Four Important Technology Trends for Law Firms in 2022
It is easy to say (two years now into the pandemic) that COVID-19 changed the legal profession forever. After a massive shift in 2020 and 2021 to working and conducting court proceedings remotely, with the help of many remote technologies, many legal professionals may wonder what lies ahead from a technology standpoint. After such a dramatic shift, are there even more disruptions to embrace?
The answer is yes! The world turns, technology keeps evolving, and so too will the legal services industry. Below are predictions of technology trends that will continue to be important in 2022 and help shape the industry in the years ahead.
P.S. If you want to read our Cybersecurity predictions from 2021, click here.
Hybrid Remote/In-Office Work Model
Two years into the pandemic, (and with varying reports about when/if the “end” is in sight) remote work is no longer a temporary fix, but the way of the future. A recent MyCase survey found that remote work benefitted the legal profession; 60% of firms in the survey reported that profitability remained stable or increased during the pandemic and for 73%, productivity increased significantly due to the adoption of remote working tools.
70% of respondents in the MyCase survey also reported their legal office will allow remote work even after fully reopening. To help support ongoing remote work culture, law firms should embrace technology that makes remote work easy, accessible, and productive, such as RemoteDepo™ by U.S. Legal Support.
In 2021, U.S. Legal Support scheduled 132,000 remote events via our remote deposition platform, which allows those in the legal industry to conduct depositions quickly and easily in a remote or hybrid format. With an internet connection and webcam-equipped device, attorneys communicate in realtime, observe witness body language, introduce exhibits, and seamlessly facilitate questioning.
- Remote Depositions: What to Expect and Moving Forward
- Tools and Techniques to Maximize Your Well-Being and Productivity While Working Remotely
Importance of Cybersecurity
2021 saw 50% more cyber attacks per week on corporate networks compared to 2020. While it may be easy to explain this stat as only affecting large corporations, according to Accenture’s Cost of Cybercrime Study, 43% of cyber attacks are aimed at small businesses – and only 14% are prepared to defend themselves. And according to the Ponemon Institute, cyberattacks in small businesses have increased more than 20% since 2016.
And another report found that 24.9% of all ransomware attacks in the first part of 2021 targeted small and medium sized law firms. Due to the rapid adoption of remote work on less-secure at-home networks and the sensitive nature of their work, law firms are primed as a target for hackers. U.S. Legal Support recommends law firms place cybersecurity initiatives near the top of their tech priority list.
Additional Reading: Why Cybersecurity Should be Top of Mind in 2022
Free Download: [CHECKLIST] 9 Cybersecurity Questions to Ask When Choosing a Litigation Support Services Provider
For law firms who want to innovate, it is important to investigate options for how AI can be applied throughout the legal profession: Currently, AI is being widely leveraged in a variety of ways:
- Legal Research: Companies such as LexisNexis or WestLaw leverage AI to help attorneys research thousands of instances of case law with ease.
- E-Discovery: According to the ABA, e-discovery was the first use case of AI in the legal industry.
- Automated Translations: Machine translation technology utilizes artificial intelligence to automatically translate documents in record time and at a fraction of the cost of other methodologies.
- Transcription: The legal industry is one where a “paper trail” is always necessary. AI technologies can assist in transcribing court proceedings, bodycam footage, phone calls and more into evidence needed for litigation.
While the legal profession may historically be slow to adopt new technologies, AI is the way of the future. A recent 2021 Gartner report estimates Artificial Intelligence will generate $2.9 trillion (about $8,900 per person in the US) in business value and augment 6.2 million hours of productivity in a year. Mori Kabiri for Forbes writes, “As legal explores these technologies and is more exposed to the capabilities, professionals will realize the true goal of tech like AI. AI algorithms are not here to replace lawyers but to equip them with the tools to automate daily repetitive tasks so that they can focus more on specialized tasks that require their creativity and intelligence.
As the industry stabilizes from the technology shifts required for remote work, AI adoption will only continue to increase.
Additional Reading: Artificial Intelligence (AI): Evolutions and Something Darwin Never Said
Formerly a paper document-heavy business, law firms now want every part of the legal process digitized and automated. The digitization of these services will only become more imperative as remote work continues indefinitely, and there is a positive aspect to a potentially heavy lift: the same 2021 Gartner report mentioned above estimates automation will reduce costs of IT and operations by 30%.
The good news is with U.S. Legal Support, nearly every aspect of our core lines of business involves some digital component thanks to our unique Client Portal. Whether it is requesting a court reporter or retrieving records, these services can be ordered, managed, and tracked (with the final items delivered) via our client portal, accessible 24/7, and which is both SOC 2 Type 2 and HIPAA compliant.