Legal IT landscapes 2020

The annual snapshot of law firms' changing technology priorities

FEATURES


ISSUE IN BRIEF

It’s interesting to see how Legal IT landscapes report results change – or not– over the years. For LPM Legal IT landscapes 2020, we continue our segmentation of the market by revenue (bands for £7.5m-£20m and £7.5m and under) – we understand that the legal market is vast and hold different challenges, so we hope to reflect that in our data analysis. We’re also continuing our trends mapping on key areas: competitive threats (p9), automation (p19) and smarter working (p23). See how this year’s data stacks up against the last three years.

We’ve also hit the nail on the head as – in line with news of a hack to start off 2020 – we created more of a spotlight on cybersecurity practices (p25) and have included some insight on the importance of data and analytics (p14) from those who answered the survey. We feel these areas are important to cover – obviously firms should always keep a watchful eye on cybersecurity, but they can get a whole lot better at using the data they have to make better connections with clients and deliver a better service.

How does your firm compare to that of your peers? Take a gander and see what’s on the frontier.

THE BIG QUESTIONS

What have SME law firm leaders listed as their top technologies for competitiveness and efficiency for the coming year? There are some things to note about this year’s results in particular. Artificial intelligence (AI) has fallen from its prime-time slot at the top of our top right square in the quadrant for hot topic tech. Has the hype subsided? Perhaps the market has matured, as it still remains a hot topic area – coming third this year.

SMOOTH MARKETPLACE

For 2020, we asked respondents to qualify what they meant if they picked ‘legal technology-based new businesses’ as their biggest threat. We saw a multitude of explanations. A big theme is that these new entrants are more flexible, adaptive and don’t have legacy IT systems weighing them down. Respondents who chose this area recognise that being able to invest in IT and change quickly offers a huge competitive advantage in this market.

IT’S IN THE BUDGET?

In terms of profitability of matters, this year was the first time we featured questions about which areas of the practice SME law firms thought were most successful (p14). Funnily enough, conveyancing (commercial and residential) was listed as both the best (23%) and worst (32%) area at scoping/pricing for profitability. Indeed, this practice area comes loaded with lots of difficulty, frustration and reward for law firms.

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