Scottish solicitors have a positive view of technology and its potential, despite concerns about cyber security, according to a report released today by the Law Society of Scotland.
Launching at its Technology and Cybercrime Conference in Glasgow today, the technology audit report follows research commissioned by the Society into solicitors' use of and attitudes towards IT.
The overwhelming majority (81%) had a very or fairly positive view of technology, with solicitors recognising the importance of using it to improve processes and increase efficiency. In addition, 78% agreed that technology is creating ideas for innovation and new business models for law firms and 73% said technology supports the way clients commission work. Around a third (34%) agreed that use of artificial intelligence systems was reducing costs within the sector.
However nearly half of respondents, at 42%, believed that maintaining cyber security was a challenge.
The survey, carried out by Ipsos Mori, showed that 92% of solicitors used the internet on a daily basis for business, with 59% also using their smartphones to access the internet for business purposes.
Around a third (32%) said that keeping up with developments could be difficult, and a similar number believed they would benefit from training in areas including data protection (35%) and cyber security (34%).
Helena Brown, partner and head of intellectual property, commercial and data at HBJ Gateley and a member of the Society’s Technology Law and Practice Committee is chairing today's event. She commented: “This is the first survey the Law Society has carried out about solicitors’ views on and use of technology.
“The findings highlight the positive view most have of increased use of technology and how it can benefit their businesses and the wider justice system, but also draw attention to some of the issues the profession faces in terms of keeping up to date with developments and how to ensure that their data is safe.
“The findings also highlight areas that we will want to explore further. The vast majority of respondents took steps to protect themselves online, such as not clicking on suspect links and using password protection on their devices, however 35% of those who had experienced a cyber-security issue did not report it to anyone. It may be that some of this relates to scam emails from fraudsters which most of us would simply delete, but it perhaps indicates there is an issue in what and how cyber security issues should be dealt with.”
Today's conference will cover issues ranging from cloud technology and cyber attacks to data protection and whistleblowing.
Ms Brown added: “Today’s event is all about raising awareness of cybercrime risks and providing the best possible guidance to help solicitors safeguard their businesses, allowing them to reassure their clients that their data and funds are secure.
“We have a fantastic lineup of speakers and delegates will be able to pose questions to our panel of experts and examine the issues that really affect them and their clients.”