This article is part of a series on the future of legal tech. It’s reflections and beliefs revolving the current dilemmas and crossroads in the legal business - mostly regarding the choices made in the digital spectre, choices which very well may determine whether legal firms will perish or prevail.
Is it really worth the investment?
If you have read our first article, you know that we already established that automation in law firms is inevitable. Automation provides an exciting opportunity for optimizing the gathering and organizing of information. Unfortunately, it appears that this leaves law firms in a severe dilemma as well. If a firm implements automation in the services, they provide, it is a general belief that it will eventually impact the amount of billable working hours. And to make things worse, this happens at the same time the company just spent a noticeable amount of money investing in the very same solutions providing automation. Work processes would be leaner, but to many, it seems like an apparent lose-lose situation.
There is no doubt that automation must be a strategic choice. Implementing it would allow a law firm to lower expenses, provide a better product or service while obtaining a competitive advantage. For apparent reasons executives at law firms often see such implementations naturally leading to lower revenue, which will then require the company to cut down on staff, leading to a slimmer organisation. And is it then worth it? - They wonder. But it doesn’t have to be so if you ask Søren Nielsen, co-founder of Whyyy: “If you optimize work processes by implementing automation, it will lead to doing work faster at a higher quality. Such investments will unquestionably open for even more business which would instead increase revenue”.
Better services shouldn't be cheaper
When investing in automation, the superior goal remains to obtain a leading market position. The decisive factor of success will be whether the firm will manage to pull in new clients. But with an extensive proactive effort, why should this not be possible? According to Søren Nielsen, the reasoning is clear: “Why would clients want to continue buying services at a competitor company, providing a more mediocre service, when much better options exist? And better and faster service shouldn’t necessarily be cheaper,” he says.
We are living in a time where consumer awareness is only increasing. Clients are asking questions about what they are paying for - even in dependable areas such as legal advice. Should an economic recession enter, everyone is even going to increase their effort in finding ways to cut costs or spent money more wisely - also in terms of expenses to law firms. These are not pioneering ideas of our own. In 2016 Deloitte took a thorough anticipatory look at the legal industry in the UK. “We believe that the most successful law firms will be those that are agile enough to flex resources in order to meet client needs at an efficient price”, they concluded.