What’s driving innovation in legal services?

Discover the technology and talent shift that’s driving change in legal services.  

For almost every service we use today, we demand fast, effective solutions that fit our tech-driven lifestyles. And legal services are no exception. Shaking their reputation for sticking to tradition, law firms today are increasingly incorporating technology and data into the service they provide for their clients. Here we round up key innovations that are driving change across legal services.

The rise of 'invisible' legal services

Traditionally, an individual or business would hire a lawyer to provide a solution to a particular legal challenge. Phone calls, face-to-face meetings, and a big wait time for documents to be waded through were common characteristics. But now consumers are looking for a one-stop shop for both legal and other business services that’s fast, flexible and cost-effective. This is where ‘invisible’ legal services come in. Due to consumer demand, law firms are no longer operating in isolation from other services. The point at which a customer says ‘I’m hiring a lawyer’ is less obvious as legal services are being embedded into a wider scope of services such as financial and secretarial.

Technology has a key role to play here. In these new-look legal services, lengthy phone calls are swapped for in-app chat functions and key case updates are communicated through mobile phone notifications. Although tech offers an exciting opportunity for law firms to update their offering, there is currently disparity between how mature legal firms’ digital strategies are. Whilst some firms are using tech to remove the need for face-to-face meetings and even physical offices, others are implementing encrypted emails and online document storage. Some common ways cases are being handled more efficiently include the use of software to speed up the analysis of legislation and documents, as well as AI to auto-fill documents. At the top end, some law firms are implementing machine learning to decide if a new client is a good fit for the firm, by comparing details about them against existing clients.

Structural shake up

UK law firms face tough competition from US law firms' expansion into London and beyond – not to mention the Big Four accountancy firms’ own legal businesses. Traditional law firms are losing work to businesses that provide a digitalised, streamlined service for their customers. Increasingly, law firms are losing custom to Alternative Legal Service Providers like legal outsourcing companies and legal software and automation services.

To combat this, some law firms are making radical change with the introduction of tech-driven alternative business structures. Eversheds Sutherland, for example, are offering their clients legal managed services, corporate secretarial services, and assistance with financial services compliance. AI, robotics, document automation tools, and case management systems will be used to drive efficiency. To ensure the smooth integration of this tech, the company are employing new talent, including data analysts, regulatory consultants and project managers.

Broader talent scope

As the legal industry shifts, so does the demand for talent. The move away from less specialist services into a multi-disciplinary environment requires talent with a skill set that is much wider than law. New titles like Legal Project Manager, Legal Solutions Architect and Legal Innovation Advisor stem from this industry overhaul. Multi-disciplinary talent with strong project management and technical skills are in high demand to facilitate this transformation. These roles see people implementing innovative solutions to operational challenges across departments. Bringing skills in project management, data visualisation and process improvement, this talent imagines and implements new ways of working and new business architecture to deliver the ‘one-stop shop’ that customers now seek.

Today’s emerging workforce are well-equipped to support innovation in legal services. Having always lived in a digital world, their inherent understanding of technology means they are suited to driving technology change. At Grayce, we bolster this understanding with our Development Programme. Over three years, Grayce Analysts gain the accredited qualifications, training and career-coaching to support change in legal services and beyond. Using top graduate talent to support change programmes nationwide, Grayce provide a low cost, low risk way to solve organisations’ resource challenges. As well as addressing short term capacity challenges, Grayce help to build organisations’ capability with clear talent pipelines.

Grayce have been partnered with public and private sector organisations since 2013. Our growing Analyst Community are supporting cutting-edge change programmes in banking, cybersecurity, law, insurance, IT, retail – and much more. Working on industry-leading projects nationwide, our Analysts add value from day one and bring the adaptability that’s vital in the fast-paced world of transformation.

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