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According to Forbes, “Law is among the slowest industries to adopt new technology.” (Anecdotally, this is a widely-held opinion.) A global health pandemic forced the legal industry to quickly adapt to remote work and adopt new technologies. An Above the Law article from 2/11/2021 stated the legal “profession has indeed reached a tipping point and that many aspects of the practice of law, ranging from how and where work gets done and the footprint of law firms, will look very different on the other side of the pandemic.”

Legal Technology Changes During the Pandemic

In addition to the widespread shift to remote work during the pandemic, law firms also adopted other new technologies. Wolters Kulwer conducted a survey in 2020 called, “Impact of the COVID Crisis on the Legal Sector,” which found that law firms are most interested in investing in technologies to assist with:

  • e-signature: 63%

  • e-meeting and e-voting management: 46%

  • document and contract workflow management: 40%

  • workflow management and process automation: 34%

  • analysis of regulatory and case law trends to predict results of claims: 32%

The survey also found that 66% of law firms reported “that their investment in legal solutions will stay the same or increase moving ahead.”

Easing the Tech Transition Post-Pandemic

Forbes offers the following three suggestions to “ease the transition” for tech adoption going forward:

  • change management — creating a technology-embracing environment among staff

  • focus on user experience

  • prioritize security

In addition, Wolters Kluwer emphasizes the importance of “[c]hoosing the right tech partner to facilitate the new normal in law firms,” and offers “essentials to look for” in a tech partner for data security, case management, automatic document creation, document collaboration, and meeting management.  

Conclusion

There is no doubt that the legal industry has made unprecedented strides in technology adoption over the past year, but only time will tell if these changes represent a starting point or an ending point.