We live in a hyperconnected world. It can be hard to keep up with the latest tech predictions at the best of times. Despite some industry resistance to new technologies, the legal profession is now rapidly moving to join the technology ‘disruption’ that has marked the last decade for many sectors.
As we reflect on the challenges and successes of 2014, what are the top tech predictions for the legal industry in 2015?
Whether it’s cloud computing software, online communication and collaboration aids, outsourced legal services, clever apps or document management systems, the range of technologies available to lawyers has ballooned in recent times. Here are our top tips for 2015’s tech trends.
Let it go: Outsourcing
No longer the preserve of manufacturers and call centres, many small and medium-sized firms will be looking outwards to outsource more of their front and back-end operations for greater efficiency and increased revenues in the coming year.
In the US, Law Technology News’s 2015 tech predictions cite the growing use of legal process outsourcing services (LPOs), particularly for e-discovery, so that firms can charge clients reduced rates in circumstances where they would normally charge much more for doing it in-house.
On the Australian front, Thomson Reuters services like Infinitylaw, Softdocs and PeerMonitor provide a range of legal and business services to firms. Expect to see LPOs gain an increased market share with virtual paralegals and assistants, external legal services and litigation document management businesses on the rise.
On the move: Mobiles, apps and workflow tools
Streamline, streamline, streamline. 2015 will definitely see increased usage in mobiles, tablets and various apps as lawyers seek to achieve improved efficiency and mobility.
Rather than entering time on your firm’s PC database or emailing your client back at the office, lawyers will use their mobile phones to connect, communicate and collaborate while on the go, using mobile-friendly practice management systems like Thomson Reuters Infinitylaw and a range of smartphone aids.
Online workflow, knowledge, document and project management tools such as Evernote, Dropbox, Google Drive, Slack, Basecamp and TeamGantt can also make life much easier, simply because practitioners can work with clients and colleagues remotely and use time spent out of the office more productively.
Information jitters: Data protection
With mandatory data-breach notification laws on the horizon, the issue of data security, protection and risk is high on the agenda for 2015.
A 2013 study conducted by the Ponemon Institute into the cost of data breaches in Australia concluded that the average total organisational cost of data breach increased from $2.16 million in 2011 to $2.72 million in 2012, representing a 23 per cent increase over a single year.
To protect client and firm data from cyber-attacks and breaches, practitioners will be looking to implement sophisticated tech systems and secure cloud-based technologies. Firms will also employ external consultants to advise on data security, risk and data sovereignty.
Head in the clouds: Cloud computing software
Cloud-based practice management software helps firms store, access and manage data remotely and reduce the cost of overheads. Being in the cloud offers small to medium players and solo operators the chance to bill, record time, share files, project manage and collaborate with clients in a range of locations.
So as you prepare for the new year, make sure you’re ready to charge into 2015 with some tech-savvy tools in your practice armoury – the sky’s the limit!