Firms Using Legal Technologies Like Never Before In 2020

Law firms and in-house legal departments agree outside counsel needs to increase the use of legal technologies to be more efficient. Bloomberg’s recent legal survey, done this year, discovered that three-quarters of in-house respondents expected outside counsel to increase tech use. The argument is that tech is not a primary factor in choosing which outside counsel one hires.

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Law firm respondents are more aligned with the in-house community on this question compared to last year’s results. 

In 2019, the survey revealed a 14% gap between in-house respondents and law firms, and 87% of in-house respondents said they expected law firms to increasingly use tech to be more efficient, while 73% of firms said their clients have this expectation. For 2020, law firms have gotten caught up on the issue, with 82% of them stating clients expect them to increase tech use to promote efficiency.

Three-quarters of in-house respondents said increased tech use is expected of outside counsel. About the same number of respondents, 73%, stated their legal department’s demands on outside counsel to show values have increased. While clients may have high demands with respect to legal technology, tech use is far from the top reasoning for in-house departments, while selecting outside counsel.

Personal recommendations and firm reputation are still the main reasons for hiring a firm. Fewer than one-third said integrating technologies was important, and only 2 in 5 respondents said innovation was important. This focus may change with increased attention to efficiency. In-house departments may begin requiring more information about tech use in legal matters to ensure cost savings through outsourcing and automation being realized.

This is a huge change from last year, as Bloomberg’s survey reflects that law firms better understand that legal technology is becoming even more of a necessity and that they may need to prepare for client demands’ to use more of it.

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