Top Legal Tech Trends to Watch in 2019

Bas Roodbeen
5 April 2019
A few months ago, we published our eBook Law Firm Digitalisation in which we shared our thoughts on best practice for legal technology in modern law firms. In this post, we’ll detail what legal technologies have been trending since we published our ebook so you know what to look out for this year.

1. Increased Cyber Security

We’ve all heard about the Panama Papers – the 2015 cyber breach that resulted in financial documents for some of the world’s wealthiest individuals being made public. Mossack Fonseca, the law firm that was breached, closed its doors in 2018 as a direct result of the breach.

While not all cyber attacks on law firms are as dramatic as this, they are all costly for law firms. What’s more is that, according to the American Bar Association, 6 out of 10 small law firms don’t feel that they are adequately prepared for the risk of a cyber attack.

There’s no fool-proof method that eliminates cybersecurity risk altogether. A multifaceted approach that looks at it as a risk management problem, not an IT problem, is your best option. Your approach needs to contemplate technologies, people and processes.

In addition to a robust technological defence, you should ensure your staff are well-trained and that your business practices are safe. Your internal processes should be rigorous and should cover situations such as whether business emails can be checked on personal devices.

Law firms also need to be careful which vendors they trust with their legal material. Ensure that your partners adhere to strict data security practices and standards, such as ISO/IEC 27001:2013.

 2. Mobile Applications

There’s no doubt that the world is becoming increasingly mobile. Mobile technologies emerged quickly and not only enable but enhance the mobile experience of users. Mobile applications for law firms promote efficiency and should integrate seamlessly with other technologies.

If we look, for instance, at mobile applications for capturing time, we can expect to see benefits like increased client satisfaction, increased client engagement, and improved reporting. These applications allow lawyers to accurately capture and record time while they’re out of the office.

 

3. Virtual Law Firms

Virtual law firms are firms that have no physical office space. Lawyers and non-legal staff work remotely, using technology to facilitate the running of the firm. With benefits including lower monthly overheads, increased flexibility, improved collaboration with colleagues, and mobility, it’s little wonder that virtual law firms are on the rise.

Virtual lawyers are, nonetheless, required to come up with creative solutions for file management, cybersecurity, communications and client management, amongst other things. Firms that operate within four walls are becoming more mobile as well, as the need for lawyers to operate collaboratively and remotely increases.

The cloud-based technologies that make these changes possible are being developed and improved at a rate of knots. We’re sure that there will be many developments in this regard in 2019 and into the future.

4. Data Analytics

AI is now more capable than doctors of accurate early detection of schitzophrenia in patients. There’s so much information available that humans are not able to detect, but that machines can.

The data and metadata held by law firms and within the legal system is just waiting to be taken advantage of – the same way doctors are getting help with diagnoses.

One very valuable data stream available to law firms is their time sheets. Companies like Clocktimizer are using natural language processing to analyse and classify time card narratives into activities or tasks. This information can then be used to (i) support a firm’s pricing decisions; (ii) keep track of the projects they run; and (iii) to understand their clients better. As the benefits of data driven innovation become clear, we are likely to see more firms turning to solutions like Clocktimizer to increase profitability and improve matter management.

We expect that legal reliance on data analytics will continue to grow throughout 2019 and into the future.

As you can see, there’s plenty to be gained from adopting additonal legal technologies into your firm. Be it greater flexibility, increased client retention and satisfaction, or more efficient use of your time, technology can help. Get in touch with TIQ to find out more about what we can do for your legal practice.