The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has released a report summarising their key findings from research they commissioned with the University of Oxford about technology and innovation in the legal sector. The ‘Technology and Innovation in Legal Services’ report has revealed some interesting findings which we will explore in this blog post.
The adoption of technology by law firms
The SRA’s research revealed that almost all the law firms surveyed were using technology to help deliver their services. This includes 87% using video conferencing for client meetings and two-thirds (66%) using cloud technology to store data.
Additionally, 37% of law firms who participated in the survey said they were currently using legal technology, such as interactive websites, automated documents, and artificial intelligence, and an additional 24% plan to adopt legal technology in the future.
The report also explored why firms utilise or introduce new technology and found that the main reasons were to improve service quality (72%), improve efficiency (71%) and allow staff to work more flexibly (44%).
Within the Wills and Probate sector, 58.4% of firms surveyed are utilising technology, a further 31.2% were planning to adopt, and 10.4% have not adopted and do not plan to adopt technology.
COVID-19’s impact on technology and innovation in the legal sector
The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly brought technology and innovation to the forefront of the industry over the last 18 months as professionals have had to adapt to the challenges of working from home and reaching clients remotely. There has been much debate within the industry about whether the adjustments legal firms have made throughout the pandemic are here to stay as the world returns to some form of normality.
The SRA’s report has revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic has unsurprisingly had a huge impact on the industry with:
55% of the law firms surveyed having improved or increased their use of technology
48% making changes to service delivery
35% introducing new technology
With the increase in the use of technology, changes to service delivery, and the introduction of new technology, this is likely to lead to improvements in customer service and deliver a better experience for clients.
Reluctance to change and innovation
Although the revelations from the SRA research are positive and show an encouraging shift in the attitude of legal professionals towards adopting technology, there is still a slight reluctance for change and innovation within the industry. The main obstacle for firms was reportedly money and the lack of spare financial capital to invest, as well as concerns about the lack of in-house skills or resources to develop new innovations.
Law firms that were not currently using legal technology or innovating did not see it as a strategic priority (31%), were uncertain of the benefits for the business (36%), and did not see the need for using technology or innovation within the business (27%).
In a recent guest blog from Tower Street Finance, Richard Davies wrote about how the UK legal sector needs to innovate and improve its customer experience to survive. Click here to read the interesting blog post.
Overall, the findings from the research were interesting and positive, highlighting the fact that many firms are adopting technology and innovating within their business. As a result of this, clients should experience a smoother customer journey and receive a better service from your business.
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