According to the Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute and Peer Monitor 2019 Report on the State of the Legal Market: A View from the Midsize Firms, 43 percent of legal departments are increasing the number of outside counsel firms on their rosters. For perhaps the first time, firms outside of the Biglaw segment have an opportunity to bid on—and have a real shot at winning—business that might have been considered beyond their reach previously.
But where should firms invest to become competitive?
Investing in legal technology
Midsize firms are recognized as being more aggressive adopters of technology compared to their Biglaw counterparts. Midsize firms’ quick and seamless implementation of cutting-edge technologies allows them to work more efficiently, provide more accurate answers, and generally accomplish more in less time. This innovative spirit makes them much more appealing business partners to corporate clients that appreciate working with providers who share their business goals and visions.
Some of the key elements firms should consider in their search for legal tech solutions include:
- Know-how solutions that allow them to accept and quickly get up to speed on matters outside of the firm’s primary practice areas
- AI-powered research solutions that give them faster access to the right answers and instill confidence that their research is complete
- Solutions that allow them to develop the most informed case strategy based on the court, judge and opposing counsel involved
- Solutions that enable them to better manage client expectations around cost, timing and other vital aspects of a matter
By taking a proactive approach to analyzing the clients they want to work with and the types of matters they wish to compete for, firms can more easily identify their technology needs and begin to build a tech stack that best positions them for short-term success and steady long-term growth.
Embracing legal technology
The debate over legal technology and firms’ need for it has been going on for decades. Some firms embrace it and thrive in ways that would not have been possible without it. Others have chosen to ignore technology and forge ahead with the methods that have served them since their inception.
No matter which side of the conversation you support, the industry and many of its governing professional organizations have solidly taken a stand in favor of implementing legal tech. Some, including the ABA and 36 state Bar Associations, have even implemented rules requiring lawyers to have a minimum level of competency with legal technology.
There are legal tech solutions to address nearly any issue your firm may be facing. From streamlining routine tasks and developing trial strategy to competing for new business and growing your practice, technology exists to help firms achieve nearly any goal. So, whether you are in favor of legal technology or not, you should at least become familiar with what’s out there.
Who knows? You might even find that the early adopters are onto something.