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How are UK firms responding to legal technology?

Posted by: Laurence Simons 06/01/17
It’s clear that firms can no longer ignore the growing prevalence of legal technology in the profession and The Lawyers’ UK 200: Business Services found that a number of UK based firms are leading the field in terms of research and development budgets.

According to the report, which this year focused on technological developments, an astounding 84% of respondents indicated that IT and technology-based investment had moved up the strategic agenda at their firm. While the idea of a standalone R&D budget or dedicated team remains largely in its infancy, it is clear that a number of firms are considering ways in which to foster innovation within their practice. While a number of firms indicated that they had appointed innovation managers and legal technologists, one firm even stated that they have “set up a separate IT R&D budget for the first time in 2016/17.”

A further 66% indicated that their IT-related investment budgets for 2016/17 are higher than last year, suggesting that both strategic and budgetary changes are taking place across the UK’s top 200 firms with regard to IT developments. Only 2% of all firms surveyed indicated that their IT budgets had decreased compared to the year prior.

The research also suggested that firms are seeing benefits beyond financial performance with one indicating “The use of communication tools has seen our engagement with clients increase. This has led to increased numbers attending events and in turn an increase in conversions. Our staff in addition benefit from the investment in IT, from the increased visibility, improved performance and productivity it brings, which in turn increases motivation and satisfaction levels.”

Another commented on the impact of technology on the flexibility of their staff; “Technology has cut down paper use and reduced the rekeying of information. We have also seen the firm’s flexible working initiative supported with iPhones and iPads, allowing our partners and staff to work regardless of their location.”

What is evident is that tech innovation is becoming an ever more important strategic priority for UK firms, and interestingly more practices are exploring ways to develop their own systems rather than relying solely on existing programmes.
Tagged In: Technology
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