The 10 Technologies That Most Drive Law Firm Effectiveness, According to New Survey

Editor’s note:  The post below, The 10 Technologies That Most Drive Law Firm Effectiveness, According to New Survey, was reposted with permission from Robert Ambrogi’s LawSites.

Key points:

Analytics and business intelligence was ranked second for the question, “Which technology concepts have the potential to drive the most efficiency?” with 60% of respondents indicating that analytics and BI could lead to greater efficiency.  Aderant’s discussion of the question indicates that mining law firm data could drive better strategic planning, process improvement, and a more agile firm.  According to the Aderant survey, “Driving greater operational efficiency is one of the greatest challenges facing law firms – but respondents indicated it is also one of the greatest opportunities.  Automating manual tasks – as in work flow and task flow tools – was the top choice. This was closely followed by analytics and business intelligence (BI) tools aimed at driving better decisions. Law firms possess “massive amounts of potentially useful data” that goes un-examined according to open-ended comments.  This is the sort of thinking that is aimed squarely at mining data to drive profitable and competitive pricing, process improvement and law firm agility – the ability to react to change without causing systemic stress.” Knowledge managers and information professionals are equipped with the right skill sets to step in and assist with data mining efforts, and many are already doing so.

Forty seven percent of respondents said yes to the survey questions “Are you collaborating with different staff in the law firm?”  Aderant’s comments on this question reference the marketing and technology departments, but not knowledge or research services specifically, and information professionals have much to offer in an increasingly competitive legal environment.  As mentioned above, they can assist with organizing and mining internal data and can also uncover relevant external data and information that can lead to better-informed attorneys and potential business opportunities.

“The preponderance of attention placed on how the legal business has changed tends to focus on external factors such as client demands and competition. However, this survey surfaced the notion that external changes have prompted changes inside the law firms too. Almost half of all respondents (47%) said the people with whom they routinely work with inside a law firm is different than it was five years ago. Open-ended responses suggest the front office – lawyers and other timekeepers – are becoming more tightly integrated with the back office including finance, accounting, marketing and technology departments.”


The 10 Technologies That Most Drive Law Firm Effectiveness, According to New Survey (reposted with permission from Robert Ambrogi’s LawSites) 

A survey released yesterday on the business of law and legal technology finds that competition for legal services remains high, demand remains relatively flat, and law firms are feeling pressure to lower prices and enhance operational efficiency. But what caught my eye in the survey was the question, “Which technologies provide law firms with the greatest overall effectiveness?”

The 2017 Aderant Business of Law and Legal Technology Survey, conducted by Aderant, a provider of business management software for lawyers, surveyed 112 respondents in U.S. firms, most of whom are in financial, accounting or C-suite roles. Most of the respondents said that the performance of their firm this year is about the same as last year, and that the top challenges they face are:

  1. Pricing pressure.
  2. Improving operational efficiency.
  3. Winning new business.
  4. Growing more business from existing customers.
  5. Improving law firm agility and adaptability.

So if a firm is striving to control prices and improve operational efficiency, technology has to be a major part of the answer. But which technology?

As I already noted, that was the question put to the respondents. Their top 10:

  1. Document management, 66%.
  2. Financial/ERP, 52%.
  3. Business intelligence, 49%.
  4. Matter pricing and planning, 47%.
  5. Case management, 47%.
  6. Project management, 37%.
  7. CRM, 33%.
  8. Document assembly, 26%.
  9. E-discovery, 23%.
  10. Other, 4%.

Another question reframed the issue away from specific technologies and towards types of technologies. It asked, “Which technology concepts have the potential to drive the most efficiency?” Here were the answers:

  1. Automating manual tasks, 74%.
  2. Analytics and business intelligence, 60%.
  3. Integration of systems, 55%.
  4. Collaborative tools, 49%.
  5. Mobile access, 46%.
  6. Cloud-based solutions, 21%.
  7. Unsure, 10%.

The final technology question turned skyward and asked, “What is preventing the adoption of cloud technologies?” Not surprisingly, the leading answer was cybersecurity:

  1. Cybersecurity, 73%.
  2. Client concerns, 43%.
  3. Integration with other systems, 43%.
  4. Data ownership, 39%.
  5. Compliance, 38%.
  6. Cost, 35%.
  7. Change management, 33%.
  8. Physical location, 25%.
  9. Speed of service, 24%.
  10. Functionality, 23%.
  11. Other, 9%.

The full survey covers a broader range of topics, including alternative fees, billing and invoicing, competition and collaboration. You can download it for free — and you don’t even have to fill out a registration form.

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