Called The Legal Landscape 2016, the report uses case management experience from firms and organisations that are currently investing in innovation to both drive efficiencies and boost client care. The many insightful contributions included come from: Anthony Collins, DAC Beachcroft, Genus Law, Olliers, Poole Alcock, South London Legal Partnership and Total Conveyancing Services.
Amongst the key areas of concern that these organisations have for the year ahead, are: cybersecurity, agility and the digitisation of UK courts and online services. The contributors’ thoughts and opinions are summarised for each of these areas within the report.
One of the report’s main findings is that many firms are now re-examining risk as cybersecurity takes centre stage in the press. As law firms are under obligation to protect client data by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and the Information Commissioner’s Office, the processes for securing data and systems from cybercrime will be an unavoidable practice priority in 2016.
The report highlights how ‘agility’ will also become increasingly essential as location becomes less important. As clients are demanding that law firms are able to provide them with access to legal services anytime and anywhere, the ability to work from remote locations at times to suit clients needs will become a prerequisite. This in turn will drive concepts like mobile working and BYOD.
Another main theme of the report is the increased digitisation of the Courts and the growth of online services. Firms expect to see further improvements in processes and accessibility to case management files with more systems becoming electronic and digital in 2016. The government’s £700m investment in the Autumn Statement in November will also modernise the courts and justice system. Law firms will need to ensure they have the right electronic systems in place to be able to operate in this new world, although questions remain about whether it is the courts or firms that will be doing the ‘catching up’.
Commenting on the report Tim Long CEO of Zylpha notes, “Our aim, in this joint report, is to look at the key issues affecting law firms’ IT and to record case management experience. In contrast to many other reports, which broadcast the agenda only of those who produce them, we aim to deliver an overview from some of the key protagonists of legal innovation, both in practice and in-house. In short, their views are a snapshot of the rapidly evolving world of legal process automation and we hope they will either underscore or inspire the efforts of others in the legal sector. The key themes to emerge from the research are a real portent of those areas where legal IT faces significant challenges. From Cybersecurity and Agility through to the digitisation of the Courts there’s a great deal here to define 2016 as a tipping point in favour of legal technology. My thanks go to the contributors for their candour and high quality input.”
Converge TS Technical Director Andrew Taylor says, “2016 will be the definitive year for law firm technology and innovation. Improvements to IT security will be far greater as firms seek to offer greatly enhanced data security to win more contracts. In addition, the move to ‘IT as a service’ will signal a change in the future make up of the IT team with many viewing it as a cash flow friendly OPEX ‘operational’ cost rather than a CAPEX ‘capital expenditure’ one. ‘Paying per user’ will become a far more cost efficient method of delivering technology as firms look to scale IT as necessary to meet business objectives.”