The changing face of the legal industry; driven by technology

    The legal sector is on the brink of change. Digitisation in all its forms; Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and automation are knocking at the door, the future of law looks very different and it is time for the sector to respond.

    Dubbed the technology revolution, digitisation is altering the very fabric of the way in which legal services are delivered. The once dominant model of face-to-face, consultative services delivered to clients in solicitors’ offices is being replaced by interactive, online products and services and solicitors need to do away with cottage industry thinking and re-invent the way in which they deliver legal services to meet the needs and expectations of today’s clients.

    Technology has been shaping the legal sector rapidly, lawyers are now advising on the legal dimensions of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, block chain and data analytics.

    Technology is ever-changing, now legal services are being delivered with the use of interactive platforms, document automation, e-discovery, online dispute resolution and the development of online courts. The fore runners for future success are those in legal tech who have been able to innovate and disrupt the conventional practice of law.

    The advance of technology and digitisation in the legal sector has opened up wider opportunities within law firms. Job roles which did not exist a few years ago are appearing in many of the most forward thinking firms who recognise the importance and impact of advancing technology creating an alternative career path for lawyers. For example, Freshfields now have Legal Innovation Officers, roles specifically created to keep abreast of the digital revolution.

    In an ever-changing legal marketplace new roles are likely to emerge in legal project management, legal management consultancy, legal programming, and legal technology. It is hard to predict how radical the transformation of the industry may well be, however it's vital to interact with and be part of the growing legal communities discussing digital innovation.

    Law firms are recognising the importance of innovation as a way to leverage technology to deliver improved, more efficient legal services and this will modify the future of legal practice. Lawyers must change the traditional mindset and be adaptable and open minded. It is now not enough to simply know how to practice the law- this must be combined with the skills to understand how technology can be used to deliver legal services and being aware of developments within the global legal market place.

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