How Are Lawyer Attitudes Changing Toward New Technologies?
Hundreds of lawyers from US and UK firms weigh in on AI, industry-specific software, and other trends
Intapp recently announced the results of a survey designed to look at the dynamics that make for a successful law firm and lawyer. Despite growing awareness of the need for modern technology solutions to meet client needs and boost profitability, the survey showed that law firm use of technology designed specifically for legal applications still has a lot of room for improvement.
The survey, conducted in partnership with YouGov, polled 258 lawyers at firms with 50+ employees: 133 in the US and 125 in the UK. It revealed that lawyers recognise the importance of using software that is purpose-built for their needs and those of their clients as opposed to generic solutions, but that many are still grappling with the outmoded technology that isn’t industry-specific.
The research shows that 46% of UK lawyers surveyed are using technology that does not meet their needs and that some lawyers are finding the technology they use is too complex and creates more work than it saves (28%). Many lawyers felt that their office technology experience would be improved if they had access to more intuitive software (42%) and if that technology had a better user interface (40%). Nearly half (48%) said software more tailored to the business of law would also help with this.
The results also showed that over a third (38%) of UK lawyers, and 31% of US lawyers are considering a career change in the next year, and 19% of these UK and US lawyers cited the outmoded technology that their firm uses as a reason for this.
In an increasingly competitive climate, where law firms are dealing with more data, the rise of the empowered client, and competition to recruit a new wave of tech-savvy millennials entering the workforce, there’s a pressing need for UK firms to review processes and technologies in place to ensure that they are designed with lawyers and the industry in mind.
Almost a third of UK lawyers surveyed (30%) said their firm doesn’t use software technology as it could, and 42% listed investment in technologies that support legal service work among the things law firms must do in order to adapt/ remain competitive.
Further to this, Artificial intelligence (AI) was a high-profile technology trend that many UK lawyers surveyed think will be valuable, with 49% recognising its value in tracking billable time, something that has been a priority for the industry. Others said its value lies in conflicts clearance (41%), and compliance with client billing documents (34%).
While the results across the US and the UK remained mostly consistent, findings illustrated that UK lawyers (46%) were more likely than US lawyers (35%) to feel that the technology they use every day doesn’t fully meet their needs, and more UK lawyers (42%) felt that law firms need to invest more in technologies that support legal work, when compared with US lawyers (20%).
“When it comes to supplying technology solutions, there must be an appreciation of the processes and tasks that are unique to an industry and a specific employee’s role,” said Chris Turk, Intapp Regional Vice President, EMEA. “This is reflected in our survey results, which demonstrate that there is a clear demand for technology used by law firms to be more intuitive and, ultimately, tailored to the legal industry in order to fit the needs of lawyers today.”
“As I often tell my legal industry clients, law firms are at a tipping point with regard to technology,” said Ralph Baxter, former chairman and CEO of the global law firm Orrick and advisor to law firms, legal technology startups and corporate law departments. “As the survey clearly demonstrates, firms need to invest now in technology that integrates quickly and contributes to business development, client service and internal processes. Further, they need to use technology, as their clients do, to deliver service better, faster and less expensively.”
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 258 lawyers at firms with 50+ employees: 133 in the US and 125 in the UK Fieldwork was undertaken between 2/8/19 – 2/14/19. The survey was carried out online.