Technology has been opening new doorways to unimaginable possibilities with each passing day. From the advent of eDiscovery to cloud computing and faster legal case management, there has been a huge impact on how we do our jobs in the field. The recent pandemic-related survey reports are offering interesting insights and takeaways into the legal industry. Recently, some legal industry surveys have been published, each providing useful information about what the pandemic will achieve in the near future and at present.

A survey that has updated us quite efficiently is the 2021 Wolters Kluwer Future Ready Lawyer Survey: Moving Beyond the Pandemic. An interesting overview of legal trends always emerges from this annual survey, and this year's Report was no exception. The 2021 Report includes information collected from more than 700 lawyers in nine European countries and the United States, drawn from a diverse range of firms and departments. The report provides a wealth of statistics about the legal sector, the effects of the pandemic, and legal technology buying decisions.

Technological Advancements

In addition, the Report offered insight into how the pandemic could impact law practice and legal case management in the future. Among the key learnings from this year's report, the authors assert that technology will be integral to the delivery of legal case management services in the future.

The smooth transition from onsite to remote working during the pandemic was enabled in large part by certain types of remote working tools, and those technologies were the most popular in law firms. The following technology tools were among those that grew in popularity due to the pandemic, as per the survey participants:

● Management of documents (48%)

● Collaboration software (46%)

● Collaboration with outside parties (38%)

● Extranets and secure file sharing (37%)

● Management of Cases/Matters (34%)

● Apps that facilitate video conferencing (34%)


In spite of the fact that law firms transitioned to remote working tools at the start of the pandemic, the difficulties they encountered impacted perceptions of the need to integrate technology into law firm workflows moving forward. Approximately 77% of survey respondents predicted that legal technology will have an increasing role to play in legal organizations over the next three years. Other top factors include an increasing amount of legal information and the increasing complexity of that information (77%). 

There is an important distinction between the response rate of employers who indicate both trends will be addressed and the percentage that doesn't. Only 32% of respondents believe their employer is very prepared to deal with the increasing importance of legal technology, and only 32% feel their organization is ready to handle the increased volume and complexity of information.

Increased investment in cloud Technology

Since technology proved essential to solving the problems law firms encountered during the pandemic, it should not be a surprise that most respondents (63%) plan to increase technology spending in the next few years, a significant increase over the previous year. In the survey, respondents believed their clients expected law firms to fully leverage technology and utilize it for legal case management. Three-quarters of the respondents said that cloud computing was the top technology that their firms planned to purchase soon. As a result of cloud-based tools, remote working was possible during the pandemic. 

Lastly, the leading cloud-based technologies that law firms intend to add are collaboration and remote work tools. Survey respondents identified the following top remote-working tools that their companies would invest in:

  • Electronic signatures
  • Automated document generation
  • Toolkits for collaborative work
  • Management of documents and workflows


Existence of Technological Adoption Hurdles

It has historically been an uphill battle for legal technology adoption and it’s application in legal case management services. The pandemic may have set the stage for increased technology adoption, but it did not solve the problem by itself. It merely moved the bar forward faster than anybody could have anticipated.

In spite of this, many law firm leaders remain resistant to rapid change and keep their legal case management services away from the touch of technology. As the survey results indicate, changing minds takes time. Respondents to the survey cited the following factors as the biggest barriers to change and technology adoption in their legal departments:

  • Concerns about the organization (47%)
  • The lack of technology, skills, knowledge, or understanding (35%).
  • Concerns about finances (18%)


These were among the organizational challenges mentioned by respondents: 

1) Lack of a comprehensive technology strategy

2) An environment that is fearful of change

3) no formal change management process

4) Resistance to changes in work processes

5) Resistance to change by leadership


In conclusion, change is never easy, but a pandemic has shown that it often proves necessary as well as beneficial. Many law firms may be concerned with the effects of a pandemic on their legal case management services and procedures. While you can't predict what will happen in the future, you can take steps to help prepare your firm for an event and minimize the effect it may or may not have on your bottom line. Furthermore, investment in new technologies means that law firms can remain competitive with other organizations in today’s rapidly evolving legal case management industry and become market leaders before others catch up or surpass them. 

Technology investments are an important tool in positioning yourself for growth as you work through changes that come from crisis or change. By investing in today's technologies, you are laying a foundation for tomorrow's success. The adoption of new technologies is an investment that will pay off in the long run. If your firm hasn't already embraced the cloud, what are you waiting for?

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