Technology has a huge amount to offer the legal marketplace, so much so that the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) recently set out the benefits of IT tech for the legal sector in its research. Technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) has many benefits - in fact a recent survey found that 48% of London firms have already integrated it and a further 41% plan to do so in the near future. Despite this, investment in technology in the legal sector is still lower than others, such as accountancy, and this means that many firms are still missing out on the key benefits.
Improving access to legal services
Cost is a big obstacle when it comes to access to legal services. Around a third of people don’t access legal support because they don’t believe they can afford it and often try to resolve issues themselves instead. The SRA believes that greater integration of technology could help to improve access to legal services by increasing efficiency and helping to reduce costs while still generating profit. It could also mean that those in remote areas have access to legal support they could not otherwise reach.
Creating greater capacity
There is currently significant demand for online services among consumers and this includes the legal sector. Conveyancing is one area where consumers are particularly focused on more efficient online services and having access to more IT tech to enable better digital communication and the ability to see real time data about transactions in progress. E-Conveyancing is one area that the government is very keen on in order to help increase the capacity of transactions that can be processed. The Ministry of Justice has also piloted an online scheme for county court claims that had a 80% success rate.
Making the business more competitive
Those firms integrating technology at a faster rate can be more competitive than their peers. Technology not only enables firms to take on more work but frees up skilled solicitors to add greater value to clients and spend more time on key issues rather than admin and processing. This value adding can set a firm head and shoulders above the rest. There is also increasing competition from businesses offering unreserved legal services, which don’t need to be regulated under the Legal Services Act 2007. Technology provides an opportunity to offer services that are competitive with those newer businesses in terms of value and cost.
Improving customer service
One of the biggest benefits of IT tech for the legal sector is when it comes to dealing with people. The Legal Ombudsman receives more complaints about delays than almost anything else. Well integrated technology can help to ensure that delays are minimised and improve the key areas of client service. One example of this is in using AI applications to automate every day manual processes, providing solicitors with more opportunity to focus on the clients themselves and on complex matters that will improve firm perception.
The legal sector still has some catching up to do where technology is concerned but there are some significant benefits to investing in this for any firm. See how our IT support can help you here...