Legal Technology is an ever-growing trend in the legal profession, one that has been steadily increasing since before the pandemic. The need for automation and visibility has only expanded since the beginning of 2020, and more legal firms are looking to technology and experts to support their needs. The field of legal technology is gaining recognition and the need for law firms to hire a legal technologist for guidance based on their knowledge of both the legal and tech industries is becoming a necessary decision for many firms..
So what are the benefits of hiring a legal technologist, and why should your firm hire one? First, let’s take a deep dive into what exactly a legal technologist does.
What is a legal technologist?
Legal technologists are well-educated professionals who can provide a high level of expertise in technology for law offices at all levels. They can bridge the gap between the two industries and perform tasks often filled by legal assistants, paralegals, and law clerks. However, they go beyond these traditional roles by having a high level of understanding of how technology can transform the way legal services are accessed by clients. They can home in on the client experience while also using their technical know-how to ensure that processes and procedures are streamlined for the legal staff. This unique combination of skills benefits both the inner workings of a legal firm and the way they attract and support their client’s needs.
An example of this is that a legal technologist may help a law firm implement automation processes, such as training an AI system to scan and identify keywords on legal documents. This automation allows an attorney to get the information they need faster. This also benefits the client because their attorney is spending more time handling important matters related to their case, rather than getting bogged down in hours of reading.
Legal technologists ensure that lawyers are using the right tech tools to work more efficiently, allowing them to free up more hours for billable client work. They are problem solvers who can look at the challenges that lawyers and the legal industry faces, and bring solutions based on a keen understanding of how new technology can transform the field of law.
Why should I hire a legal technologist?
We see the benefits as three-fold: efficiency, retention, and expertise. Let’s drill down into each of these benefits.
1. Legal technology improves efficiency.
An article published on LinkedIn this year starts with the excellent point that lawyers are losing too many hours to non-billable tasks. These are typically admin activities such as drafting-related tasks that are routine but time-consuming, or other processes that could be sped up with technology-driven workflows and efficiency tools.
Having access to a legal technologist means that you have an expert on hand who can steer your law firm seamlessly through the process of integrating new technology. Their sole focus will be to ensure that your firm selects the right systems, that those systems are implemented smoothly, and that there are processes and infrastructure in place to guarantee that the technology is used to its potential. Having a legal technologist on your team takes these complex steps and puts them in the hands of an expert, unlocking additional levels of efficiency that only benefit your law firm.
2. A legal technologist gives you an in-house or on-call expert
The second benefit of a legal technologist is that you’ll have an in-house expert who has their finger on the pulse of emerging technologies. They can guide you through the “noise” of the multitude of tech options out there and help you choose the systems that are going to provide the biggest impact.
Picture this: you decide you want to do a little research on the latest legal technologies, or maybe just tech solutions that can be implemented within the legal industry. You run a couple of internet searches and find yourself immediately overwhelmed by the options. Some sound familiar to you, such as Evernote, Onenote, and Todoist. With others, you may only have a vague idea of their function based on the name, as with Fastcase, HotDocs, or iAnnotate. Still others just sound like the latest social media fad. Ever heard of Zapier or Xero? These are legitimate technologies, but if you’re hearing those names for the first time, it could be easy to assume they are some new social media app.
Let’s rewind this scenario. You want to do a little research on the latest legal technologies, so you call your legal technologist into a meeting and ask that they recommend 3-5 tech solutions that will streamline internal processes and improve client service. Your legal technologist quickly submits a proposal outlining specific options, how these selections will improve efficiency and address client needs, and how the technologies will effectively pay for themselves in the long run. Done! Not only have they provided you with expert counsel, your legal technologist can implement and manage their recommended systems, saving you both time and money.
3. A focus on legal technology helps you attract and retain young talent
Law firms that have legal technologists on staff are clearly demonstrating that adopting new technology and solutions are a priority for them. We’ve mentioned how this helps retain clients, by freeing up more time for lawyers to focus on their needs. But another benefit is that this focus on legal tech can also attract and retain the next generation of lawyers.
Lawyers coming into the field today have grown up surrounded by technology. They are increasingly tech savvy in their own day-to-day lives, so it makes sense that they would see the benefit that legal technology has in their work lives. Up and coming lawyers will be more interested in working for firms that are ahead of the curve in integrating systems that improve efficiency, workflow, and customer experience.
Having a legal technologist on your team supports retention in the long run because you’ll be able to keep up with the needs of the next generation of lawyers.
Are you eager to learn more about how a legal technologist can provide experienced counsel and guide you through the implementation of efficient solutions? At Tech Masters, we are experts at providing services and solutions to fit the needs of the legal industry. Contact us today for a free IT assessment and recommendations for the best value improvements for your law firm.
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