5 Trends Set the Shape the Legal Industry in 2020

Title*5 Trends Set the Shape the Legal Industry in 2020
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Posted 5 December 2019



The year is quickly coming to a close, and as we enter a new year - and a new decade - there’s a host of technological trends that promise to shape the year ahead for the modern law firm. While 2019 saw firms bring automated processes closer to their clients to enhance collaboration and improve service delivery, 2020 promises new innovations and approaches that will redefine the global legal landscape for years to come. 

Here, we share our thoughts on the top-five trends that will impact law firms and their clients in the year ahead.

Redefining the Law Firm as Brand

As alternative legal service providers continue to impact the legal market, the traditional view of law firms is shifting. For decades, law firms have promoted themselves with stale messages that do little to create compelling competitive differentiation. However, with the advent of fixed-fee arrangements, online service providers and more influential in-house teams, law firms need to think more like their clients to stay competitive in the market. That means focussing on building service differentiation and creating brand loyalty. 

Legal technology will play a significant role in driving this shift by making legal services more accessible to clients, more profitable for law firms, and fostering greater collaboration between in-house counsel and their law firms. 

Greater Focus on Relationships

Relationships are no doubt one of the biggest drivers of law firm business. As competition heats up and client expectations change, there will be a greater focus on building - and sustaining - stronger relationships with clients in the years ahead. 

The on-demand consumer culture has seeped into the legal sector, and the value of a legal partner is now gauged by their responsiveness, transparency and cost value. One of the main ways law firms are addressing this issue is through the use of automated technologies. We’re already seeing some innovative law firms, mostly in the Nordics, tap into automation to drive greater service and value for their clients through client self-service portals and digital onboarding solutions. In the year ahead, we expect to see more law firms follow suit and innovate their service offerings to establish better client relationships.  


Standardisation of Internal Processes

In today’s firms, efficiency is king. Technological innovation has enabled firms to create more standardised solutions for the delivery of legal processes, and in turn, commoditise many legal services. In the past few years, automated document generation has become a key tool to driving greater efficiency within the firm.

However, moving into 2020, we expect more firms to adopt automation to streamline even more internal processes across the firm, whilst improving compliance. Amongst the areas most ripe for disruption are the business acceptance process and the contract lifecycle. 

Firms can use workflow automation technology to streamline client onboarding and speed up business acceptance, while ensuring compliance with regulations. Some firms, such as Wikborg Rein, Simonsen Vogt Wiig and Arntzen de Besche are already ahead of the game, and we expect many more firms to follow in the new year. 


Increased Focus on Security & Compliance

Compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), EU Money Laundering Directives, and other local regulations continue to be a key concern for the modern law firm. Additionally, the growing threat of cybercrime has placed an increased focus on data protection and security. 

The good news is that technology advancements have made it easier to secure data and ensure compliance by embedding information security into internal processes. In 2020 and beyond, law firms will need to ensure their technology solutions are configured to consider key security and compliance requirements. The ability to encrypt data and enforce multi-factor identification will also be crucial for law firm security in the years ahead. 

One way that firms can help protect their data and reputations is by partnering with vendors who adhere to strict data security practices and standards, such as ISO/IEC 27001:203. 


Client-Centric Technology 

To adapt to the ever-evolving legal market, firms will bring the benefits of automation closer to their clients. We’re already seeing a push towards client-centric technology offerings, such as digital onboarding and client self-service portals, which help firms deliver increased quality and responsiveness to their clients. 

As competition continues to grow, we’ll see more firms adopt automated client self-service portals and digital onboarding solutions to create service differentiation, whilst increasing profitability. 

As 2019 comes to a close, it’s the ideal time to review the technical capabilities of your firm and identify areas of improvement. Take the opportunity to embrace change, welcome new innovations and transform your firm’s business. 


If you’re interested in learning more about how workflow automation can benefit your law firm in the new year, get in touch with our team

SummaryWhile 2019 saw firms bring automated processes closer to their clients to enhance collaboration and improve service delivery, 2020 promises new innovations and approaches that will redefine the global legal landscape for years to come.
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