Top law firms are leveraging AI to accelerate internal processes and drive recruitment, revenue, and business development

Introduction

In recent decades and especially in the past year, AI applications such as digital databases, automated research, and chatbots have exploded in popularity in the legal industry. According to Legal Tech News, 2020-2021 marked record rates of technology adoption by legal services providers, primarily out of necessity. The pandemic gave law firms an ultimatum: innovate or be left behind — and many rose to the challenge.

Today, over a year into stay-at-home orders and social distancing mandates, top U.S. law firms are focused on “digital transformation”: the process of integrating digital technology into all areas of an organization.

Digital transformation streamlines a law firm’s business processes and aggregates previously un-or-under-utilized data. In terms of useful applications, it can improve risk management, increase on-time project delivery, facilitate remote work (especially important during a pandemic), and more.

The cutting edge of digital transformation centers on artificial intelligence (AI). Once firms streamline business processes and establish data-capturing systems, they can use AI to automate their processes as well as aggregate, distill, and harvest insights from their data.

In late 2020, Synaptiq launched a rapid research initiative to analyze AI-led digital transformation in the legal space. This blog will explore our findings regarding the specific applications of AI-led digital transformation for law firms, including the key market drivers that these applications address.

Read on, or download our full research brief for more information.

1. Rising Client Expectations

Compared to other industries, legal has been slow to embrace innovative technologies like AI and machine learning. Consequently, clients accustomed to high-tech service providers like Netflix, Amazon, and Uber may find their expectations undershot by under-digitized law firms.

The solution is AI-led digital transformation. Applications like automated document processing allow law firms to offer high-efficiency, personalized services, bringing them up to par with organizations in more modernized industries. Plus, legal’s widespread under-digitization means a significant competitive edge for law firms that do digitize.

2. Demand for Fixed-Fee Pricing

In addition to rising client expectations, another market driver advancing AI-led digital transformation in the legal industry is the demand for fixed-fee pricing. Clients are no longer satisfied with per-hour billing systems; recent decades have seen a significant push toward transparent and fixed-fee pricing for legal services.

Digital transformation can help firms (1) quantify the cost of delivering specific services, and (2) optimize their business processes to maximize profit on a fixed-fee basis. Applications like automated time-and-task-tracking eliminate the guesswork involved in billing, while other applications, such as automated research, raise efficiency to increase profit per hour.

3. Digital Collaboration.

New digital platforms offer shared project and document management, allowing collaboration between law firms, legal professionals, and clients — even over long distances. However, firms must undergo digital transformation to take full advantage of these platforms. Otherwise, they risk disorganization, with employees lacking digital technology training and data spread out between on-paper and online storage systems.

4. Technology-Focused Young Professionals.

Securing a firm’s future means attracting and retaining new talent, and law school graduates today expect top-of-the-line technology to stream and improve their workflows. Consequently, digital transformation is a crucial element of any firm’s long-term growth plan. Without it, traditional firms will lose young professionals (the future) to more modernized, digitized competitors.

The Most Important Takeaway

Digital transformation is taking off in the legal industry — not least for the reasons listed above. Law firms should invest now, or face an uphill battle against modern market drivers.

To learn more, download our full research brief.

About Synaptiq

With over 50 clients in 20 sectors worldwide, Synaptiq is a full-scale AI consultancy delivering impactful solutions with applied machine learning and vision, natural language processing, and other data-driven techniques. If you are a law firm looking to explore digital transformation, we can help you unlock the power of AI and data science. 

For more information about Synaptiq, please visit www.synaptiq.ai

Additional Reading