Business Models for Digital Disruption in the Legal Industry
Legal Technology, a competitive advantage for Law Firms
Legal technologies have come to the forefront as an essential element of competition among market stakeholders. Current research has found that automation technologies can make legal services more affordable and easily accessible to their clients. Additionally, law firms can leverage these technologies to develop and add alternative services, while reducing overhead and workload.
In the current and upcoming market, clients are putting law firms under intense pressure to deliver a higher level of service by making use of the latest technological advancements, all at a reduced cost. This generational shift in consumer expectation is an opportunity for legal service providers to implement innovative digital products that meet next-generation clients’ demands while increasing productivity within their own staff. In a nutshell, the proper legal technologies allow clients and staff online, secured access to pertinent case data 24/7, greatly reducing administrative overhead.
Legal Technology is defined as the application of technology and software to assist Law Firms in practice management, billing, big data, e-discoveries, predictive analytics, knowledge management and document storage.
Law firms such as Wise Legal Services, Rocket Lawyer, and Legal Zoom have implemented legal technologies that allow them to provide online services that include incorporation, estate plans, legal health diagnostics, legal document automation, practice management, document storage, billing, accounting, and electronic discovery.
Digital Transformation for Law Firms
Unfortunately, not all law firms have had successful use cases of technology. Therefore, it is imperative that the adoption of legal technology must be carefully analyzed and designed individually for each firm, considering the social, psychological, financial, and time/cost aspects. Failure to do so will yield frustrating results.
Digital transformation is at the forefront across all industries worldwide, leading to the implementation of novel business and delivery models for industries that require collaboration between the company, employees, and customers. In the legal sector, however, the biggest obstacle is the mindset shift required to move away from outdated business models to modern business and delivery methods currently expected from next-generation clients. Law firms will need to adapt in order to offer enough incentive to procure clients well into the future.
Businesses operating in the legal sector are expected to present innovative legal services that meet the following criteria:
A rich user experience that can be measured on its usability, aesthetics, and engagement.
An enhanced value propositions by delivering the promised services in an immediate and innovative way.
A roadmap for continuous improvement and cost efﬁciency.
Business models to enhance technology adoption for law firms
Legal technology is an evolving market, thus it is difficult to define a singular business model to span across all legal tech segments. Despite those challenges, recent researchers1 have developed a uniform business model for the legal industry based on five pillars: Service Value, Resources, Investments, Pricing, Finances.
Service Value: Value creation starts by assessing a client’s unique challenges, and to develop a service as a value proposition that will specifically address those unique challenges. The value proposition is based on value creation, making it crystal clear why they should do business with you rather than your competitors. In this model, Service-value creation is in the middle because it is a client-centric model.
Resources: The diversity of a firm’s resources increases its chances of success. The combination of lawyers and professionals with innovators and technologies reduces cost and expedites service delivery.
Finances: The financial structure of law firms should be based on a “sustainable profit” model. This is the ratio between the actual value and cost of delivered services.
Pricing: A firm’s pricing strategy should be based on output rather than input.
Investments: Lastly, law firms must invest in research to develop new sustainable ideas, processes, delivery models and technology in order to adapt to the complex and competitive legal environment.
What are the benefits of adopting a new business model?
- Technology in the legal field allows the firm to provide more cost-efficient services.
- Modern legal business models are client-centric, lawyer-friendly and more flexible in terms of opportunities for its employees.
- Technologies, when implemented following a clear and customized strategy, have a positive impact on the legal industry from the perspective of both clients and lawyers
- Legal technologies allow lawyers to innovate on their service offering, propose flexible prices to their clients, create partnerships with non-lawyers, facilitate delivery, offer flexible working hours to staff, and usher a model of sustainable profit ready to serve the demands of next-generation clients well into the future.
Reference: 1 Qian Hongdao, Sughra Bibi, Asif Khan, Lorenzo Ardito, and Muhammad Bilawal Khaskheli. Legal Technologies in Action: The Future of the Legal Market in Light of Disruptive Innovations. MDPI Sustainability Journal, 2019. Available online: https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/11/4/1015/htm