Digital transformation has become a norm for all industries, and law firms are no exception. Who could have imagined clients seeking virtual consultations or documents being managed in the cloud? The pandemic played a significant role in driving innovation in the legal industry. Gartner predicts that legal tech spending will increase by 200% by 2025.
Despite the numbers, statistics show that 70% of legal departments in the US still fall short of digital transformation initiatives. Factors like cost, apprehension, and lack of IT skills are the main reasons for delaying or avoiding innovation. As a law firm owner, you must realize the downsides of failing to adopt innovation. You may miss out on cost-savings, efficiency, and competitive advantage.
Fortunately, you can jump on the digital transformation bandwagon even if IT is not your law firm’s core strength. You may do it without spending a fortune on an in-house IT team.
This article explains some actionable ways to drive law firm digital transformation without in-house IT expertise.
According to Statista, legal tech spending increased from 2.6% of in-house budgets in 2017 to 3.9% in 2020. The number is likely to cross 12% by 2025. While the increase is significant, it is still a small part of the budget. That means you should spend your dollars wisely, no matter how attractive innovation is.
Starting small is the key to successful digital transformation when your firm is short on resources. Consider defining the goals and priorities of the initiative in the first place. These may include:
Once you define these factors and plan a budget, you are in a good place to start the journey even without in-house IT guidance.
IT outsourcing is popular in the US, with statistics indicating a market size of $525 billion in 2022. Collaborating with a reliable IT partner is the best option for law firms looking for digital transformation without hiring an in-house tech team. With managed IT services for law firms, potential solutions and guidance are available on the fly.
According to TRIIO, managed IT services can cover law firms on all fronts, from network configuration to cloud monitoring and management, business continuity, and helpdesk support. Legal businesses are prone to cyberattacks, so they should look for a partner with expertise in cybersecurity.
The great thing about working with a managed services partner is that you can rely on them to do the heavy lifting and focus on your core expertise. They can even provide customized solutions according to your needs and budget. Overall, working with a reliable partner translates into better customer experience and reputation for your law firm.
Although you may not bring in an in-house IT team for digital transformation, you still need to train and educate your existing employees. You cannot expect them to buy in and be comfortable with tech tools instantly. That becomes even more challenging when you have employees with minimal tech skills.
Be ready to invest in training your team to ensure they can use the technologies and tools effortlessly. Many vendors and providers offer training programs or resources. Alternatively, you can hire consultants or trainers for in-house workshops.
Employee training may seem a significant investment on the surface, but it pays back sooner rather than later. Successful law firm transformation requires buy-in from top to bottom, which is only possible with ongoing training and education.
Digital transformation is an ongoing journey for law firms because something better is always around the corner. For example, AI is ready to revolutionize the industry with higher efficiency, lower costs, and better outcomes. Data analytics is another example of a must-have innovation for your law firm.
The bottom line is that you should be ready to evaluate and adapt, even without in-house experts to guide you. Review your technology stack and performance metrics regularly to find areas for improvement. Your managed IT partner can offer valuable insights in this context.
You can also solicit feedback from employees and clients to understand their pain points and experiences. Furthermore, an agile approach can help you adapt and stay on top of the latest legal tech trends.
Law firm innovation is the key to survival and growth in the competitive legal landscape. However, most firms fall short of it because they lack in-house tech expertise.
The best piece of advice is to partner with a reputable managed IT provider and chart an actionable roadmap for your digital transformation journey. At the same time, be flexible and agile because your goals and needs may change with the evolving trends and client expectations.