Is Legal Innovation Mostly Just Cultural Change?
Many legal practitioners have become increasingly aware and receptive of the significant benefits to be gained from incorporating technological innovations, but the actual adoption of these technologies among law firms beyond the adoption of basic email and word processing functions remains relatively low.
In 2013 the Janders Dean Legal Innovation Index, found that most of the law firms and innovations that were recognised were largely cultural and managerial, rather than technological or rethinking the legal business model: ‘reverse mentoring, strength based approach to people management and innovation culture.

Fast forward to 2018, though the winning companies have increased the use of technology internally, much of the innovation remains cultural and managerial: cloud based management tools, contract templates, and AI to analyse client communications. Which begs the question, is legal innovation really just cultural change?

The legal industry has been stereotyped as largely conservative, which naturally would be at odds with the progressive qualities of innovation. This could be the justification for making cultural and managerial changes before technological changes. These changes which have already started taking place and will likely fully disrupt the legal industry. According to the Centre for legal Innovation, the biggest legal innovations will likely occur in the coming decade. Pointing out that ‘increased access to justice has already been achieved by Al chatbot, Do Not Pay, which achieves a 64% success rate for parking violation appeals.’

A leading legal innovator, Rajesh Srenivasan says, ‘Technology is not a means to an end but a catalyst and an enabler for legal process re-engineering’, so whilst the cultural and managerial innovations have their place, it is more important that before that the way lawyers think is challenged to be more innovative.

Many in the legal industry fear technology may replace jobs, reduce billable hours and replace or de-position firms in the legal marketplace. However, the benefit of innovation will be freedom from busy work that currently defines the day-day work of many legal professionals. Streamlining repetitive activities could allow lawyers to spend more time delivering higher value strategic and creative service to their clients (Maya Markovich, Nextlaw Labs).

So what can we expect in the #futureoflaw? 

The Centre for Legal Innovation Artificial Intelligence in Legal Practice Summit had some suggestions of what the #futureoflaw would be. The main questions asked were, how will the legal practice change? How can the legal industry change to meet the expectations of the clients and employees? Will the future be filled with self-service legal chatbots, automated documents and online courtrooms?

The main takeaways were:

  1. Lawyering occurs in the zone of bespoke advice, of humanity. AI can’t work in this zone. AI will be valuable for the low value routine work.
  2. AI that allows clients to formulate their problem before approaching a lawyer to improve access to justice
  3. The risk of not using technology is that it will not wait for law firms to catch up.

Our next event will be exploring this topic further, and discussing how AI can be harnessed by the legal industry to improve processes, achieve greater efficiencies and improve profitability in the delivery of legal services.

This free event is filling up quickly – secure your spot here:

We change the world not by what we say or do, but as a consequence of what we become.
– Dr. David Hawkins
For more information on salary trends, market updates and the general process in securing a role.
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