From an outsider’s perspective, the legal industry is caught up in multiple crises. Technology has advanced to the level where it is being touted that A.I. will replace 100,000 legal roles in the next decade. Additionally, cybersecurity threats in the industry continue to pose a grave threat to the viability of millions of practices.
If that wasn’t enough, there is a growing consensus that the legal industry has yet to embrace technological advancements as a whole. Clients expect modern law practices to accommodate next-gen technological elements that enhance security, safety, and the confidentiality of their personal data.
While it’s understood that the legal industry is not exactly a hotbed of innovation, there needs to be a change in how law firms operate if they are to ensure sustained success.
What Industry Leaders Need to Do
The legal industry reportedly contributed $288 billion to the national GDP in 2018—a $5 billion increase from the previous year. But in the face of increasing competition and alternate solutions, can the industry be assured about its future?
In the face of rising threats and the general advancement in technology, law practices are faced with a serious choice that could very well decide their future sustainability.
The future of practicing law as we know it may depend on whether the industry at large will oversee a shift in its perception of technology and acceptance of how I.T. can help law practices scale.
Here are three things that legal business leaders absolutely need to do to be able to succeed in the 21st century.
Gain Authority Through Niche Specialization
The legal industry is based on traditionalist values, and for good reason: most lawyers have never faced the types of stiff competition many businesses face, which forces innovation and more streamlined, intelligent work processes.Only recently, when technology came along and began to disrupt those traditional ways of doing things, have law firms been forced to look at new ways of doing things.
Modern legal automation software can now solve parking ticket woes, write wills, and sort out divorce details out. A.I. and machine learning have provided the expertise that was once garnered over a span of years, making it available with a few clicks or taps.
While this may be perceived as threatening, it is not. Technology is simply allowing lawyers that get caught up in repetitive, mundane tasks the chance to allocate their resources to more thought-provoking and “expert” tasks.
As technology continues to find new ways to streamline business processes, the need for expert and niche authority counseling will grow substantially in the future.
Fortify Your Practice Through Increased Security
Here’s an eye-opening fact: according to one study, 59% of all emails a law firm receive can be attributed
to phishing or spam. The past decade has highlighted the vulnerabilities that lie in the security measures taken by law practices around the globe.
Despite this very obvious threat, the industry-wide negligence towards better security is astonishing. The vast majority of law practices continue to function without a proper strategic policy that keeps a check on the growing risk to their data.
In fact, only 50% of law offices have any cybersecurity team at all—whether in-house or outsourced. According to another study, every two out three of law firms lack devoted information security professionals.
What’s more, industry surveys reveal that only 22% of law firms still display a complete absence of any process for dealing with a possible data breach. Less than a third have access to any official cybersecurity training programs, and only 40% have cybersecurity policies that are in documented form.There is a need for law practices to go above and beyond to ensure the confidentiality of the private and prized data entrusted to them by their clients.
Every mode of communication needs to be secured. From emails to mobiles owned by employees—every device holds valuable information, and it needs to be safeguarded.
Modern technology has equipped law practices with the ability to store data on secured cloud networks that eliminate the chances of physical theft. Additionally, policies such as monitored access and two-factor authentication allow only entrusted and authorized people access to private data.
Invest in a Plan “B” – as in “Backup”
When the legal industry is not grappling with cyber-risks and technological incompetence, their data is threatened by human error or natural disasters that are the reason for 32% and 31% of data loss, respectively.
According to a survey, 60% of organizations that suffer from data loss are forced to close down within six months of the disaster.
A law firm that experiences data loss is perceived to be unable to keep confidential data safe, which is one of the rules lawyers swear by. The loss of reputation and authority can take years to rebuild, which is why law firms should be proactive about securing their data against any error or crime.
Data backup and recovery options provide law practices the assurance of a protected data depository that can essentially give the practice a second life in the face of data loss.
Modern organizations are making use of hybrid clouds, which feature a host of storage and backup solutions that allow them to leverage the advantages for the greater good of their enterprise—and law firms should follow suit.
Technology has modified and altered the world we live in for the better. The automation and streamlining of core business processes have afforded much more time and resources for lawyers to specialize in their strengths.
Technology has allowed law practices to outsource business “maintenance” functions—including I.T. tasks such as server maintenance or network management—which consume time and effort that could be better spent on taking care of a client. Simultaneously, the security and storage capabilities warranted by advanced I.T. solutions are unprecedented in providing safety against modern threats faced by most law firms.
As one of the leading I.T. security solutions providers in the world, JMARK has equipped law firms with modern I.T. solutions that have helped them function more efficiently and effectively.