Driven by the economic downturn of 2009, the legal industry has experienced significant change. Law departments continue to look for ways to cut costs and get leaner, and firms remain focused on staying profitable and competitive. LLM, Inc.’s white paper “The Agent of Change” explored technology’s role in helping both inside and outside counsel thrive. A recent article, “The Rise of the Legal Machines,” in Crain’s Cleveland Business also focuses on technology’s importance for counsel.
Reporter Jeremy Nobile quotes Jerry Justice, chief information officer at Benesch Friedlander Coplan & Aronoff, a midsize regional firm based in Cleveland, on the matter:
“Why do we talk about tech today? For one, in order to compete, in order to survive, you’re going to have to. And two, clients are demanding it.”
Nobile also cites a 2016 report by The Boston Consulting Group, which presents the three ways technology will revolutionize firms:
- Digitizing legal data
- Plugging efficiencies into case management and back-office work
- Supporting or replacing lawyers in substantive legal tasks in transactions and litigation cases
Nobile states that one of the “biggest and most sweeping changes” to take place is with cloud computing. Quoting Bill Garcia, chief practice innovation officer for Thompson Hine:
“There’s definitely a drive for increased efficiency coming from the clients. You can’t be in this world and say to a client we don’t know how long this will take or how much this is going to cost. That’s just not acceptable anymore.”
Technology is not only automating tasks in departments and firms and increasing efficiency, it’s also “changing the philosophy of engagement” between client and firm.
Quoting Bill Garcia, chief practice innovation officer for Thompson Hine:
“The software tools help you do the work. But it’s all part of how we’re developing service. And that becomes part of the value proposition.”
Like LLM’s white paper on the changing legal industry, Nobile’s article advises that those who don’t consider adopting technology are in danger of getting left behind and out of the conversation.