Law firms in a race against time: Embrace digital solutions or risk being left behind

As the banking industry leads the way in the shift towards digitisation, legal experts are warning law firms to prepare for a similar trend in their industry. Latest economic forecasts suggest that banks will vanish completely from high streets by 2027, with Halifax and Lloyds leading the way with branch closures. This trend is likely to extend to the legal sector, with law firm offices also disappearing as the industry moves online.

“Law firms must start exploring and embracing digital solutions now in order to stay competitive and meet the changing demands of clients,” says legaltech expert Rudi Kesic, CEO at Lawtech 365 Group. “Those who don’t adapt risk being left behind.”

Going digital brings many benefits to the legal profession including improved efficiency and cost savings. Innovative legal technologies and cloud case management systems such as Actionstep, and digital AML onboarding software such as Verify 365, can streamline processes, enabling law firms to handle a larger volume of cases while maintaining a high level of service.

“Digital solutions allow law firms to provide a more convenient and responsive service to clients, and also enable remote working,” added Rudi Kesic. “In today’s world, this is more important than ever.”

In recent years the legal industry has seen a growing trend towards the adoption of technology, but some traditional practices remain sceptical.

One of the most popular types of technology being implemented is cloud-based case management. These systems allow lawyers to securely access and manage their cases from anywhere, at any time, using a web browser. This not only improves efficiency and productivity, but also enhances collaboration and communication among team members.

Another area where technology is making a significant impact is in client onboarding and anti-money laundering compliance. Verify 365, for example, is a “client onboarding” technology platform that is being used by law firms and estate agents worldwide to eliminate fraud by verifying the identity of clients and their source of funds before they begin working with them. This not only helps to protect the business from financial loss, but also ensures that the firm is complying with legal and regulatory requirements.

Oliver Tromp, UK Director at Actionstep, said:

“The legal profession is facing a turning point: the shift towards digitisation is inevitable. Law firms that embrace digital solutions and cloud-based technologies will be able to adapt to the changing demands of clients, increase efficiency and reduce costs.”

As the world becomes increasingly digitised, the consumer in 2027 will be very different from the consumer of today. They will expect to be able to fully interact with businesses, including law firms, online. By implementing technology such as cloud case management systems and client onboarding technology, law firms will be able to meet the changing expectations of their clients and stay competitive in the marketplace.

The experts argue that the wider adoption of legal technology solutions in law firms will provide many benefits such as improving efficiency, productivity, and security. This is becoming increasingly important as the world becomes more digitised and consumers expect to interact with businesses online.

It is inevitable that more and more law firms will close their branches and the legal industry will face a significant shift in the way it operates. This trend is expected to have far-reaching consequences, both for the firms themselves and for their clients.

Suezanne King, Partner at SMQ Legal LLP in Oxfordshire, said:

“The legal industry is going through a digital transformation, and SMQ Legal have completely changed the way we work. For example, we are now offering ‘virtual consultations’ and other digital-first services such as e-payments and e-signatures using legal apps such as Lawyer 365. This makes it easier for clients to access and pay for our legal services, regardless of whether there is a physical branch nearby.”

In a revolutionary shift for the legal sector, more and more innovative technologies are emerging, including the recently launched DynamicID® for biometric client identity checks, and MyID® blockchain digital identity, both by Lawtech 365 Group, which are set to change the way lawyers, accountants and estate agents verify clients in the future. These technologies are expected to play a significant role in the future of regulated sectors.

“Our latest software – DynamicID – uses the most advanced biometrics and NFC technology to enable law firms, conveyancers, and estate agents to verify the identity of their clients as part of Verify 365 client onboarding journey, using instant ID verifications and AML checks, relying on our proprietary facial recognition biometrics software, that provides a secure and efficient way to confirm client identity. Similarly, we’ve recently launched MyID, utilising the latest blockchain technologies, which allows for the creation of a secure “digital identity” for clients, enabling them to access and pay for legal services with greater ease and convenience,” said Mev Dzihic, Director at Verify 365.

The integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the legal sector is also expected to have a major impact. AI-powered tools such as natural language processing and machine learning can assist lawyers in tasks such as document review, research, and case management, allowing them to work more efficiently and effectively. These innovative technologies are not only expected to improve the way legal services are provided, but also to make them more accessible to a wider range of clients.

In another major development for the legal industry, a new app called Lawyer 365 has recently been launched offering virtual and on-demand consultations for clients. This innovative technology is believed to be the first of its kind and is poised to revolutionise the way legal services are provided.

“Lawyer 365 is a legal app that allows clients to schedule virtual consultations with lawyers from the comfort of their own homes. The app is designed to make legal services more accessible, efficient, and convenient for clients,” said Azeem Rashid, Director at Lawyer 365.

Clients can access the app on their smartphones or computers and schedule appointments with lawyers in a variety of practice areas. The app also has a built-in payment system, enabling clients to pay for services directly through the app, making the process more seamless.

Apps like Lawyer 365 are seen as a breakthrough for the legal industry which is facing increasing pressure to adapt to the digital age. As more and more people turn to the internet for information and services, apps like Lawyer 365 are expected to play a big role in the way legal services are delivered in the future. The technology is designed to meet the growing demand for virtual legal services and is expected to help make lawyers more accessible to a wider range of clients.

When e-signatures first entered the legal market years ago, the complex and time-consuming task of signing contracts, getting a loan, or applying for a mortgage was expedited, saving companies time and money, mobilising workforces, and improving customer experience. This resulted in happier, more loyal customers – both great things for business. In general, e-signature platforms allow clients to sign and execute legal documents electronically, from anywhere, at any time. This eliminates the need for clients to physically visit law firms to sign documents, saving time and money for both the firm and the client.

“eSign 365 provides a secure and legally binding way to execute documents, with features such as tamper-proof signatures, audit trails, biometric ID verifications and automatic compliance with e-signature laws. Our solution can be integrated with other legal technologies, such as case and document management systems, making the signing process more efficient and streamlined,” said Lee Burrows, Director at eSign 365, which is part of the Lawtech 365 Group. “eSign 365 platform is expected to be a game-changer for the legal industry in the future, making legal services more convenient and accessible for clients while also increasing the efficiency and profitability of law firms.”

However, it’s important to note that not all clients are comfortable with technology, so it’s important for firms to find a balance between offering virtual services and maintaining a physical presence in the community.

“The legal sector will continue to evolve, and it is essential for law firms to stay ahead of the curve and embrace the latest legal technologies in order to remain successful and competitive in the marketplace,” added Rudi Kesic.

The trend of law firms closing offices is likely to have a significant impact on the legal industry, both in terms of the way firms operate and the way clients access legal services.

It remains to be seen how these changes will play out in the long term, but it is clear that the legal industry is facing a period of significant transition.

This article was submitted to be published by Verify 365 as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Conveyancer. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Conveyancer.

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