Legal technology has made steady advances over the past 40+ years, and the firms that have adopted it have enjoyed measurable benefits with each new innovation. Those innovations have helped firms improve the way they work in many ways, from streamlining routine tasks on the business side of the practice to improving matter management and other processes on the client side.
Among the most important developments over the years, however, is the way technology has made it possible for firms to compete upwards and bid for business from clients that were previously thought to have been the exclusive province of the AmLaw 100. For perhaps the first time, AmLaw 100 firms are seeing a credible threat to the relationships with some of their most prominent clients from firms outside their ranks.
And, the non-AmLaw 100 firms that want to compete for larger clients’ business are not beating on an impenetrable ceiling. As the legal industry has continued to evolve, clients have become much savvier regarding the procurement of legal services. Corporate clients want the best result for the best rate, and they are not afraid to explore every available option to get it. They are increasingly unbundling large matters and giving the work to several firms. Firms that are well-prepared to take on this type of work have a chance to be considered for more meaningful work in the future.
So, what role does technology play in all of this?
In many instances, the difference between the capabilities of a firm in the AmLaw 100 and one that’s not is access to resources. It could be argued that any attorney that had the aptitude to earn his or her JD and pass the same state’s bar exam is on approximately equal footing. The difference, some might say, is the quality of the resources they have access to that makes the most difference in the quality of the work they produce.
AmLaw 100 firms typically have an army of research assistants, paralegals and support staff on every matter. These staffs provide everything an attorney might need at every stage of the case. In addition, each of them likely have access to the most up-to-date tools to complete their assigned tasks. While non-AmLaw 100 firms may not have the budget or physical space for a huge support staff, technology gives them access to the same quality of information.
What you have that big law firms don’t
Smaller organizations, in general, are known to work more nimbly than larger ones. And, law firms are no exception. Smaller firms typically work more closely as a team, have better collaboration and can more readily shift and formulate a new strategy when needed.
When it comes to implementing technology, this type of culture lends itself to faster adoption and a shorter learning curve. The possibility that a non-AmLaw 100 firm might be able to master the latest technology more quickly than a larger firm could have its own benefit. Not only does it position the non-AmLaw 100 firm as an innovator in the eyes of prospective clients, it could also give them a leg up when it comes to actually performing the work.
By investing in the right technology today, you can put your firm on a successful and profitable path for the future.
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