By Stephen Izatt, Managing Director of strategic branding and campaign agency Thinkfarm
The legal world has been slower to take up tech advances than many other sectors, largely for ingrained cultural reasons. But we’ve seen considerable progress recently thanks to the new ways of working demanded by the pandemic.
There’s been an acceleration in the adoption of professional digital services that take over routine processes, saving time and freeing up inhouse counsel for more strategic roles, thus boosting efficiency and increasing turnover and profitability.
As with so many industries, lockdown necessities have shown that it’s the tech-savvy firms that will reign supreme in light of the continuing challenges that lie ahead.
The pandemic has forced many lawyers to rethink how they do business. Agile and remote working, artificial intelligence, video-conferencing tools and other tech innovations were changing the landscape anyway. The pandemic has only served to heighten that transition, and more law practices are upgrading in order to drive efficiency and futureproof against further scenarios.
We’re going to see more practices play catch-up over the coming months and years, so there’s an opportunity for legal-tech companies to position themselves to take advantage.
Despite these seemingly advantageous circumstances, it’s not an easy sell. There remains a degree of reticence and there’s still much convincing to be done. According to a recent report by The Law Society, law firms are under increasing pressure to adopt legal-tech, with the rewards for doing so ‘potentially huge’, but the profession has been slow to embrace systems that would radically change legal services.
There are all kinds of reasons for this, according to The Lawyer, the monthly publication aimed at professionals working in private practice, in-house legal departments and at the Bar. Among them, centuries-old workflow processes and a face-to-face culture, mixed software proficiency, concern about breaches of data and client confidentiality, traditionalism, and a general distrust of modern tech processes.
For those legal-tech brands wanting to gain traction, winning trust has to be a major focus if they’re to persuade professionals in law to make the move to a more tech-focused model. It needs to be positioned as complementary, not a threat to respected professional methods. If you’re to encourage a largely old-style industry to embrace your offer, you need to build confidence, demonstrate total reliability, and show that what you’re offering will help them move forward.
It’s about what a legal-tech platform can actually do for the customer. That’s important because you can’t build trust on vague promises – especially in a world populated by critical thinkers.
A well-thought-through brand strategy will help people see the real benefits and understand how a tech tool can help them in a meaningful way.
We’re only going to see legal-tech take-up increase as the sector responds to modern ways. What legal-tech brands need to do is ensure they’re positioned to make the right kind of impact. One that demonstrates efficacy, reliability and trust, enabling the ushering in of a bright new culture.
In the next instalment, Stephen Izatt talks about how brand strategy and creative campaigns can win round the law community when it comes to embracing legal-tech