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Achieving Digital Transformation in Law Firms

Achieving Digital Transformation in Law Firms

The legal industry, much like manufacturing, is lagging behind the power curve when it comes to adopting digital transformation in law firms.

And yet, a recent survey underscores the fact that many CEOs consider digital transformation a key component of success.

More importantly, they believe they have a short timeframe—about two years—to make the change before they’re hit with a significant setback in revenue or competitive ability.

This sweeping disregard and unpreparedness for digital awareness is a serious setback for slow adopters of transformative strategies.

Firms that refuse to advance their digital readiness by shifting worn-out paradigms are sacrificing competitiveness, agility, and revenue.

Law Firms are Unprepared for Digital Customers

In fact, according to research conducted by Gartner, only 19% of law firms’ in-house teams are ready to move forward with enterprise-level digital strategies

While a number of the largest law firms like LegalZoom and UnitedLex have made inroads toward capturing their share of the digital market, the majority of firms continue to operate with outdated principles.

Unfortunately, these firms risk being left behind—or unable to keep up with—the rapid accumulation and processing of digital information as technology evolves and advances.

The speed of business is rapidly changing, and the influx of digital information is on the increase.

As higher volumes of data become necessary at every level of business, law firms are struggling to respond using traditional working models.

Changes must be made at every level of business and across all models of operation in order to remain competitive.

In this way, a successful digital transformation in law firms will include the integration of not only high volumes of data, but also people at both front- and back-ends to respond appropriately to consumer behavior and provide customers with the best experience.

Why Failing to Meet the Demands of Customers is Crippling

And customer experience is the key to becoming—and remaining—competitive in today’s digitally-centered environment.

Customers not only expect, but demand, a positive digital experience—so much so that companies that invest in providing a positive customer experience outperform their competition by an astounding 80%.

Other significant statistics regarding the high value of customer experience include:

  • Superior customer experience brings in five to seven times more revenue
  • Nearly 73% of consumers tag good customer experience as an important influence for brand loyalty
  • Ninety-six percent of consumers consider customer service important when choosing brands
  • Companies with a customer-centric focus are 60% more profitable
  • Eighty-four percent of businesses working on improved customer experience find an increase in revenue—up to 8% higher than others in their industries

Strikingly, a recent study uncovered that 70% of consumers would rather use an automated online system or “lawbot” to handle their legal affairs instead of a human lawyer because of three important factors—cost, speed, and ease of use

Furthermore, one in every three potential customers would prefer their lawyer to offer digital services. This is compelling evidence that modern law firms must keep pace with digital trends or risk being left behind.

Why are Law Firms Resisting Change?

Simply put, the legal profession remains firmly rooted in the venerable traditions of old, including mountains of paperwork and traditional business practices that are often burdensome and stultifying.

With this emphasis on the institutional value of traditions comes a conservative attitude—and the accompanying resistance to change pervasive in this industry.

While the importance of managing change in business process can’t be understated, many law firms are resistant to embracing new technologies, citing lack of technical knowledge, skills or understanding; problems with organizational handling of change; and financial issues including direct costs and unknown return on investment.

However, there is hope as more lawyers acknowledge the challenges faced by firms wishing to digitally transform and take steps to address them with the help of technology specialists.

Law Firms and Cybersecurity

One of the most critical challenges—and potential barriers to digital transformation in law firms—is the consequences firms may run into in the event of a data breach.

Digital files are vital to a digitally progressive firm’s operations and must be produced, accessed, transmitted, and stored in order to contribute to increased efficiency and a healthier bottom line.

However, digital data has been at the center of most advanced cyberattacks, putting 39% of law firms on edge when it comes to managing sensitive information digitally.

Fortunately, a Tier IV data center—the most reliable and secure of all data center types for businesses—is a solid solution to law firms’ security needs.

With a power outage protection of 96 hours and an annual downtime of only .4 hours for an astonishingly 99.95% availability, Tier IV data centers provide optimal security for large amounts of sensitive data

Why Digital Transformation in Law is Inevitable

The question of digital transformation is more of a “when” as opposed to an “if” as consumer demand and the increase of technology in the business world make progress towards digital business processes inevitable.

Firms are discovering that embracing digital change can help modernize communications, automate research, simplify case management, and provide better and faster analysis of complicated documents and statements.

The more aware lawyers become of the opportunities afforded by automation and technology, the more willing they are to apply innovative digital approaches to meet customer expectations and fuel a number of changes that can positively affect the way they do business.

Takeways

  • Only 19% of law firms’ in-house teams are ready to move forward with enterprise-level digital strategies
  • However, consumers are demanding better service from the businesses with whom they interact, including digital access
  • Firms resist change due to lack of technical knowledge, skills or understanding; problems with organizational handling of change; and financial issues including direct costs and unknown return on investment
  • Security is a big issue for law firms but can be easily handled with Tier IV data centers
  • Slowly but surely lawyers are becoming aware of opportunities afforded by technology and becoming more willing to apply innovative digital approaches to meet customer expectations

Thinking it’s time to talk to someone about your company’s IT? Reach out to Impact’s Managed IT team and speak to one of our experts today!