Adapting to the New Legal Landscape

According to the 2015 ALPMA/LexisNexis report “Preparing Australasian Law Firms for a Digital, Divergent, Differentiated Future,” aside from winning new business, the top challenges law firms are facing are improving operational efficiency and keeping ahead of technology changes.

These challenges are obviously interrelated – updating technology improves operational efficiency which helps firms provide better service. And service has become king in the legal industry. Today’s clients are cost-conscious, do their research, shop around, and are looking for value for money. Clients are increasingly demanding more transparency, and the pressure is on for firms to do more with less.

The constant buzz about the changing legal landscape and the digitalization of the Australian market can make the future seem daunting, but there are many simple things you can do to start moving your firm forward.

Top Tips for Improving Efficiency and Keeping up with Technology

  • Move Processes Online
    There is no denying that the legal industry is moving online, and the pace of this transition is only increasing as the digital revolution continues. Yes, there are many firms who still don’t have Web sites, but on the other end of the spectrum are those that have entire digital strategies in place and are spearheading a completely new way of attracting business and practicing law. Conveyancing, filing, and contracts have already begun going digital, and it’s only a matter of time before other processes follow suit. The sooner you start the transition, the further ahead your firm will be.
  • Use Integrated Systems
    Are your practice management, document management, and searching systems integrated? If not, you’re likely wasting a lot of time duplicating information across various platforms. Integration technology can save you significant amounts of time by allowing you to do all of your work, searching, and document management within one system. It can also pre-populate data, which not only eliminates the need to re-key but also helps avoid human error and reduces lost disbursements.
  • Be an Early Adopter
    The legal industry is a notoriously late adopter. But times are changing and playing it safe won’t get you far. Don’t be scared to try new technology early on, it can help you differentiate your firm in an increasingly competitive market. We’re just beginning to see the digitization of the legal industry, and that means there is a lot of opportunity for innovative and leading edge technology. Keep an eye on the market and be aware of emerging technologies to stay ahead of the game. The more you test out, the better idea you’ll have of what works for your firm and what provides the most value to your clients.
  • Incorporate Technology into Your Workflow
    The best way to stay ahead of the technological curve is to incorporate technology into your workflow as much as possible. Don’t view it as an add-on but as an essential part of your process. The right technology should fit seamlessly into your workflow and become second nature. Not only will this increase efficiency, but it will help to standardize processes across your firm.
  • Keep the Focus on Your Clients
    Keep your clients at the heart of every business decision you make. How can you improve their experience? Which technologies can you invest in that would provide value to them? Obviously the more you streamline your processes and the more efficient you become, the better service you can provide. But don’t lose sight of the end goal. Always know what your clients are looking for and figure out the best way to provide it to them.

The legal industry is changing at a faster pace than ever, and it’s necessary to adapt or risk being left behind. Don’t view these developments as a threat, but as an opportunity. Don’t shy away from change, embrace it and work toward more efficient and effective processes.


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