Peer to Peer: ILTA's Quarterly Magazine

Issue link: http://epubs.iltanet.org/i/1397188

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Page 48 of 84

S ure, the title is tongue-in-cheek, but there's more than a kernel of truth to the sentiment: the legal technology industry faces unprecedented change – and opportunity! – as society moves past the pandemic shutdown. The evolution of law firm legal services was underway pre-COVID, but the lasting effects of firms' embrace of tech-powered tools across all operations will most certainly accelerate the evolution of the service delivery model for years to come. We will not only see increased investment in technologies to enable this change, but also rightskilling and sizing of operations that can support lawyers' work from wherever they choose to be, with no notice. For firm managers, a wholesale reevaluation of resource deployment (real estate vs. backoffice) is crucial. Special consideration for flexibility and scalability is essential for this evolution to be effective and lasting. These fundamental shifts, long lingering on our collective "to-do" lists, are upon us and present unique challenges – and tremendous opportunity – for law firm technology and operations leaders. Ready or Not — COVID-19 Forced Change on Us All In March of 2020, many businesses around the globe went from primarily in-person operations to working completely virtual, literally overnight. For the legal profession, a storied industry that historically has relied upon face-to-face relationships and resources, the changes were profound. Those firms that had not begun to embrace tech-empowered tools and processes, suddenly found themselves flat-footed, forced to make radical shifts in how they conducted business. Indeed, technology leaders who had been advocates of upgrading systems and continually evolving service models, were able to transition their firms quickly and skillfully to remote workforce, client base and vendor pool. "Beyond all the bluster about working remotely, what the pandemic has accelerated is a growing awareness for lawyers to engage more deeply with their clients about their challenges. Client legal teams are under an increasing amount of pressure to deliver. Lawyers are seeing their clients' pain up- close and personal via video and are identifying opportunities to help clients automate and streamline both legal and operational processes," says Toby Brown, Chief Practice Management Officer at Perkins Coie. Meredith Williams, Chief Knowledge and Client Value Officer at Shearman & Sterling, said "Prior to COVID adoption of legal technology and innovation was similar to many other places: pulling people along in the journey and getting them to understand why changing the way we work would be positive. After March 2020, the pace "Client legal teams are under an increasing amount of pressure to deliver." 49 I L T A N E T . O R G

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