6 ways leading law firms stay competitive

In the legal industry, competition and client expectations rise together in a steady cycle of inflation. Clients expect more for less and have an increasing number of options for where to take their business. The stark truth is that not all law firms are able to thrive, or even survive, in this environment. To stay on top, leading law firms are looking toward new solutions, including advanced technologies that research, review, communicate and think at near-instant speeds.

Some of the top ways leading law firms are gaining and maintaining an edge on the competition include:

1) Efficiency

Clients understand that quality legal services cost money, but more and more are scrutinizing and calling into question billable hours. An advanced legal research tool such as Thomson Reuters Westlaw Edge™ spurs efficiency, improving the quality of billed hours. Clients have notions, informed or not, about how much time certain legal tasks should take. Powered by artificial intelligence (AI), Westlaw Edge quickly performs tasks that have traditionally bogged down law firm resources, leaving clients pleasantly surprised at just how far their legal fees are stretching.

2) Responsiveness

A common complaint among legal consumers is that attorneys simply take too long to get back to them. A client who waits more than 24 hours for a response may grow dissatisfied. While client communication requires human impetus, technology can appreciably reduce the time it takes to respond to inquiries. Westlaw Edge’s features include intuitive predictive searches that help users weed out thousands of false leads and get to the relevant materials quickly. The advanced AI communicates like you do, answering questions in clear, declarative sentences, sparing attorneys, paralegals and other professionals the time sink of weeding through a lengthy results list. The quicker you find answers to your questions, the faster you can get back to your clients.

3) Stability

Legal consumers do not enjoy searching for a new law firm every time a new need arises. They want a trusted and reliable source of representation. They want a firm they can return to and send their friends, family and business contacts to with confidence. In seeking a trusted partner for a business relationship that may last decades, a client wants to make sure a law firm is not only capable of solving present matters, but also prepared to address issues that may arise in the future. When a law firm embraces state-of-the-art technology, it sends the clear message that they are dedicated to handling today’s—and tomorrow’s—legal needs.

4) Talent

A wellspring of fresh talent is a key element to continued success in the legal industry. How do law firms attract top attorneys, paralegals, librarians and other legal professionals? Reputation is key. Your firm’s past successes, word of mouth in the industry, and the way you treat your employees all influence your ability to draw top talent. A willingness to invest in cutting edge resources is also a drawing card. New players coming up in today’s legal world know they need skill, knowledge and intuition, but they also understand the role technology plays in focusing and enhancing those attributes. When skilled professionals bolster their abilities with advanced technology, the results are dramatic. When a law firm invests in such technologies, talented legal professionals take note.

5) Results

In the end, clients need to have a problem solved, and will base their opinion of your firm—and their likelihood of returning—on the results they receive. Top law firms are harnessing the power of advanced litigation tools to achieve successful results. Thomson Reuters Westlaw® Litigation Analytics provides valuable insights that help attorneys build winning cases. Among its many features, Litigation Analytics helps users understand judges—how they tend to rule, their approach to expert witnesses and other factors. Of course, technology is only as good as the people who create and maintain it. The AI powering Litigation Analytics on Westlaw Edge is trained by hundreds of leading attorney editors and built upon a foundation of more than 140 years of editorial expertise.

6) The human touch

Technology will never supplant the role of an attorney as a trusted counselor and advocate. AI will never take the place of the real thing. What these tools can do is free your people from wasting time, allowing them to focus their skill and intuition where it is needed the most—serving your clients. Clients want results, but they also want to feel valued and respected. Only people can do that, and they can do it better when they have more time to counsel, listen and serve.

Law firms succeed when timeless assets — good lawyers, talented staff, and attentive client service — are bolstered by advanced technologies. The legal landscape is constantly changing, and in order to stay competitive, law firms need to embrace new technologies. By investing in cutting-edge resources, law firms send a clear message that they are committed to meeting the needs of their clients — today and tomorrow.

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