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Technology to be a game changer for law firms

'Firms will succeed or fail' on how well they use technology in future, survey finds

7 February 2014

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By Manju Manglani, Editor (@ManjuManglani)

Technology will change the way that law firms operate in the next three to five years, a Managing Partner survey has found.

Almost all respondents (97 per cent) said they expect technology to have an impact on law firms, but opinion was split over whether the impact would be moderate or high.

A similar amount (95 per cent) said they plan to invest in technology in the coming year. Nearly half of respondents said their firms plan to increase their technology budgets compared to last year, while just over a third said they would spend the same amount as last year.

"Everything a law firm does in delivering its services and how it does this is underpinned by technology," commented Gerard Neiditsch, CIO at Allens Linklaters in Australia.

"Some aspects of IT will become commodities, others enablers of a competitive advantage (when combined with significant work practice changes)."

His colleague Maryjane Crabtree, executive partner of practice, also noted that "increasing demand from sophisticated clients for value and certainty in pricing and efficient delivery of service will require increasing support from a stable and intuitive IT system, and full engagement in its use by the workforce."

"Firms will succeed or fail on this factor more than any other," she said. "Using technology to support an increasingly mobile and flexible workforce will also be a key marker of firms that succeed."

Automation of generic tasks was highlighted by several respondents as a game changer in the next three to five years.

One partner at a national Canadian law firm said that investment is currently being made in automation at his firm. "We are going to automate more systems and get involved in more document automation," he said.

Nearly half (45 per cent) of respondents said they are thinking about changing technology suppliers in the coming year, while a further quarter (24 per cent) said they are planning to do so.

Managing Partner's legal technology survey was conducted between 21 January and 4 February 2014. The results will be published in the March 2014 issue and online at




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