The ongoing development of legal technology is changing many things in the legal profession and the need to understand what is happening has become more important than ever for the profession.
But law firms can innovate without having to spend a great deal too, as was recently demonstrated by legal entrepreneur Tamina Cunningham-Adam, one of the founders of Evolution Lawyers.
“In some ways, the legal profession has been slow to adopt many of the technological developments embraced by other industries much earlier,” she told Andrew King in a LawTalk interview.
The increasing need for regulatory compliance is a key driver towards making firms more technologically innovative.
For instance the cost of work within the AML/CFT environment is significant with a huge time-resource as much as anything else being required of firms. Technology can assist in that regard.
Similarly there are changes in property tax, overseas investment rules and other matters that increase the documents required for property transactions.
How Legal Services Will Be Delivered
Although ‘bots’ are increasingly used to ‘speak’ with clients, she does not see that development seriously affecting legal practice to any great extent.
” In my experience, clients still want to speak with a real person, especially if they consider their issue to be stressful or significant. For example, in dispute resolution many clients simply want to know that we have got their back or that someone is in their corner. They are looking for empathy, assurance, confidence, and other things best provided by human beings.
Tips to start innovating or developing an innovative mindset?
“Keep it simple – identify a problem and find a solution. We do not need to be tech-experts to do this in practice. Indeed, this is what lawyers do on a daily basis. Many of Evolution Lawyers’ innovations have come from having to deal with something unsatisfactory in existing, normal practice. Rather than tolerating the issue, we find a way to fix it – immediately, if possible.
“There are many excellent, cost-effective steps that firms could take right now. For example, two-step authentication, digital signing, legal working day calculators, and more. Some of those benefits are free. One just has to investigate and try them.
“Work with professional developers. As lawyers, we see the consequences of the bush lawyer or the legal dabbler trying to do their own legal work. We engage a competent professional to build our software, so that it can be maintained by any professional in the future. For us, we see it as a risk to build sustainable software ourselves, and a heavy time commitment to learn to code. So, we leave that job to the experts.”