How law firms can utilise emerging technologies to cut costs?
The last decade has witnessed an exponential growth in technology, and change in the legal sector is being driven by both clients and competition from firms that have begun using technology to do routine work.
This technological advancement now requires strategic focus and top-level support, and has ultimately changed the way in which solicitors work, bringing with it specific technology designed to streamline efficiencies and cut costs across the legal sector.
An increasing trend within the legal profession is big data, providing firms with the ability to quickly determine whether or not it’s worth taking a case, and ultimately saving hours of research sifting through years’ worth of information and existing cases. For the junior staff who may be conducting this research over a period of months, it leaves them to be productive elsewhere.
It’s also a great method of obtaining visibility of a practice as a whole, and therefore the amount of revenue fee earners and cases are bringing in. By understanding staff productivity, it can enable firms to change operational methods to ensure they are maintaining the optimum level of efficiency.
Stemming from this notion, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is also becoming a significant focus for law firms, particularly over the next few years. By using AI to automate tasks traditionally undertaken by junior staff, such as research, it allows them to instead focus on complex and higher-value work.
An example is Linklaters’ Verifi program, which can sift through 14 UK and European regulatory registers to check client names for banks and process thousands of names overnight. A junior solicitor would take an average of 12 minutes to search each name.
For document management processes, online document delivery and acceptance tools are enabling firms to migrate towards paperless working, serving to reduce turnaround times and therefore costs. E-signatures eliminate expenditure on printing, paper, ink, postage and couriers, instead providing a quick, efficient and convenient solution aimed at saving considerably on operational costs.
And finally, remote working within the legal profession is becoming an increasingly popular method of reducing costs. It’s now making less commercial sense to maintain offices, and online client portals and case tracking systems mean solicitors can stay connected to their clients 24/7 from anywhere in the world, ultimately serving to offer excellent service at an affordable price, whilst streamlining staffing costs.