In early 2020, the coronavirus crisis touched off an unprecedented level of innovation, speeding up changes already underway in the legal industry. Law firms proved eminently capable of handling flexible working. In the longer term, many firms see great opportunity in the transition. Yet in the immediate sense, the crisis revealed some clear winners and losers. What happened when companies resisted change? How did the winners handle the chaos? What do their combined experiences tell us about the future of law firms?
To respond to these questions, SOS Legal has published a succinct guide, detailing the strategic foresight needed by managing partners and project managers in today’s firms.
The Future of Law Firm Operations: A Guide for Future-Focused Firms examines the following:
The Trajectory of the UK Law Firm’s Evolution
Legal technology has been shaping the successful firm’s operations for several decades, pressing the legal sector irreversibly into the digital era. But not until 2020 were law practices forced to test just how far they had really adapted. They faced a trial by pandemic. Those that survived and emerged from the chaos have a more richly informed perspective. They are more forward-thinking, more innovative. They are also better attuned to the dynamic thinking of marketing experts, and the thought leadership prized in the marketing sector. As the legal sector evolves to encompass service delivery as well as legal expertise, its leaders are maestros of clarity, precision, and tone.
Surviving to Thrive: Case Studies
Legal staff members have a variety of professional roles, from facilitating international trade to making court appearances. Moreover, their home situations vary greatly. What business models can therefore be expected to rise in and around the legal services sector? Unsurprisingly in hindsight, a remote-first hybrid system proving most resilient.
- One firm took its existing productivity tools, then blended in SOS legal software with their solicitor’s accounts and case management files, shifted to digital letterhead and signatures, and became a full-service law firm for the digital era.
- Another made the transition by using SOS Connect for PMS & CMS, conveyancing, probate, credit control and Precedent H.
- Some of the UK’s biggest law firms quickly moved to reduce their office footprints and to blend remote working with central city offices.
These firms have survived to thrive since March 2020, generating excitement in their transformations.
Three Major Challenges
Law firms in transition rearranged three aspects of their business models: technological, operational, and people-related.
- Technological challenges. Before the hybrid workspace could feel normal, legal professionals needed to know how to set up the remote environment, with the proper furnishings and devices. They also had to find new data protection methods. As the LSE (London School of Economics) Business Review observed, data security problems spiked in the initial shift to remote working. Adept leaders have taken various measures to avert privacy and security breaches, leveraging artificial intelligence to identify computer users and control permissions. This guide for future-focused law firms offers a checklist to measure the UK law firm’s data security, intellectual property protection, and client privacy awareness.
- Operational challenges. Prior to the coronavirus emergency, efficiency was the UK law firm’s keyword. In the law firm of the future, resilience will be at least as valuable. Moreover, new protocols must address the exchange of documents and payments, file auditing, insurance decisions, computer use, network access, printing and scanning, scheduling, internal and external communications and more.
- Personnel challenges. What personality traits emerge as determinants of success in the agile workplace of the future? What rewards, recognition and team-building models best support employee engagement and collaboration, win client approval and grow revenue? The guide offers tips for creating an agile, flexible culture in which experimentation and constant improvement is valued and equipped for the new era of change.
How and why did SOS Legal create this guide, at this time, and with this structure? The SOS Legal team saw an urgent need for analysis of lessons learned in the crisis. In short, law firms need to examine the option for adapting today and tomorrow. The constant question for project management and senior management is: “What can we do better?”
Envisioning the Agile Law Firm
In 2020, the legal profession learned that functioning remotely is entirely possible. Agility in the face of chaos is the key trait of firms that continue to thrive. Learn why and how.
SOS Legal has delivered software and services to progressive law firms since 1987. Customised solutions from SOS Legal securely support the evolving legal sector, helping legal innovators to emerge as top-tier employers in future legal markets.