2020: What we expect for the legaltech area

The advent of Legaltech is already happening.

Law firm investments in legatech increased from $ 233 million to over $ 1 billion in 2018 and continue to grow. 2019 will probably be the best year ever, and the predictions are encouraging. However, I don’t expect big news in technology in 2020. I don’t think new disruptive technology will appear, I believe it will be a period to implement and develop new tools based on what already exists.

The first of the most popular trends in legal technology is artificial intelligence. The importance of AI in the legal field is increasing exponentially. Perhaps more theoretically than practical because most software already uses AI, but lawyers don’t have a perfect idea of how to adjust and tap from its numerous advantages in their activities. Also, by 2020, I believe that law firms and legal departments will begin to look more focused and committed to their internal processes and then want to develop custom software for the most critical aspects.

At this stage of Legaltech’s maturity, the software offering is still limited, so adapting offices to SaaS is possible in a small law firm but very complex in a larger office because the number of procedures and lawyers increases exponentially. Tailored development can be an important solution.

By 2020, I believe that the big focus of small law firms will be on automation using legal document generation software. This task takes up a lot of time for lawyers, they must start optimizing their time, which is spent mostly on non-billable tasks.

In certain areas of law, there may be progress in the area of ​​analytics and the ability to find the legal information needed for a procedural strategy and significant enhancement of E-Discovery software as new techniques using the technology already mentioned will allow for much scrutiny — greater and more efficient information.

 

Customers are beginning to demand lower hourly rates. And without saving on unlawful administrative tasks, many offices will begin to have trouble retaining their customers, especially with the trend towards market liberalization and potential competition from online legal services.

Another important focus will continue to be cybersecurity. Information security has been of great importance in the legal sector and will begin to reach smaller offices and individual lawyers. Clients are increasingly demanding professional secrecy, and a data leak can be very negative for lawyers and the trust their client’s place in them. Several law firms are already ISO27001 certified and have annual cybersecurity audits, but I believe that standardization and cybersecurity testing will be indispensable for law firms to build trust in the client.

Internally, law firms and departments will continue to implement agile methodologies in their processes, seeking inspiration from technology startups and developing a legal case as something. Some offices may bet on startups rather than building in-house technology units or even nearshore development.

As noted above, there is a lot of pressure for legal services to be liberalized, and we see in some more liberal countries that the use of online legal services through technology intermediaries and platforms is starting to gain momentum over Order and to the government. These public bodies will be required to negotiate, learn and understand these new concepts.

So, if you’re a lawyer with little digital presence or skill, don’t worry that you haven’t lost the momentum, even the simplest digital transformation can lead to increased process efficiency and customer service that can drive your office to a higher level.

The exponential increase in law and technology courses, workshops, and training will likely provide the basis for this new reality. Try to learn by 2020.

AI, Blockchain, Analytics, Big Data, Automation are extremely interesting but not essential topics right now for your failure or success. Start preparing for your future, open your mind and look for experts to help you make the decision.

Note: This is not a study, it is a personal opinion that only binds its author.

 

Gonçalo Piriquito

Managing Partner of Legal Walkers