How Legal Tech is driving the digitization of legal professions

alf article 19

In the digital age, and particularly as regards artificial intelligence and robotization, the world is evolving at a fascinating pace. Just think: the very first email only recently had its 50th anniversary!

There’s another figure that can illustrate this trend: According to a study published by Dell and the Institute for the Future, 85% of the jobs of 2030 have not yet been created.

Such transformations also concern the legal and financial professions. Whether you are a business lawyer, an accountant, a financial director or a notary, it is important to anticipate the disruptions brought about by Legal Tech.

But what exactly is Legal Tech? How will accounting and law firms have to adapt to this digitization of their profession? How will it change their missions over the long term? Let’s take things one by one.

What is Legal Tech?

Before seeing how professions such as accountants or lawyers are digitizing with Legal Tech, let’s have a closer look at what it’s all about.

Legal Tech, a.k.a. “legal technologies”, is a term that emerged in the United States and the United Kingdom in the 2000s, referring to technologies put at the service of the law. These aren’t necessarily bleeding edge technologies, as some are quite old and have simply not yet been exploited for productivity in the legal profession.

Still, we must note that more disruptive technologies are now emerging with the development of artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies.

The type of services and technologies provided by legal tech can thus vary greatly and respond to a variety of issues. But productivity gains are almost always an essential component of legal tech.

Here are some examples of services that can be addressed by digital and new technologies:

  • searching for legal documents,
  • storage and automatic generation of legal documents,
  • electronic transmission of documents during proceedings,
  • connecting with external parties via a platform,
  • analysis of contracts and data,
  • analysis of court decisions for predictive purposes,
  • the creation of automated scenarios,
  • the creation of legal chatbots…

Legal Tech can be used in both the B-to-B and B-to-C sectors.

Many recent evolutions seen with these new technologies concern ease of use. For example, it is now possible to integrate complex automated scenarios without touching a single line of code.

But in a more or less distant future, these technologies could have a more profound impact on legal professions. For example, there is already software that calculates the probability of winning a judgment and with what indemnities. Some chatbots have already been created to answer basic legal questions. And in a few years, these bots will probably be able to answer much more complex questions.

Worry. That could very well be the first reaction that a lawyer or an accountant has when thinking about the arrival of these new technologies.

Will digitization and artificial intelligence make these professions disappear?

Today, in France, for example, a lawyer’s main competitors are the 65,000 other lawyers in the country (=1 lawyer per 1,000 inhabitants).

Given the competition, legal tech is often an incredible opportunity for accounting and law firms that are already integrating these changes into their organization. It is a differentiating element that you can use wisely compared to other lawyers or accountants in your area. Above all, it is preferable to prepare now for irreversible changes rather than swimming against the tide and trying to continue using a “traditional” way of working.

But in the long run, that big question does need to be addressed. Because while the short-term evolutions brought by legal tech mainly concern organizational changes and optimization within a firm, in the long-term, these changes will eventually strike more deeply at the nature of these professions. This is why it is important to start thinking now about the evolution of the legal and accounting professions, when the need for expert support and advice will continue to grow.

Thus, if it is obvious that the digitization of the legal and financial professions will disrupt these activities, there is a big opportunity to positively change the legal ecosystem. But in order to succeed in this transition – which will happen no matter what – we need to prepare for it.

Legal Tech boosting your clients’ satisfaction

If properly deployed, integrating these new technologies will primarily serve the end client.

Indeed, one of the main benefits of legal tech (at least in the short term) is the amount of time and productivity gain it can give back to legal professionals.

Here are some examples of productivity opportunities that a platform like Alf can bring to your firm:

  • Automate up to 80% of time-consuming and low-value-added tasks,
  • Reduce validation time between the different parts of a file by 60%,
  • Reduce time spent on drafting documents by up to 90%,
  • Minimize redundant phone and email contacts through the use of a single, shared platform,
  • Facilitate internal research and thus make all employees more efficient,
  • Make knowledge sharing more efficient

On average, a service like the one offered by Alf frees up one day of work per week. This can help you reinvent your services and bring more added value to your clients, such as by developing your consultancy services.

In this way, you will become a pioneer in your field of activity, while also preparing yourself for structural changes in your business over the longer term.

A firm that has already made the switch to digital is more profitable

This is true for both your communication and the organization of your firm.

The most profitable accounting and law firms are those that have already integrated digital processes.

The productivity gains offered by legal tech will help boost your profitability while preparing your missions for tomorrow.

Don’t forget that the technologies provided by legal tech are not intended to replace the lawyer or accountant. But it is clear that clients’ expectations of these professions will change in the years to come. It is only by preparing yourself today that you will be ready for the transformations of tomorrow.

If you are not familiar with technology, don’t panic. The majority of solutions deployed within legal tech today require no technical knowledge and or coding on the part of the end client.

The legal and financial professions will greatly evolve in the long term due to their digitization and the automation of many time-consuming tasks. Of course, this kind of evolution is happening in virtually all of today’s professions, regardless of the sector.

Nevertheless, in the short term, legal tech is already a reality. And it is also a great opportunity to gain in productivity and to increase the added value brought to your clients.

It is now possible to create automated scenarios that allow accounting firms or lawyers to complete a task in record time.

How can we use these new technologies to help these professions re-invent themselves and bring even more satisfaction to their clients? How can you prepare for the longer term developments that new technologies will bring to these professions?

The first element of the answer we have provided is advice and support. Re-investing the time saved on time-consuming and low-value-added tasks by replacing them with better follow-up and more consulting support is certainly a good idea.

We hope this article has helped you move in that direction and better understand the challenges ahead for lawyers, accountants and other legal professionals.

If you’d like to learn more about the opportunities Alf can bring you, request a full demo of our service.

We’ll be happy to show you how our customized workflow platform can help increase your productivity and efficiency.

A lawyer for 20 years with international law firms and worldwide companies (Canal+, PwC Legal, Nomos, Amazon), I’ve had the experience on the inside: too much time wasted on regularly monitoring recurring tasks linked to files, with low added value. Alf, the first workflow automation platform for the legal files, was designed and developed to respond to this critical problem. Customizable, collaborative and accessible in all languages, Alf is also part of a GreenTech approach that encourages responsible innovation by reducing your carbon emissions. — Sabine Zylberbogen, Registered lawyer and Founder

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