Almost half of UK lawyers and a third of US lawyer feel that the technology they use every day doesn’t fully meet their needs, with UK lawyers also very likely to say that their firm needs to invest more in technology, according to a recent YouGov poll conducted by Intapp.
The survey polled 258 lawyers at firms with 50+ employees on both side of the Atlantic – 133 in the US and 125 in the UK to look at the dynamics that make for a successful law firm and lawyer.
UK lawyers (46 percent) were more likely than US lawyers (35 percent) to feel that the technology they use every day doesn’t fully meet their needs, and more UK lawyers (42 percent) felt that law firms need to invest more in technologies that support legal work, when compared with US lawyers (20 percent). This is no doubt indicative of the fact that UK firms are having to think more about investing in technology (whether or not that translates into actual investment is another thing), thanks to the deregulated local market, competition from outsiders such as the Big Four, and pressure on margins thanks to a multitude of factors including client pressure and a significant move away from the billable hour.
Many lawyers felt that their office technology experience would be improved if they had access to more intuitive software (42 percent) and if that technology had a better user interface (40 percent). Our observation? These trends will be accelerated by the Apple, Amazon and Google effect that is also driving shadow IT in firms that don’t provide technology that lawyers want to interact with. Nearly half (48 percent) said software more tailored to the business of law would also help with this.
The results also showed that over a third (38 percent) of UK lawyers, and 31 percent of US lawyers are considering a career change in the next year, and 19 percent of these UK and US lawyers cited the outmoded technology that their firm uses as a reason for this. These particular results ought probably be taken with pinch of salt because we’ve never met a lawyer not considering a career change.
Inevitably, AI was a high-profile technology trend that many UK lawyers surveyed think will be valuable, with 49 percent pointing to its value in tracking billable time. Others said its value lies in conflicts clearance (41 percent), and compliance with client billing documents (34 percent).
“As I often tell my legal industry clients, law firms are at a tipping point with regard to technology,” said Ralph Baxter, former chairman and CEO of the global law firm Orrick and advisor to law firms, legal technology startups and corporate law departments. “As the survey clearly demonstrates, firms need to invest now in technology that integrates quickly and contributes to business development, client service and internal processes. Further, they need to use technology, as their clients do, to deliver service better, faster and less expensively.”