, or identify the need for barrister involvement – all without human intervention. With proven results and room for further developments, this technology is set to free up time for the more complex tasks, adding additional value to clients and the firm. Examples like this are why the legal tech industry has grown a staggering 713% according to Forbes, reaching an investment high in 2018.


Switching up development
Technology also presents the opportunity to continue professional development remotely, reducing time spent away from desks. As professionals ascend the career ladder and time becomes sparser, it’s critical that they look to enhance their skills for continuous improvement. Our virtual classroom Live Online has proven particularly crucial for those who cannot afford to be out of the office for long periods of time. We also predict that as LawTech evolves, more training programmes will be developed around this very topic to help firms make the most of advances in technology.


Cyber security and fraud considerations
With increased technological developments comes the counter-risk of cybersecurity threats, making organisations cautious of cloud-based and/or automated operations, as well as the ethical issues that the use of technology can raise. As a result, we’re seeing some resistance to change, with the perception that digital processes are less safe than traditional alternatives - especially as the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) highlighted that £11 million was lost to cybercrime in 2018. However, we predict that the growth of LawTech will bring refreshed regulations, particularly where money or data is involved, to mitigate the potential risks for both the firm and the clients they work to protect.


Despite its growth, we’re seeing a divide in attitudes to LawTech. Young lawyers are learning about the opportunities during their training but are unsure of how to implement new ways of working; whilst more established legal professionals are grappling with how to train up their teams and embed technology into their practices in a way that will be effective and efficient for all. However, one thing is certain. The industry is changing, but it’s critical to note that this trend isn’t going away, which is why LawTech needs to be on everyone’s agenda. So, if you’d like to speak to our team about taking your learning through a digital platform, contact us on 02920 451 000.