In Thomson Reuter’s annual report on Australias state of the legal market, a surprising revelation was made: It is estimated that fifty percent of Australia’s law firms are still reluctant to embrace technology. The report paints a picture that is far removed from what most experts say: that in a few years to come, the traditional law firm will become obsolete.
On the one hand it could be argued (and has been) that the state of things should not be construed as reluctance or hesitance, but instead that the underlying reason for the statistic above is constraints in funds.
However even that being the case, the clients voice is clear. The report notes that the power imbalance between the lawyer and the client is shifting fast. Where in the past impregnable tradition put the lawyer in an almost unquestionable position, today, clients have the tools (technology) to know and demand value for their money. The report captures this with another statistic that shows that while growth is being seen in the legal market, it is quite dispropotional, favoring the big firms that have leveraged on technology.
” Clients now have the tools to know and demand value for their money”
The small to midsize law firm is then placed in a precarious position. On the one hand, they can’t invest in what they can’t afford, and on the other, they will continue losing revenue fast, by not doing so. They are caught in between the proverbial rock and hard place. Evenso, a third option is still available- innovation.
“re-allignment of priorities is the third option for firms with no funds to splurge on legal tech”
Innovation here means re-imagining, and restructuring one’s firm, in such a way that it is more poised for the disruption at hand. In this case, it entails re-ordering of priorities. If technology is at the heart of the law firm of the future, then it behoves law firms to (as an example) prioritize spending on expertise in legal technology.