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The Unexpected Challenges to Adopting New Technology in Your Law Firm

April 16, 2020 (4 min read)

Legal technology can completely change the practice of law. But implementing legal technology into your law firm can have unexpected challenges. Indeed, incorporating law and technology into your practice can seem like a daunting task, especially if it means changing familiar habits and procedures. However, taking on the challenge to implement new technology into your firm can offer significant long-term benefits. By proactively embracing the world of law and technology, your firm can become more efficient, profitable and productive than ever before. 

What Is the Impact of Technology on Law Firms?

Legal technology is reshaping the legal practice at an incredible velocity. This includes online case management systems, filing, e-discovery, regulatory technology (which increasingly provides globalized compliance, monitoring and reporting solutions) and confidential email correspondence with the capacity to send large files. These novel solutions are powered by advancements in cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, analytical forecasting and cloud services.

As difficult as implementing new technology may be, your firm will benefit by embracing the systematic changes it brings. Take advantage of technology to pull key data from documents, sort through case material quickly with pinpoint searches and implement smart contracts into your legal work. However, technological adoption does not mean that you need to completely reface your entire operation. Be selective; use the technologies that work the best for your systems and leave aside the ones that don’t. Evaluate what activities are the most time-consuming tasks in your firm’s operations and start integrating technology as a smart investment fix. You will be pleasantly surprised at how successful a simple technological solution can be at improving a variety of tasks, management and organizational elements.

7 Common Challenges to Adopting New Technology

Technological adoption can seem overwhelming at first, but this is one clear way that firms can get an edge on the competition. Here are a few common challenges firms face when adopting new legal tools or software. 

  1. Large Time Investments
    Taking the time to invest in technology adoption often means time lost on casework. This is especially true with small firms and solo practitioners. But these types of costs are short-lived. After an initial investment period, most legal practitioners learn how new technology can become a time saver in the long run.

  2. The Risk of the Unknown  
    The short-term costs of technological adoption can lead to great long-term benefits, but nothing about the future is guaranteed. The time and energy spent learning and integrating a new technology should end up cutting significant costs in the short future. But be sure ro know what you’re getting into before committing to a new system.

  3. Technology Compatibility 
    Operationally, it may make sense to adopt different forms of technology to meet the demands of various components of your firm’s business model. However, your technological solutions should be compatible and capable of communicating and operating together. Take care to not limit your firm’s capabilities with incompatible systems.

  4. Security and Confidentiality
    Cybersecurity is growing more important as an increasing array of legal activities move to a digital format. As artificial intelligence and other advanced solutions become more common, they will become more suited to the world of legal confidentiality and client privilege. However, it remains your responsibility to ensure that your clients are protected. This can be easily addressed with effective risk management strategies.

  5. Managing Client Expectations
    As technology transforms all of our lives, you will find that more and more of your clients (and potential clients) will come to expect that you are up-to-date on the latest technology. Show your clients that you are not only a professional in your field, but that you have the knowledge and skills to best serve them with new legal technology.

  6. Keeping Up with the Competition
    Whether you like it or not, your greatest competitors are going to get a lead on your firm with better legal technology. Don’t fall behind the times by being resistant to change and to the positive impact of technology on law firms. Instead, embrace change and use technology as an opportunity to continue your education, make intelligent business advances and see tangible growth in your firm.

  7. Thinking Your Practice is too Small to Benefit from Legal Technology 
    There are tremendous benefits available for small law firms that take the time to properly vet and upgrade their online legal research technology. Whether you’re a small claims lawyer looking for a way to speed up drafting or a small business lawyer trying to keep a pulse on trends in other practice areas, upgrading legal technology can create huge benefits.

Keep A Pulse On The Latest Technology Trends

If your firm falls behind on the ebb and flow of enterprise technology, it can become very difficult to catch up. This is particularly significant when considering how likely it is that opposing counsel, clerks and judges are already using advanced forms of technology to make the legal system processing simpler and more transparent. Worried about how changes in technology will affect your firm? Check out our technology insights and trends.