Despite the legal industry’s reluctance to fully embrace the technology, the legaltech market has grown rapidly. According Zion Market Researchit was valued at around $3,245 million in 2018 and is expected to increase tenfold by 2026. And once again companies in the industry will realize the value of technological advantages, others will follow suit as well.
But how do you skip cabinets full of folders and clumsy Excel sheets? Industry resistance to innovation has hampered growth, with disengaged teams lacking adequate training to handle modern software.
The best way to dispel doubts about going digital and cloud is by dispelling myths, showcasing the benefits, and sharing the steps needed for a seamless and effective transition. This way, law firms can confidently jump into the future of the firm, ready to reap all the benefits of using cloud computing software.
The cybersecurity conundrum
As in any industry that deals with sensitive information, data security is a top concern for any legal business. In reality, the feeling is more like keeping money under a mattress rather than in the bank for security reasons; even if cyber risks exist, there is always an effective solution to prevent them. Every software is ultimately targeted by cyber threats. Businesses and software developers are responsible for implementing their cybersecurity architecture and deciding how many security barriers they will run based on their product needs.
Legal software companies typically achieve certification by implementing policies that assure law firms that their cloud business is protected. Some of these certifications are ISO/IEC 27001 and ISO/IEC 27017. Antivirus, antispyware, and hardware firewalls are additional measures a business can take to protect its operations. However, rest assured that with security-certified software, the SaaS provider’s IT team will vouch for data security.
The security implemented by SaaS operating in the cloud also involves end-to-end encryption, encryption of data at rest (when stored on servers) and encryption in transit (when moving from the client to the provider’s server). Additionally, some SaaS run on the cloud through web services, such as Amazon Web Services, which provide them with a platform to run on. These cloud computing services also have security systems; therefore, a law firm‘s data is secured in several different layers.
Costs vs Benefits
Cost and return on investment hesitancy is one of the main reasons lawyers are hesitant to switch to legaltech.. Often practices prefer to stick with their old guns to avoid additional costs by using cloud-based software; however, knowing how the software will help reduce and control expenses is the trick. Although the market has slowed down after the pandemic, companies using this service have still reported 32% annual revenue growth in 2021.
The simplest answer to the cost/benefit dilemma is that the practice management automation tools used in legal software leverage artificial intelligence (AI). AI enables businesses to work more efficiently, avoid missing billed hours, and reduce time spent on repetitive tasks. Using automation allows companies to negotiate accurate prices, showing how long each task takes. So software spending will come back in the form of better time tracking, better billing, and more time spent on billable activities.
AI: the gift that keeps on giving
AI isn’t just about tracking hours and calculating bills. Another task it supports is document assembly, where personalized documents are generated by filling in basic information, making it an efficient process with little room for human error. And there are also benefits for customers. Automation boosts the customer experience as some legal software offerss customer relationship management (CRM) with self-service features. This way, clients only have to answer a few questions to complete a complete document.
Additionally, AI takes it a step further to save time and money with technology-assisted review (TAR). This subset takes advantage of machine learning (ML) to perform complex tasks, and developing these processes requires the help of a person who captures and regulates the information fed to them. For example, e-Discovery uses ML to find keywords in multiple documents, rank them by relevance to the case, and remove duplicates, saving hours and even days of work. It also handles tasks like extracting data from text, identifying errors, missing definitions, and legal pitfalls.
TARs rely heavily on predictive coding in ML and AI. Although still in its infancy, predictive coding also allows documents to be filtered by tone, context and concept in just minutes, saving lawyers from spending time reviewing endless files. However, this feature requires extensive tuning to work effectively, making it financially viable for only a few in Big Law. As technology advances, it will become more affordable for smaller law firms to take advantage of some of these options.
Make the change with little effort
As a preliminary overview, there are several SaaS solutions to choose from with different features and pricing tiers. Firms can take advantage of pricing based on their needs, thanks to the scalability and price range of legal software vendors, making them accessible to firms of all sizes. Similarly, providers should also be clear about fees and payment options depending on the services requested. After weighing these factors, law firms must make the right choice based on the appropriate providers and the size of the firms they assist. Switching should be relatively easy when selecting the most convenient option.
Most vendors offer a free trial, so the customer can test the product to make sure it meets their needs before even making a decision. Getting started with a SaaS solution should take a few hours to a few days— but no more than that.
A key point of cloud-based SaaS is that it does not require additional server hardware or in-house IT staff because SaaS provides these tools on the cloud, which saves businesses more expenses. These IT teams are not only there to deliver a product adapted to companies but also support them in the transition. The process can be difficult, so law firms must rely on vendors to help you every step of the way. Otherwise, the product cannot work properly, and the services that depend heavily on it will remain unsatisfied.
The benefits of SaaS for legal firms are numerous, and it is up to law firms to consider all of their options and choose the right solution. Legaltech continues to grow and evolve, and with it, new tools will take legal practice to the next level, making it easier for lawyers to work in any field.
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