There is a boom in legal technology that’s changing the law is practiced in Canada. Learn how digital transformation is shifting how your firm should operate.
The legal profession has been slow to adopt the kinds of digital technologies that have disrupted nearly every industry. However, technical advances, innovative entrepreneurs and an evolving mindset among law firm leaders are changing how Canadian law is practiced.
Clio, the privately held company based in Burnaby, British Columbia, is a major player in the legal tech world. In January 2019, the software firm, founded in 2007, secured a massive $250 million investment in late-stage venture capital funding. That total is more than 10 times larger than the company’s previously largest venture funding, according to a recent Crunchbase article. The company itself claims the investment is one of the largest in Canadian VC history and largest ever in legal tech.
Crunchbase has noted that investments in legal tech are growing at a rapid rate, with $106 million in investments in January 2019 alone. Total investments in legal tech in 2018 soared to $825 million, compared to $305 million in 2017.
The legal tech industry is “underused relative to the potential demand in the end consumer base.” noted Amol Helekar, a principal at TCV, one of the major investors in Clio. “This is a vast industry that has been lagging in technology adoption and there’s tons of opportunity.”
Why Is Legal Tech on the Rise?
For much of recorded history, law clerks, newly minted lawyers, law students and paralegals have driven the drudgery associated with practicing law. However, new laws who are digital natives are pushing changes in their law practices.
Today, mundane legal tasks can be done using technologies such as artificial intelligence, with algorithms and programs that scan, identify and in some cases correct information. Predictive technologies can scan case specifics and project likely outcomes of cases and litigation.
Chris Bentley saw the opportunity first-hand while building Ryerson University’s Law Practice Program, an innovative training solution to help recent graduates use a virtual law firm space to learn how meetings and client interactions work. That work led Bentley to create the Legal Innovation Zone, a legal tech incubator housed at the university.
The incubator partners with leading law organizations around Canada and in the most recent fiscal year had members work on projects including legal aid in Ukraine, global family justice, youth access to legal services and a legal innovation boot camp. The results include:
- 208 new jobs
- 4,278 customers worldwide
- 56 products
- 58 services
- 154 process improvements
In total, 26 total and alumni startups have worked through the Ryerson incubator.
What Digital Transformations Are Occurring in Canadian Law Firms?
Law tech is changing the way law firms operate at nearly every level, including:
- Cloud Services. Legal professionals today need access and flexibility. Whether visiting with a client or the way to a deposition or hearing, access to files is critical. With cloud technology, files and folders can be accessed securely, worked on by multiple team members, and shared easily in real-time. Cloud technology also allows law firms to offer pay-as-you-go, on-demand services that expand revenue streams without adding significant additional overhead costs.
- Virtual Law Firms. Business no longer needs to be done in traditional brick-and-mortar buildings. Virtual meeting capabilities and cloud solutions allow lawyers and firms to collaborate from coast to coast while reducing infrastructure and travel expenses.
- Cybersecurity. In 2018, the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca shut down permanently following the Internet leak of more than 11 million client files. Technologies like blockchain and automation are changing the way records, especially those stored virtually, are accessed and used, curbing the likelihood of data breaches that can cripple clients and firms.
- Digital Discovery. Evidence and other data today come in many forms — written documents, emails, social media posts, text messages, calendar entries and voicemails. Legal professionals need to search through those myriad media quickly, thoroughly and precisely. Artificial intelligence and machine learning tools help to accelerate digital discovery.
- Improved Customer Relations. Customer relationship management (CRM) tools are standard practice in many industries. Today, those technologies are integrated with other legal tech tools to provide better customer management. Chatbots, online file access, case management solutions and digital storage keep clients informed, attended to and satisfied.
- Performance Assessment. Business intelligence tools and analytics make it possible to collect, analyze and report on quantitative and data about staff, caseloads and clients. These technologies can be used to predict outcomes and recommend whether to take on new business.
How Can Our Law Firm Prepare for Digital Transformation?
For your law firm to remain competitive, you need an expert technology partner. Compunet is Vancouver’s leading IT company for legal services. Our expertise in legal technology helps to ensure that your clients are well served, your data is available and protected and your solutions help improve efficiency and increase revenue. To learn more, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.