Vale & West Chartered Accountants Blog

How legal tech is levelling the playing field between the smallest and largest firms

Legal tech is helping to “close the gap” between large and small legal firms, a new report has suggested.

The research, published by Law Society partner and equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs, looks at the impact technology has had on the lives of legal professionals and how it can be used to level the playing field between the largest and smallest firms.

While the report remarks that the legal sector has been typically slow to embrace new technology, there are numerous examples where significant advancements in legal practice administration have “transformed the typical working lives of lawyers”.

Email and cloud computing, for example, have allowed lawyers and clients to collaborate from anywhere in the world, removing the need to have physical bases in multiple jurisdictions.

Cloud-based practice management has also enabled smaller law firms to decrease dependence on in-house IT staff and scale up IT systems as and when they are required.

Likewise, legaltech, which reduces the reliance on additional staff (such as secretaries and paralegals) has helped to close the gap between larger firms with plentiful resources, and smaller practices which cannot afford extra employees.

This could include automated billing software, which saves time and streamlines the billing process without requiring additional finance staff.

The report also points to digital dictation, document automation and contract creation, big data and analytics and case prediction; all technologies which are readily available to smaller law firms today.

Commenting on the report, the authors said: “Technology has a general tendency to reduce inequality in the long run.

“The ubiquity of internet-connected smartphones and free access to Wikipedia has brought encyclopaedic knowledge to the masses in their homes, whereas before it was only available to those who frequented libraries or had the financial resources – and shelf space – to purchase multiple volumes of the Encyclopædia Britannica.

“The same applies to technological developments across all sectors, including law: although the first to benefit are those with deep wallets, in time, those benefits tend to spread across the board.”

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