The legal sector is an area of the economy that operated much the same way for decades. Law students would go to college, get their degree, and then apply to work at various firms. Eventually, they’d get their professional qualifications and work full-time in the sector.
The typical attorney works more than 60 hours a week, particularly early in their career. Poring over case studies and searching through legal precedents is time-consuming work.
But thanks to innovations, that could be changing. Legal firms are adjusting their business models to reduce the cognitive load on their most talented employees and handing it over to external services or even robots.
Legal intake serviceslike Go Answer say this shift is being felt in its business model. “We’ve been providing businesses with virtual assistant services for a long time. But we’ve noticed that the legal sector is finally catching up with the trend. Companies are desperate to reduce the number of hours their people spend on tasks they could outsource to reduce their costs and increase efficiency. Legal offices simply need to process cases faster, and the best way to do that is to get someone else to manage their leads for them.”
Technology is making this approach possible because of the advent of the cloud. Potential clients can contact agents representing legal firms anywhere, with information shared with core legal teams via numerous channels, whichever is the most convenient.
“We’re seeing massive demand for these kinds of services right now, and it’s all because of what technology is making possible. The legal sector was one of the last to the punch, but now it’s arrived, it is certainly drinking a lot,” Go Answer says.
Perhaps one of the most profound shifts in the legal sector in response to technology is the enhanced access to information. Companies can perform advanced searches and get the information they need in mere seconds instead of waiting hours or days, which is what they had to do previously. Legal research is faster, more comprehensive, and efficient, and lawyers are able to gain a better understanding of precedent to avoid being blindsided in the courtroom.
Software and management tools are also becoming standard. Shared databases mean that lawyers from across the sector can use them efficiently and transfer their skills from other partnerships.
We’re also seeing dramatic improvements in client communication. Many lawyers are eliminating the use of conventional methods and trying new options.
“This technology revolution in law is certainly affecting firms like ours,” Go Answer says. “Answering services are enabling law firms to expand their reach, particularly when they can access bilingual agents. It’s also have a massive knock-on effect on client relationships. Customers frustrated with not being able to contact their lawyer because they are in court can talk to agents who are available around the clock and can address some of their concerns. There’s even potential for data collection to enhance the use of CRMs and other software solutions that track customers’ needs. Legal firms can use agents to build a better picture of who their clients are, their requirements, and the service levels they expect.”
The emergence of online legal platforms is another area in which the legal sector is experiencing some of the beneficial impacts of technology. These promise to reduce the cost and increase the efficiency of standard legal procedures, including things like no-fault divorceand compensation claims that don’t require much professional attention. Customers can simply provide details and the system will tell them if they have a case, how much it will cost, and how long it will take to prosecute.
“Part of our approach is designed to reduce the cost and automate a lot of legal legwork that conventionally-run law offices currently go through,” Go Answer says. Instead of putting lawyers on billable time and increasing client charges even more, externalizing regular procedural conversations reduces the burden on staff and cuts customers’ bills. It can make a tremendous difference in the perceived value of a service.”
This basic point is worth reiterating. Legal offices that field agents can get them to carry out the time-consuming task of having conversations which frees up lawyers to focus on nothing but their work. This specialization reduces overall legal costs while also keeping customers happy, knowing there is always someone in the loop.
Technology is also positively impacting cybersecurity and data protection at many legal firms. Cloud services and managed IT are enabling attorneys to better guard against breaches and prevent the potentially embarrassing release of information.
“Legal firms are improving their approach to cybersecurity in light of the numerous highly publicized breaches occurring across all aspects of business,” Go Answer believes. “It’s clear that these firms want to protect their clients and are now using technology to do so, as well as training their staff and people.”
So far, the efforts have been effective. Legal firms appear adept at preventing any leaks and ensuring that no one can get unauthorized access to their files.
Finally, the legal sector is feeling the impact of technologyin its ability to provide its staff with remote work. It is now possible to acquire talented individuals from anywhere in the world.
“Law firms can use virtual assistants from any location,” Go Answer says. “You could have a practice in New York fielding assistants based in Florida. Location just doesn’t matter anymore. All that counts is the online experience.”
The same, of course, is true for attorneys. Law firms can now facilitate home working and no longer need to insist that people come into the office. This shift means that offices can hire far and wide without having to pay as much attention to location.
Collaborating with colleagues globally is easier than ever. Law offices are using tools that enable them to work on cases together and resolve client issues faster than ever before. It’s only a matter of time before the entire industry begins to change beyond recognition.