While the rest of the world progressed towards a modernized future, the legal industry refused to step up its game. Law, undoubtedly, is among the slowest fields that continuously refuses to stay with the current. Lawyers are used to their own pace, and this is why the legal industry has always stayed behind when it comes to embracing technological advancements.
Lawyers are used to the slow pace of the current justice system. Moreover, the concerns regarding the attorney-client privilege and safeguarding the sensitive information are also minimal. The major reason behind this is the lack of digital innovations in the legal industry. However, that is about to change.
Why Are Lawyers Hesitant in Embracing Modernity?
COVID-19 is among the worst tragedies that our world has had to face in a while. However, the silver lining of this pandemic is the tech disruption and the sudden wave of digital transformation across the board.
Even lawyers have personally commented on the situation and accepted to being tech laggards in the past. According to a Gartner CEO survey from December 2018, if the legal industry adheres to modern technological innovations, the on-time deliveries would be enhanced by a massive 63%. This clearly shows room for improvement.
However, some lawyers still object to this implication by stating the incompatibilities between modern technology and existing legal practices. A widespread belief among the industry is that technology and law don’t go hand-in-hand.
Since lawyers are generally perceived to be risk-averse, a growing concern among the general counsel is the protection of sensitive information. Therefore, the majority of lawyers refuse to transition from corporate servers to the cloud. The lack of decentralization may put sensitive information at risk.
COVID-19: The Wave of Digital Transformation
Security concerns are among the major deterrents when it comes to implementing technological advancements into traditional law practices. However, technology can also be the savior in the legal industry by offering an enhanced and well-organized environment for data protection and seamless interactions among different members. This is what the ongoing pandemic showcased in front of everyone, and now, the legal industry is evolving.
Law firms and in-house legal teams were restricted from physical contact. However, the justice system couldn’t afford any halts. Therefore, all legal teams and firms had to evolve and get with the current. Videoconferencing, online meetings, digital exchanges, and e-filing became the new norm. This finally showed lawyers the true power of technological innovations and how these can change the industry for good.
According to Clio’s 2020 Legal Trends Report, the month of October saw an immense boost in the use of software applications and digital aids among law firms and legal companies. More than 85% of companies are now relying on the use of modern technologies to conduct their day-to-day legal activities. This kind of revolution was previously an unimaginable action. COVID-19 made it happen. Dod Ghassemkhani, a San Diego criminal defense lawyer, has embraced technology. “In order to adapt you have to embrace change. At first it was hard but now it’s easier than ever.”
Even before the pandemic hit our planet, there were elemental efforts and drivers continually struggling to revolutionize the legal industry. The significant growth of alternative legal service providers (ALSPs) was among the core factors that put the general legal industry on a slow path of evolution. However, COVID-19 offered the much-need acceleration and sped up the entire process.
The Ease in Transition
Contrary to popular belief, the transition doesn’t have to be an arduous journey. Albeit uncomforting, the entire transitional phase could be smoothened by adhering to key factors mentioned below.
Embrace the Cultural Change
Fostering a habitable, welcoming, and embracing environment is the hardest thing right now. Therefore, change management should be of utmost importance here. A clear articulation and dissemination of helpful information detailing the benefits of technology can kick-start the transition profitably.
Showcase User Experience
If you want to accelerate tech adoption in the legal industry, a powerful element is showcasing the excellent user experience that technology promises. Once lawyers understand the core benefits, ease-of-use, and the underlying prowess of modern tech, they will be more willing to give technological evolution a shot. Familiarity and easiness have always been core drivers behind similar evolutions.
As mentioned earlier, security is among the major deterrents refraining the legal industry from stepping up its game. Once lawyers understand the enhanced security features of technological adoption, they will be more likely to embrace it without hassles. Law firms need to see modern technology as a blissful savior that can offer ease and security simultaneously.
Conclusion COVID-19 has forced us to evolve. While it has restricted our physical contact, it has allowed us to see a new medium for communication and interactions. The legal industry may have been tech-averse in the past. However, the ongoing pandemic is forcing lawyers and firms to evolve and embrace modern technology. This can only result in more efficient, securer, and powerful legal services in the future.
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