Karlsruhe, 15 December 2022 – The digital transformation in the legal sector is unstoppable. This presents an opportunity to law firms and companies that are already in the process of digitalising their legal processes. Oliver Bendig, CEO of the STP Group, is going one step further. He sees a clear trend towards legal workspace as a service, including automation, AI-based processes and self-service.
Although only around 20% of the law firms surveyed in Deloitte’s most recent Legal Tech Report have employed automation technologies to handle routine tasks, the pressure for change is clearly increasing, not least because jobs are becoming more complex while also needing to be finished faster. In light of this increasing pressure, Bendig predicts six important legal tech trends for the coming year.
1. Legal Workspace-as-a-Service
That employees should be able to work whenever and wherever they want is increasingly becoming the status quo. The Covid pandemic was just one example of how crucial this requirement is for law firms’ financial survival. That’s why it is crucial to set up a law firm’s management in a way that ensure its employees always have access to the solutions they need, whether they are working from home, on the road or in the office. Cloud-based law firm solutions offer the best prerequisite for this. They not only enable location and time independent collaboration, but they also make it easier to save and share files. In particular, cloud solutions that are simple to use in a browser or as an app can best support the hybrid and networked work that is typical today. The advantage: Less loss due to friction in internal or client communications, as well as more transparency in complicated processes.
2. Legal operations
Law companies are currently going through a period of upheaval in which both organisational structure and technology are changing. Cases are increasingly not being handled by a single solicitor, but by a team comprised of data analysts, solicitor and project managers. This is due to the fact that the tasks are becoming increasingly complex and can be better managed by a team of specialists. Data analysis is also becoming increasingly important in this relation. If a company takeover is planned, for example, it is necessary to evaluate masses of data beforehand in order to be able to assess the takeover correctly. In addition, the takeover process must be planned, managed and monitored. To optimise this process, all this is done by the relevant specialists and then coordinated within the entire team.
3. Legal workflow automation
Without automation, a law firm has no future, especially since, according to the Legal Tech Report, solicitors take on too much administrative work in 69 percent of law firms. This makes it all the more important to automate the routine work in a law firm’s day-to-day business. Robotic process automation (RPA) has already established itself in many companies’ business processes. Now is the time to take advantage of this automation in the area of law firm work as well. With the help of automation, standard tasks such as registering new clients, filing documents and creating invoices can be completed more quickly.
4. AI-based smart contracting
There are already software solutions that help solicitors draw up contracts, a process known as ‘smart contracting’. Based on the solicitor’s specifications, a robot creates a possible proposal for a contract. Since this robot is based on AI technology and learns with every new contract, AI-based smart contracting provides a solid foundation for contract drafting and will make any solicitor’s life much easier.
5. Self Service Legal-Work
A self-service portal that makes it simple to access papers, files, and information encourages collaboration and gives everyone the greatest possible flexibility. This can speed up and improve the quality of solicitor-client communication. Documents can be viewed, shared and exchanged easily, thus minimising the complexity of legal procedures and making processes more dynamic. A legal tech self-service portal can be used to coordinate and handle all processes within a law firm, but also in exchange with partners, authorities and courts – from client set-up, communication and working time recording to final accounting. It is also possible to outsource standard questions or simple tasks by means of a virtual legal assistant (chat bot); this can free up time for solicitors and office staff to deal with more complex issues.
6. Legal performance management 2.0
Law firms and solicitors need to change the way they see themselves and start thinking entrepreneurially. They should use the possibilities of business intelligence (BI) to find out which tasks they spend the most time on, how time management can be optimised and which effort they can actually charge to the client. The regular collection of KPIs can help to identify tasks that waste time and make processes more effective. This not only creates better results and more efficiency, but above all to more satisfaction. This in turn has a positive effect on the working atmosphere, which is not an unimportant aspect in times of a shortage of skilled workers.
In general, digitisation in the legal sector is expected to reach the next level of maturity in the coming year. Digital transformation can be the decisive competitive advantage for law firms and can help legal professionals to work more efficiently and economically. The automation of routine tasks will increase, as will the use of cloud solutions or web-based self-service portals. Step by step, legal operations will become digitised and the resulting reduction in workload will allow solicitors and office staff to devote themselves to issues that are more important than completing administrative tasks.
The STP Group, with its headquarters in Karlsruhe, is a leading provider of legal tech complete solutions, which expedites the
digitalisation process for lawyers, insolvency administrators and notaries. The company offers a completely integrated legal tech
platform, featuring workflow automation, AI-based document management, ERP software, data management and specialised,
software-based outsourcing services. STP’s solutions are deeply-rooted in the legal advice, insolvency and business law
STP employs over 300 employees at locations in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Bulgaria and provides over 7,000 customers
with software and relevant services for their daily work processes.
Head of Marketing
STP Informationstechnologie GmbH
The Legal Tech Company
76135 Karlsruhe Germany