Charlotte Ponder TEP, Legal Director for Countrywide Tax & Trust Corporation, has shared her view on technology with the Today’s Wills and Probate readers.
In the legal sector, competition and client expectations have risen dramatically. Clients expect more, and have an increasing number of options as to where to take their business. In order to thrive in the current environment, leading firms must look toward new solutions and systems that review, communicate and think at near-instant speeds.
In times of next-day delivery and self-checkouts, , waiting is becoming almost obsolete and consumer expectations of how long things should take have changed. To maintain a competitive edge, firms must utilise evolving technology to complete work more efficiently and accurately. The combination of rapid processing of routine tasks with greater engagement is therefore likely to make clients more satisfied. Use of smart phone apps to obtain information when onboarding new clients, for example, gives a great impression of your business as forward thinking and transparent. Given the ongoing government restrictions on movement, technology is one of the only means of progressing work currently.
Firms need to always be looking at new ways in which to provide a better service as well as having a clear strategy for dealing with changes in client demands, technological innovations, and the regulatory landscape if they want to remain competitive and attract the best talent. Clients are also increasingly aware of the risks present within Will writing such as Will claims with many high profile cases being shared as of late, and are looking to firms that can provide an extra layer of protection. The issues are not going away thanks to the challenges posed by Covid-19.
Firms can expect to reap the rewards when investing in technology in a variety of areas that far outweigh the cost involved. Technology has developed to address the challenges created by an increase in the quantity of information which practices need to process. Automation tools significantly reduced administrative costs, storing information electronically enables agile working whilst reducing risk, and AI research tools pave the way for further efficiencies and competitive advantages.
Perhaps most notably, many of the benefits achieved as a result of firms harnessing tech innovations have been passed on to the client in the form of an improved service, lower fees, more flexibility and increased transparency. Using the right systems and legal document drafting software, a firm can significantly reduce inputting time and errors, allowing clients to interact with the firm 24/7 and view progress of their cases at their leisure.
Consider technology-based products that didn’t exist ten years ago, but are now indispensable, such as the iPhone, Amazon, Uber and music streaming services. It’s no coincidence that as these products have risen, their predecessors have fallen.
Many firms have, largely, operated in the same way for generations, but the old model of the law firm is being challenged. By not embracing new tech innovations, firms are leaving themselves exposed to risk in more areas than one. From a risk in security and compliance to a risk of Will claims when there is a lack of electronic records, and ultimately risking a disservice to clients or losing them altogether.
A decade ago, law firms were just starting to use tools such as management software and document automation. Nowadays, most professionals couldn’t envisage running a firm without these tools, and Covid-19 has certainly advanced this programme. Soon, the same will be true of artificial intelligence and other flourishing legal tech which will assist new talent in carrying law firms forward.
Law firms will need to consider the demands of the next generation of solicitors. By 2025, around three quarters of the global workforce will be of the millennial generation. Just like the modern day consumer, best talent have serious and growing expectations of the workplace.
Implementing the right software within a practice enhances training and eliminates miscommunication which can occur in traditional methods of training. By using tech to reduce the risk of errors and unnecessary administrative tasks, this speeds up the process significantly, and the boost in productivity allows the future pool of talent focus their efforts on diversifying their own legal skills. Automating administrative tasks allows for more interesting and complex work to be done by junior lawyers, in turn advancing their own careers.
What are your views on technology?