Legal Technology in 2019

Chess not Checkers

James Phipps

      In 2019 law firms should separate marketing hype from real world technology needs.  Technology is a waste of time, money and talent if it does not provide a healthy ROI "Return on Investment".  Disruptive technologies like blockchain and IOT don't currently provide enough advantages to law firms from what we have seen on the market today but stay tuned.  I think in the coming years blockchain technology could revolutionize contracts and other aspects of law.

    There are many opportunities available in legal technology today that can make a big difference in your firm's ability to compete in the current "buyers' market for legal services".  Practice management applications, e-billing solutions, data analytics, cloud computing, document management, collaboration platforms and workflow automation are just a few opportunities that should be looked at in 2019.  If you don't have those technologies implemented in your firm yet,  research adding them in 2019 as part of a comprehensive solution.  Of course, BeCloud has experience with many of the best applications and we can help you with integration.  

     The cloud is here to stay.  There seems to be some consolidation in the cloud space but the big three AWS, Microsoft and Google seem to be safe bets. In 2019, law firms will continue to move workloads to the clouds and/or operate hybrid environments.  Even legacy applications can sometimes be moved to the cloud to increase user accessibility and gain cloud efficiencies.  Practice management applications running in the cloud and utilized throughout the firm no matter what kind of device i.e.  phone, tablet or computer can help firms be more agile, attract young talent and increase attorney efficiency.

     Law firm clients are looking for firms that can decrease legal fees while also increasing collaboration and customer satisfaction.  Without well implemented technology, it will be harder for firms to compete and survive under current client demands and market pressure.  Workflow automation and AI "Artificial Intelligence" can go a long way towards decreasing labor cost while also increasing client satisfaction.  Document Management will continue to be important in 2019 due to regulation, security concerns and data mining.  Outlook was never very good for document management and email is not robust enough to meet current customer collaboration requirements.  The current trends for companies requiring outside counsel to share project, case and matter information will quickly overwhelm attorney inboxes.  Our research shows, a more robust solution like customer portals and/or extranets combined with video conferencing will be required by more legal customers in 2019.

     In conclusion, legal technology is a chess match not checkers.  You want to build sustainable strategies for enabling customer collaboration, reduce dual entry requirements into desperate systems by improving integration, automate workflows, and capitalize on technology spend by improving user access, up times and security enablement.