Observing the current state of legal tech is akin to watching the proverbial tail wagging the dog. Is new legal technology changing the way law firms do business? Absolutely. But are law firms also dictating the direction of legal tech? You bet. The two industries are actually involved in this symbiotic relationship that results in each one being a driving force in what the other is doing.
For the better part of the last several decades, we have witnessed technology being the driving force in the way our society does so many things. Take the smartphone for example. The vast majority of smartphone owners now use their devices to access the internet. But they were accessing the internet before the smartphone existed.
The internet did not give rise to the smartphone. Rather, the smartphone changed the way people access the internet. This is a clear case of technology driving a change in consumer behavior. But in the legal profession, it is not so cut and dried. Sometimes it is the legal industry determining the direction of technology. In fact, below we list three ways in which the practice of law is driving legal tech right now:
1. Better Client Management
Law firms in the internet age are struggling to maintain client relationships while still using legacy software and communication methods. They need something new; they need something better. As such, companies like ours have responded by creating cloud-based law practice management software that accounts for this new way of doing business.
NuLaw itself is built on the popular Salesforce CRM platform. Back when we started NuLaw, we felt that taking a CRM approach was the best way to ensure that law firms have the right client management tools to make the best of cloud-based software. The decision proved spot on.
2. Privacy and Security
Next, the legal industry has come to realize in recent years that the old ways of doing things present too many security risks. Locally hosted software that has not been updated in years is terribly vulnerable to data breaches. Without proper backup procedures in place, locally hosted data is ripe for corruption or complete loss. Once again, the legal sector needed something new.
The NuLaw law practice management software is based in the cloud. And thanks to robust improvements in cloud computing over the last decade, the cloud is one of the most secure and private environments in the cyber sphere.
3. Direct Investment
Finally, the legal sector is driving legal tech innovation through direct investment. We are starting to see a growing number of larger law firms investing in legal tech companies for the purposes of leveraging resources to improve their own practices. Simply put, firms are investing in legal tech providers in hopes that those providers will continue developing software that will directly benefit their day-to-day practices.
This third scenario is probably the most important of all. Those law firms willing to invest in legal tech will have a greater influence in how that technology is developed. They will be able to influence the legal tech industry to innovate in ways they otherwise would not for lack of knowledge about what law firms need.
It is clear that the legal tech industry is undergoing its own evolution right now. New innovations are leading to new technologies while providers are coming up with new law practice management software applications that are changing the way firms do business. In the end, we have a whole new dynamic in which the legal industry and legal tech are both pushing one another forward.