As a company that provides legal transcription services, we keep a watch on the trends impacting the legal sector. Like all other industries, legal practices have had their fair share of challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the situation remains uncertain, understanding the trends expected to shape the landscape can help law firms take steps to become more productive and efficient in 2021 and beyond.
- Increased Focus on Technology: Law firms are already using advanced technologies to work remotely, serve clients better and manage data and documents. Artificial intelligence and machine learning have changed the face of the law practice by replacing manual tasks such as documentation, legal research and more. Cloud services are used to store sensitive information, while reliance on digital, data privacy and cyber security is expected to increase. Experts say that emerging technologies will bring about a digital transformation in the legal sector in the years ahead. Companies must invest in legal technology more aggressively – but more importantly, they must invest more effectively,” recommends Zack Hutto, Director, Advisory, Gartner. “Otherwise, legal and compliance functions will remain a drag on productivity and responsiveness (www.gartner.com).
- Renewed Focus on Improving the Client Experience: With technology adoption, law firms have more opportunities to improve the client experience. To provide more client centric solutions, law firms are adopting ways to add value to their services and cut costs. According to a Legal Trends Report, 50% of consumers say they are more comfortable with technology and 58% say they are using technology more than before the pandemic. Legal process management, chatbots, online intake forms, and payment portals are strategies that helped attorneys make the switch to remote working and serve clients better during the pandemic-driven lockdowns.
- Legal Processing Outsourcing (LPO): Law firms will continue to rely on LPO to perform standardized tasks like document drafting, review and proofreading, legal research, litigation support, and other minor and less sensitive work. According to a recent Verified Market Research report titled “Legal Transcription Market Report 2020”, the legal transcription market is rising amid an uncertain economic outlook (mmcthemonitor.com). Digital transcription service providers offer error-free documentation solutions of audio/video recordings of court proceedings, depositions, pleadings, etc., with a fast turnaround and allow in-house law firm staff to focus on more critical tasks.
- Diversified Content Marketing Strategies: According to Cardinal Digital Marketing report, law firms will increasingly focus on delivering client-friendly content in 2021. Clients can be provided with relevant information, knowledge, and legal expertise through various channels including social media. Law firms should ensure that user-friendly content is easily available on Google search and popular social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and so on. The report notes that law firms will increasingly invest in podcasts, video, webinars as these engaging formats offer freshness, interactivity and expertise. Moreover, legal transcription services can be used to repurpose such web content to keep it relevant and interesting. Law firms are also expected to pay close attention to sematic search to connect with prospective clients.
- Rise of Micro-Niches: As clients prefer targeted services, law firms are expected to focus on providing targeted services rather than offer everything, according to a report in American Legal Magazine. As a result, micro-niches are expected to rise in 2021. With micro-niches, law firms can provide focused, tailored services that meet client goals and address their pain points.
- Virtual Legal Services: Law firms will strive to embrace the virtual world by maximizing their digital presence. With the hazards posed by traveling, client relations are becoming virtual and meetings have moved online. Forward thinking law firms need to ensure they are equipped to provide virtual services such as video conferencing, paperless billing, and other forms of online communications. As attorneys work remotely, they also have to pay attention to protect the security and confidentiality of client data, physical documents, computer programs as well as video meetings and telephone calls.
The new normal calls for law firms to think out of the box and leverage technology to improve efficiency and meet client needs securely and effectively. Gartner predicts that by 2023, virtual legal assistants (VLAs) will field 25% of internal requests to legal departments in large enterprises, which will increase operational capacity for in-house corporate teams. Legal departments may focus on automating where possible to improve efficiency and lower response time. However, when it comes to legal transcription services, the human touch will be needed to ensure topmost accuracy.