The development of technology in the legal sector over the past two years has allowed lawyers to do their jobs more efficiently, with more confidence, all whilst delivering a better service. This is how LegalTech has been embraced since 2020.
Traditionally, law firms in the UK have always had a ‘pen and paper’ approach to their work, so when the world went into lockdown in early 2020, a lot of firms found themselves having to shift mindsets, adapting to the introduction of tools that allowed them to work fluidly and securely whilst being remote. Because of this, technology has been brought to the forefront for the sector, with the realisation that it can help law firms deliver a better service to their clients, reduce the adminstratative burden on their fee-earning teams and even remove the risks associated with the conventional approaches.
The Law Society urged firms quite early on to embrace LegalTech, citing reasons in their LawTech and Ethics report which included: improved and faster client onboarding, stronger security and business benefits such as increased productivity and competitive advantage. But The Law Society also urged caution when adopting new processes. In 2020, they interviewed a large pool of fee-earners who all agreed that whilst overall technology was huge benefit to the industry, there were some risks and there would need to be guidance and support for firms.
Other key influencing bodies in the legal industry also encouraged a more technologically-driven approach for firms through various committees, strategies and plans.
In 2021, The Solicitors Regulation Authority produced a report into the adaptation of technology in legal services, an indepth look at the benefits, and pitfalls, of LegalTech. It coincided with the SRA’s strategic priorities to ‘actively support the adoption of legal technology and other innovation that helps to meet the needs of the public, business community, regulated entities and the economy’, while maintaining high professional standards for solicitors and law firms. The report found that whilst the development of legal technology has been steep, there are still barriers for smaller to medium sized firms, but they expect these to be eridcated as firms become more comfortable with innovation.
The Legal Services Board recently released their draft 2022-2023 strategy, a key strand of which was innovation. It acknowledges the quick digitalisation of the legal sector since 2020 and the impact this is driving for better services and fostering a more innovative approach to customer needs. This move has been strongly supported by The Law Society who has seen the positive impact LegalTech has had on the sector. The Law Society even have a dedicated committee for LawTech to guide firms, regularly providing guides, opinion pieces, and whitepapers.
And it is not just fee-earners in law firms that have accepted a digital shift in ways of working for 2022. A report conducted by Wolters Kluwer and The Lawyer in May of 2021, acknowledged that within the next 5 years, in-house lawyers expect to be using some form of legal tech every day.
As firms get to grips with technology, we are seeing many firms digitalising alot of their processes. Technology offers firms better protection from human error, higher security barriers, a better client experience and stronger audit trails. And so with the adoption of innovation in legal services, it would make sense that there would be a growing wealth of technology companies in the UK. In 2021, it was reported that there was approximately 200 LegalTech start-ups and scale-ups registered, which service many part of law firms. As part of LawTech UK’s report, it was acknowledged that regulatory and compliance tech is a key part of that growth, growing by 214% between 2018 and 2020.
Here at Mirror, we are seeing a strong appetite for our RegTech tool, where client onboarding and KYC checks are a time drain for many law firms who are still operating in a less digitally-focussed way. By introducing a digital tool to help onboard new clients, firms are saving time (Mirror allows completion of ID verification, Proof of Address, and AML checks in just 15 minutes), saving money (we protect your time, your reputation and help you avoid regulatory fines) and saving hassle (one centralised system saves fee-earners the difficulties and intricacies of traditional checks).
If you’d like to learn more about how Mirror can play part of your Legaltech stack just get in touch.