Legal Technology Innovation: 5 Predictions on What’s to Come in 2022
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    Title*Legal Technology Innovation: 5 Predictions on What’s to Come in 2022
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    DetailPosted 16th December 2021


    We’re quickly approaching the end of 2021, a year shaped by the ongoing impact of the pandemic. Over the course of the year, we’ve seen law firms quickly shift gears and pursue more significant automation of legal processes to help drive greater flexibility, scalability, and security. 

    As we prepare to close out this year, it’s time to look ahead at the key issues and trends that will shape the legal landscape in the year to come. 

    The Rise of the Non-Lawyer Legal Team

    The composition of legal teams are changing, and heading into 2022, we expect to see more non-lawyers make up the legal team. Modern firms are moving away from the traditional law firm hierarchy and adopting more agile and cost-effective ways of working. As firms seek to improve and standardise their processes, they’re adopting more substantial technologies, which require the right set of skills to help manage and promote internally. 

    Castrén and Snellman, a full-service business law firm based in Finland, is one firm that’s already unlocked the benefits of the non-lawyer team. The firm’s impressive Signe automation tool has significantly improved efficiency in the firm’s document drafting processes - yet, much of its success can be attributed to the dedicated Legal Tech team that manages it. The Legal Tech team works closely with almost all the firm’s practice areas and business services teams to drive internal automation projects. To date, the team has automated more than 65 high-profile and frequently used documents, including Non-Disclosure Agreements, Anti-Money Laundering Information Requests, VC Shareholders’ Agreements, and trainee contracts.

    Heading into 2022, we expect to see more firms adopt this innovative approach to in-house automation to make it easier for firms to quickly scale the benefits of internal technology solutions.

    Contract Management Moves To the Cloud

    In 2021, remote work became the new normal for law firms and businesses. While this brought greater flexibility to lawyers and staff, it also raised significant challenges in terms of contract management. 

    That’s why modern firms are moving towards automated, cloud-based contract management solutions to drive efficiency and effectively manage the contract lifecycle from anywhere. Rather than relying on in-person meetings and traditional signatures, online contract management platforms enable legal teams to standardise contract creation, negotiation, and execution - whilst making the process available anywhere.  

    Standardising the contract creation process also helps reduce risk by ensuring that lawyers and staff are using the most up-to-date templates with built-in compliance features, which brings us to our next prediction. 

    Heightened Compliance Enforcement Environment

    As we enter 2022, law firms and legal teams face greater accountability in demonstrating data security and regulatory compliance than ever before. The EU GDPR is one of the strictest data privacy laws in the world, and in 2021, the UK formally adopted its own UK GDPR (which mirrors the EU GDPR) into law. 

    In 2021, we saw an increase in noncompliance fines, as organisations faced new challenges like an expanding remote workforce, an ongoing pandemic, and sophisticated cyberattacks. Just a few months ago, Amazon was hit with the largest GDPR fine to date - $887 million, which also exceeds the amount of all previous GDPR fines combined. 

    For law firms and legal teams, this means there needs to be an increased focus on ensuring compliance and data security internally. By automating key legal processes, firms can embed compliance best practices into every day operations, create clear audit trails, and make it easier for lawyers and staff to comply - even if they’re working from home. 

    Increased Focus on Digitisation

    While the concept of digitalisation has been a key focus for firms over the past couple of years, in 2022, we expect to see firms refocus on the benefits of digitisation. More complex regulatory requirements combined with the need for digital transformation is pushing firms to rethink how they capture, store and manage their client data. 

    One area digitisation is becoming increasingly important is client intake. More firms are converting their paper client intake forms into digital forms that can capture client data online, which can then be properly and securely managed via workflow automation. For example, personal data provided the client intake form can be automatically encrypted, periodically pseudonymised, and selectively deleted to adhere to data protection and retention policies. 

    The Hybrid Office Expands

    The way law firms will work in 2022 seemed almost unimaginable just a few years ago. The pandemic has forced many firms to consider a long-term shift toward more agile working practices. As we look to the year ahead, we expect to see more UK law firms solidifying their flexible working practices, such as Linklaters’ “agile working policy”, which allows employees to work remotely up to 50% of the time. 

    As the hybrid office expands in 2022, law firms will need to invest in the right technology and processes to enable their staff to work more effectively and deliver consistent quality, unencumbered by location. With this in mind, we expect to see more firms adopt workflow automation for a variety of use cases, including contract management, client intake and acceptance, legal transactions, and compliance and risk management. 

    With 2022 on the horizon, now’s the ideal time to review your law firm’s technical capabilities and start building a solid foundation for the year to come. This will be the year to embrace agility, build resilience, and welcome new ways of working that can transform your firm’s future.

    To learn more about how Sysero can help your firm modernise its legal processes,
    get in touch with our team

    SummaryAs we prepare to close out this year, it’s time to look ahead at the key issues and trends that will shape the legal landscape in the year to come.
    Resource TypeBlog
    CategoryLegal Tech Trends
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