Technology for law firms and legal professionals is constantly growing and reached a $1bn investment record point in 2019. Business-technology-and-innovation wise, legal tech is following the most important trends worldwide, with Artificial Intelligence and automation in the spot-on. Start discovering which are the most important legal tech trends for 2020 and how are they changing our businesses.
AI continues to be one of the most important trends in legal tech. If in 2019 worldwide specialists have predicted an important growth in the development of the solutions using Artificial Intelligence, in 2020 this technology will continue to bring new tools and features to improve work. Even if for many business leaders, 2020 is the year of the “reality check,” when they lay the groundwork for a realistic AI-powered future, as PWC showed in its annual AI Predictions report, legal tech solutions providers will most surely adapt and adopt existing AI tools and transform them in tools to help legal businesses to grow. From AI-powered judges, AI robot lawyers, AI-powered features for contract, matter or team management tools, this trend will continue to find its use in day by day work and to challenge the legal industry with questions like “will robots take lawyers place/jobs?” or “is AI an affordable tool only for the big players?”.
This trend started almost two years ago in the USA, where Law Society Gazette was saying that “a virtual law firm is a legal practice that operates from the homes or satellite offices of its lawyers, usually delivering services to clients at a distance using technological means of communication. Virtual law firms are formed and regulated in the same way as traditional law firms, but their lawyers may be self-employed consultants rather than partners or employees”.
Since one of its characteristics is that the partners/team members are connected through computer and telecommunications technology such as project management software or a Virtual Law Office (VLO), the legal tech tools are indispensable resources for these legal businesses. Most of the legal practice specialists are considering virtual law practice a growing legal tech trend in 2020 also because the HR trends are showing that the younger generations are more into flexible working hours and want to be able to choose from where they can work.
This seems to be another keyword in 2020 and in the following years since the latest PWC and McKinsey studies are showing that almost 25% of lawyers’ time can be automated. From business process automation to document automation, this is one of the most important ways to improve the efficiency and profitability in every legal business. Legal tech solution providers are already “automation – oriented” and have created many solutions to help lawyers and law firms in their daily work: from matter management solutions, billing, and financial management solutions to contract automation solutions, there are solutions that already used all over the world. 2020 will bring a more business approach to automation tools and platforms to integrate different types of automation tools.
Document automation is one of the most easy to apply legal tech trend in 2020 – there are many document automation tools fit for any type of legal business. Some solutions are complex solutions, that include also document management and document assembly, some are offering straight forward approach, as anyone working with Microsoft Word can transform daily documents in templates, to easily use them when needed.
In 2019, Forbes was writing that “9 out of 10 Americans believe that the cost of legal services is extremely high. Most of them agree that alternatives to “traditional lawyers” are needed. This especially relates to a new generation of young entrepreneurs that are used to living in the “digital world” that has no borders and no longer ties one to a single country. Such entrepreneurs are not fascinated by lawyers in the suits working out of the fancy office. They need cost-effective legal solutions”. In the same article – “What Happens When Legal Tech Meets Blockchain”, they analyzed few of the platforms created all over the world using the blockchain technology, which plan to ”redefine the interface of legal services provision and become a humanity solution by gradually harmonizing legal services, lowering their costs and triggering more access to justice”. On the other hand, Jonathan Emmanuel, a partner in a British law firm was declaring for Law365.com that “organizations have begun to understand the specific benefits of particular blockchain platforms and the use cases they can be appropriately deployed towards. For businesses, the future of blockchain appears to be private or permission blockchain networks focusing on practical uses cases around better data transparency, exchange and identity management”.
2020 will most certainly bring interesting news in the legal tech versus blockchain subject and different tools and features using blockchain to help lawyers in their daily work.
Focus on client’s needs is a message which comes across the legal industry and business as well and has become a trend in the latest years. In 2020, each law firm and legal professional must have their own answers for questions like “how technology can help the relationship between me/my law firm and my clients?”, “How can I add value in this relationship with help of technology tools?” or “what tech tools I need to better resolve my client’s problems?” if they want to stay relevant for their clients, who are now very technology-oriented.
After getting their answers for these questions, law firms and individual lawyers can find and adopt products with features to answer these needs, technology tools to better help their clients and of course, their business. Because more efficient lawyers and better legal business processes can and will make a more profitable law firm.
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KeyVision is the work management platform legal teams use to run an efficient and profitable business