Insights from Accesspoint’s Legal Innovators Forum 2023

As technology continues to reshape the way law firms operate, Accesspoint’s Legal Innovators Forum 2023, held on 21 September, highlighted the importance of collaboration and partnerships between vendors to propel law firms’ efficiency — “a win-win for everybody” as Richard Higgs, non-executive director at Accesspoint, put it.

Suzanna Hayek|Deputy editor|

Integration in action

Among the event’s highlights was Accesspoint’s demonstration of integrations that enable lawyers to seamlessly use various systems within its case management system, including Verify 365’s client onboarding solution. The demonstrations included one on how lawyers can use various systems within Microsoft Word, eliminating the need to shift between different software.

Combatting money laundering

Law firms are increasingly under pressure to comply with anti-money laundering regulations and to keep their sanctions lists current. Providing anti-money laundering checks as one of its digital services, Verify 365 delivered a presentation taking the audience on a journey through the world of money laundering and shedding light on its unsettling connections to arms sales and child trafficking — urging the audience to not only have proper checks in place to be compliant, but also to combat these illicit activities, highlighting the critical role technology can play in this fight.

The cyber threat

Every law firm’s nightmare — the ever-looming threat of cyberattack — was also a topic of discussion, including how cyber criminals can use confidential information leaked on the dark web to harm individuals. The presentation included an extensive list of common practices that put our information at risk such as including your date of birth on LinkedIn or using the same password for various online accounts, with one seemingly innocuous act standing out: scanning QR codes, which cyber criminals can exploit to gain access to information.

AI: Enhancing lawyers’ work

Legal technology journalist Joanna Goodman traced the evolution of AI to its modern-day applications, championing the notion that AI is set to enhance the work of lawyers rather than supplant them, with the prospect of reducing the need for support staff.

Goodman highlighted the growing prominence of AI in law firms and its tantalising prospects, but she cautioned against hastened use because of its potential pitfalls, including data security, privacy, copyright issues and ethical considerations — adding that regulatory frameworks for AI are still in their infancy and warrant close attention. All the same, several legal technology companies are already harnessing AI for diverse tasks, from due diligence to litigation strategy, and pioneering law firms like Allen & Overy, Travers Smith and Dentons have developed their own in-house AI solutions.

Goodman also spoke on whether firms should build or buy generative AI tools, suggesting that firms first assess their problems then choose between assisted and augmented intelligence.

The path forward

Richard Higgs, non-executive director at Accesspoint, concluded the conference by offering advice — shifting to cloud-based Microsoft Office 365 is fast and non-disruptive — and predicting the future of legal technology — such as law firms tapping into Microsoft Power Apps to develop their own applications in time.

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