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Technology as an Ally for the Lawyer of the Future

By Mariano Werner - Lemontech


By Mariano Werner | CEO - Fri, 05/12/2023 - 11:00

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The competitive environment in the world of lawyers has changed, forcing lawyers to rethink how they do their jobs.

There are more and more lawyers per inhabitant (this rate has doubled in the last decade) and there are almost as many law students as lawyers. There is more and more competition. If nothing is done differently, it will become increasingly difficult to achieve the same results.

Compounding the situation, the advent of new technologies and business models are also affecting the amount of work available to lawyers. We can deny this reality, but it will still be there. It may be wiser to adapt.

Finally, and largely as a consequence of the two points above, customers are increasingly demanding. They know more and are more empowered. Lawyers have not distinguished ourselves by having a great focus on the client experience, but clients are demanding it. More and more.

It is a complex moment, truly revolutionary in the way of exercising the situation. Doing "more of the same" will not reasonably have good results. Especially when that "same" has been chronically plagued by inefficiencies that can be improved.

Could Technology Help Me?

We know that technology can be threatening, especially due to the constant growth it has had in recent years. But it is, above all, a reality. And, in addition, it can be a help in the new context.

It is up to lawyers to learn how to make use of it as an ally. We imagine that in the future lawyers will be a bit like doctors today: they articulate an entire ecosystem of technology (from scheduling hours to exams or treatments), but they reserve "medical judgment" to know when to use what and what decision to make. 

Considering where we are at, while we applaud efforts to implement sophisticated AI, we believe that focusing on it is a disservice. It can be seen as too great a challenge, too high a mountain to climb, and that can lead to paralysis rather than mobilization. And today what lawyers need most is to get moving.

How Can Technology Be an Ally?

In our opinion, lawyers have a wide field to explore relatively simple technologies that can significantly help their day to day. We group them into three main objectives:

  1. Reduce repetitive and low-value-added tasks: Searching for documents in a file, reviewing contracts to find specific information, searching for jurisprudence or doctrine, or the very fact of going to court are "necessary evils." The function itself is of very low added value and consumes a lot of time, but it makes it possible to make valuable information available.

Technology has made it possible to automate many of these tasks, allowing lawyers to spend more time on higher value-added activities. The lawyer must stop spending time on these tasks to do what really distinguishes him and what is essentially more fun: use legal judgment. Technology can make us lawyers more like lawyers.

  1. Improve acquisition and customer service: Acquiring customers is always relevant (in fact, it largely defines the move to Partner), and keeping them (for example, providing a good experience) is increasingly important. While this requires a truly new mindset, here, too, technology can help.

Technology can help make it easier to find a lawyer the client needs (with the appropriate experience and cost), and to schedule an appointment online.

It can also help in communication: chatbots to answer customer queries 24/7, provide mechanisms for self-consultation, be able to have video conferences, among others. Clients want more flexibility and time availability.

It can help in a detailed billing of hours, contributing to transparency. As well as in the follow-up of leads and registration of relevant aspects of each client, to personalize our service.

A study of US law firms indicates that those who use cloud-based management software are 43% more likely to have satisfied customers, which is good for receiving new referrals and increasing hiring capacity.

  1. Enabling Data for Management: There are a number of tools and software specifically designed to help lawyers process, analyze and organize large amounts of data easily and quickly to streamline and streamline data management.

Lawyers today no longer have to rely on physical files and paper documents to access case information. They can have it all in the cloud.

Nor do they have to be guessing the profitability of a client or project: they can see, in real time, multiple indicators to facilitate management.

It would be unusual for a productive unit, such as a factory not to have technology to guide management through indicators. Firms are essentially production units: it should be equally unusual not to track key indicators. And this technology can also help.

Having data and metrics allows the lawyer to have full control of knowing how profitable the clients you work with are?

As we pointed out before, in this revolutionary context, the lawyer may choose to worry about the advent of new technologies. But this would not be particularly useful.

He can also, instead, take care of incorporating them. This is the path we recommend. Going one step further, we recommend taking this path with joy and enthusiasm: there are many aspects to improve in our way of practicing the profession. Not only for our clients, but for ourselves. We can have a more entertaining and comforting job. Technology is key to this.

If the paralyzing doubt is not knowing where to start, we recommend just starting. There is no silver bullet and the sequence is not that important. That is why we recommend first implementing simpler technologies that actually save us tens of hours, rather than more sophisticated tools. There will be time for that, but the key is to get moving.

There is no proven recipe, we are still in the stage of a lot of trial and error. But as long as the focus is on improving the customer experience and becoming more efficient, the lessons we learn from even our mistakes can be very valuable.

It is a revolutionary context, and as such there can be great rewards for those who move fast and come up with the right answers.

As Charles Darwin said, "it is not the strongest species that survives, nor the most intelligent ... but the one that responds best to change."

Photo by:   Mariano Werner

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