In association with Legl: Three key takeaways identified from more than 150 client law firms

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Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, firms have witnessed unique changes to their operating practices. Contributing factors on a macro level include the adjustment to remote work, a sharp uptick in client demand for online legal services, and new compliance regulations that have cropped up in response to this shift to digital operations.

The uncertain pandemic landscape has permanently shifted the way that law firms do business. The phrase “new normal” has been bandied about for months. But there seems to be little consensus on what that means, or on what makes one firm thrive in the current climate while another fails. Law firms seeking to remain competitive are taking the disruption of the pandemic as an opportunity to re-evaluate their priorities.

UK law firms are starting to think critically about where technology can be deployed to unlock more billable hours, to automate back-office functions, to improve the quality of the legal services delivered, and to bring a modern client experience.

At Legl, we have discussions with law firms every day around their use of the software tools implemented to enhance or automate their business processes. We have identified three key takeaways from the more than 150 law firms with whom we work on a daily basis:

Cloud-based tech is no longer an outlier. According to the SRA, “over a third of businesses and almost half of people who use legal services say that they want online legal services. Nearly a third of all legal services are now online or by email, at least in part. In conveyancing services, this increases to over half”. At Legl we particularly see that the case and practice management systems that we integrate with are still on premise, but all are moving or have some ambition to move to the cloud over the next few years.

Law firms are seeing improved ROI with increased digital adoption. A Thomson Reuters report noted that 74% of senior partners at UK law firms state that their firms “should be investing more in technology”. Jennifer Swallow, Director of LawTech UK, highlighted earlier this year that law firms can expect £2-£5 ROI for every £1 invested in legal tech. Leveraging cloud-based legal tech frees up billable hours to use for client demands and for business development. This technology automates many processes that were previously manual, with lost time and a higher rate of mistakes when doing data entry.

Regulatory bodies are encouraging digital solutions – from e-signature and document witnessing, to digital identity verification. From the Land Registry to DCMS, to the legal regulators from LSAG to the SRA, guidance continues to come out that encourages firms to use technology as a basis for making their risk-based decisions (CDD) and for doing business. For example, HM Land Registry’s new Safe Harbour Standards explicitly support digital ID verification and set out guidelines for conveyancers to ensure firms will not be deemed negligent in their CDD efforts.

While there remains little consensus about the long-term effects of the pandemic, here at Legl we’ve seen that some of these foundational shifts have created a knock-on effect for much faster SaaS technology adoption. With our cloud-based platform we have helped law firms to digitise their client lifecycle management initiatives to improve efficiency and to create more compliant operations.

You can find out more about Legl’s digital CDD, onboarding and payment workflow solutions at www.legl.com

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