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‘The Legal Tech Revolution: Assessing the impact of technology in the court room and in major legal firms

| Written by Altlaw

As Altlaw’s Information Security Officer, I recently attended a talk titled ‘The Legal Tech Revolution: Assessing the impact of technology in the court room and in major legal firms’, organised by The Professional Law Institute at The Dickson Poon School of Law, Nash Lecture Theatre, Strand Campus, King’s College London.

For those in the industry unable to make this event, I have given my main takeaways below.

This will be the first of my write-ups on the talks happening around London relating to the hottest topics in our industry which we feel will be helpful to our clients.

We all know that law is undergoing a revolution, driven in large part by the rise of technology. This lecture took a look at some of the current key developments arising in two very different legal contexts – the courts and some of the World’s largest law firms. On the panel were experts who are operating at the cutting edge of these significant developments in legal history:

·   Dr Victoria McCloud, Master of the Senior Courts, Queen’s Bench Division, Deputy Costs Judge/Taxing Master and ad hoc acting Admiralty Registrar

·   Ben Kent, Founder and Director of Meridian West, a professional services company helping professional firms to develop and implement client-focused strategies, co-author of the Professional Services Leadership Handbook

·   Michael Hanley, Head of Cyber & Information Security & Assurance/Deputy SIRO, Digital Architecture & Cyber Security (DACS) for HMCTS

Much of the discussion was based upon reality v the hype. We are living in a period of huge change and in the midst of a revolution in this area which shows no signs of abating.

Much like Altlaw, firms nationwide are embracing innovation, with 43% of law firms having a Head of Innovation at Partner level. It was shown that clients are leading this call for innovation with 58% of corporate clients preferring technology led solutions even if it means less facetime with advisers. It was said that the last two years has seen firms assess the lay of the land with the next 2-3 years being a crucial period of innovation in the industry.

It was said that there are a number of challenges regarding innovation, namely:

  • The staff are too busy with other tasks
  • Budget constraints
  • Do the members of staff have the necessary skills?
  • No formal processes in place
  • Firms are too adverse to risk

Far too many firms are piloting new technology but are stuck in the piloting phase. This is widespread.

What do the successful firms do? 

  • Have a long term vision
  •   Have relentless enthusiasm from leadership who trust staff and believe in them
  • Take a top down approach
  • Promote a culture that it is OK to fail trying new ideas
  • Involve clients
  • Start with the pain points- start a Pain Point analysis- where are we losing money, where are we ineffective, what is the immediate concern, etc.

Other discussions were made about what is expected to be the next advances of technology- dynamic court bundles for one, to enable a quicker search for the Judge. AI is expected to play a part in divorce proceedings to ‘take the ego out of the processes’. I am attending an upcoming talk regarding AI which will enable me to explore these points in greater detail in an upcoming article.

All in all, a very interesting evening. If you would like to discuss this further please do feel free to contact me directly. Additionally, please take our a look at our blog for more helpful content.