The 2020 trend of Zoom trials and Youtube court proceedings won’t end when the pandemic is over.
That’s because videoconferencing has become an essential aspect of litigation. As a result, in 2021 smart litigators will be making an even greater investment in videoconferencing technology and training.
And in the future, you can expect an increased emphasis on communication and collaboration software tools for every stage of the client experience from initial intake to the exit interview.
Those are two law tech predictions from a recent Clio survey.
“What will it take to be a successful lawyer in 2021?” according to this post on the Clio blog. “To find the most useful legal tech trends that lawyers need to know, we reached out to top industry technologists, lawyers, legal professionals, and consultants. We asked them this question: ‘What will be the most important legal technology trend for lawyers and legal professionals to follow in 2021?’”
Following are some of the answers.
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- Combine tech with Emotional Intelligence. “Technology alone won’t save the practice of law,” says attorney John Strohmeyer in the Clio post. “The biggest gains will be made by lawyers who integrate technology with human service to deliver the easiest experience for their clients.”
- The client communication bar has been raised. “The status quo for how we meet and communicate has changed permanently,” says legal tech entrepreneur Nicole Bradick. “If lawyers haven’t already pivoted to find new ways to engage with current and prospective clients, they need to do that.”
- Technology can bring your remote workforce together. “Many firms took a ‘just make it happen’ approach to collaboration, mobility, virtual meetings, and working remotely,” says Debbie Foster. “The opportunity now is to revisit the tools firms are using, and the training the legal professionals need to be able to leverage the technology, making the experience as good as—or better—than it was when everyone was in the office. The ROI for doing this right will be high and will benefit the firm for years to come.”
- Basic administrative tasks will be automated. “While less sexy than things like AI and blockchain, the legal industry remains bogged down by work performed by people that is better handled by good technology,” saystech expert Lori Gonzalez. “Any technology that changes the one-to-one model of lawyers to allow lawyers to serve a much larger market will be a game changer.”
- Stay connected with your clients. “2020 proved the importance of human connections,” says Kate Winkler, CEO of Ruby. “Consumers want quick responses to their concerns in a compassionate and empathetic way. To stay competitive, attorneys must always be ‘on’—available to answer questions, ease client’s anxieties, capture new leads—all while trying to manage their own lives. Attorneys can’t work 24/7, but websites and phone numbers do, so identifying a partner that can be there for your clients when you can’t, providing that empathetic voice, is going to be a critical factor in determining who survives and thrives in the coming years.”
- The 2020 tidal wave of technology adoption in litigation hasn’t crested. “The lessons learned this year will open the door for distributed, asynchronous legal proceedings and if done right, the positive impact on access to justice will be greater than anything we have seen before,” says Jordan Couch, “Many legal consumers who had been barred from justice due to financial, physical, intellectual, or even emotional barriers need not be barred in the future.”
Jay Reeves is author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World. He practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. Now he writes and speaks at CLEs, keynotes and in-firm presentations on lawyer professionalism and well-being. He runs Your Law Life LLC, which helps lawyers add purpose, profits and peace of mind to their practices. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-619-2441.