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Transforming law firms: a challenge in the digital era

Change is natural. It is the daily routine in the world of technology, whose advances force a continuous transformation in all areas and business models. In the digital era, customers are more demanding: they require more efficiency and have less time. And this undoubtedly forces change.

Despite being a traditional business, the law firm models will also have to adapt to the changes arising from technological progress. In this regard, digitization and large-scale data analysis are seen as the two elements that will be most impacted by this transformation.

The changes to be made should not only address the needs of the current customer. They must also adjust to the reality and expectation of young lawyers, who represent the human talent force that will deepen and manage the technological adaptations in law firms.

Changes are the order of the day in the law firms.

In times of the digital revolution, technical legal advice is not enough. The represented party needs a company capable of providing a legal service that is both close and global in multiple jurisdictions, and that allows solving everyday problems of all kinds.

In order to achieve this, law firms must face a profound transformation which includes changing the traditional profile of the lawyer and the organizational structure of law firms. It is not only about innovation in billing systems or databases, it is about an overturn in the system and culture of the law firm, to allow the entry of new technological tools that will result in a sophistication of the processes.

The entry of technological innovation will support the creation of greater value to the service provided to the client.becoming more competitive. It is to be expected that law firms will have to invest more resources in communication and information technology infrastructures. Likewise, the challenge of enhancing the use of data analysis in the legal industry is on the horizon, as the new tools will make it possible.

What change management involves

To operate these changes, the personnel must have special capabilitiesTherefore, their knowledge in law must be accompanied by skills for the management of the new business model. "Investing in tools that we expect to implement will save considerable time, but without affecting quality. Innovating in training is key to being more efficient and redefining our programs".said Íñigo Berricano, managing partner of Linklaters in Spain, in an interview with the web portal Expansión.

For Carlos Rueda, managing partner of Gómez - Acebo & Pombo, the irruption of the digital era means a new configuration of the workspace, taking into account that technology supports the improvement of efficiency and productivity.

This new configuration also imposes flexible working hours and work-life balance.This is because in law firms, work structures have traditionally been very rigid. It also implies the emergence of a new professional and inclusive leadership that is able to motivate and maintain in its ranks capable professionals with specific skills in the digital environment.

Updated context

The global change imposed by technology and the current social dynamics have drawn new panoramas in the legal world. These are some of the scenarios that are being shown today:

  • New legal situations arising from new digital business models, which require specific legislation.
  • Regulatory changes in some markets as a result of the transformations generated by technological progress.
  • Ability of customers to conduct transactions online, which implies a change in customer requirements.
  • Assume the challenge of cybersecurity by implementing the use of new technologies that can be violated if the necessary precautions are not taken.

Do not forget what is important

It is true that technology offers the possibility of rapid and constant changes. However, in law there is one thing that must always prevail: professional ethics. The irruption of technological progress should not imply an abandonment of legal ethics.

Professional skills and respect for ethics will be the basis for trust. to make the client request the services of a law firm. Therefore, the challenge will be focused on maintaining these values while generating knowledge for the application of new technological models.

"Technology applied to knowledge management should allow us to have all the strength and innovation capacity of an international group in each case and client, with the best knowledge of local business law."Fernando Vives, executive chairman of Garrigues, explained, when consulted by the Expansión website.

Sources consulted