LPM Frontiers: Legal IT landscapes 2021

The annual snapshot of law firms' changing technology priorities



LPM LITL 2021 cover

Welcome back to LPM Legal IT landscapes! Lots of interesting results this year but also more of the same, as SME law firms press forward with tech projects big and small. Process is king in this year’s LPM Legal IT landscapes (LITL) report as SME legal leaders learn to manage a remote workforce, implement must-have cloud infrastructure and tech, and make other big pushes to modernise their practices.

For this year’s data splits, we decided to segment the market, in terms of size, by headcount instead of by revenue. Last year’s bands were £7.5m-£20m and £7.5m and under. This year, firms are categorised as having headcounts of 50+ or <50.

As for the questioning and results themselves, we have some familiar areas, such as our ever-popular competitiveness v efficiency graph (p8), but we’ve also switched up some classics, particularly around remote working. See how this year’s results compare to previous years, and find out just how far SME law firms have come in terms of tech strategy and investment.



Unsurprisingly, ‘agile/remote working’ tech leaps forward into our hot topic/strategic winners section in the top rightmost part of this year’s efficiency v competitiveness graph – just beating AI for third place. Holding their positions strongly again this year are ‘CMS’ and ‘client-facing tech, including portals’ as the top two tech that will have the biggest impact on your firm’s efficiency and competitiveness (p8).


LPM LITL 2021 market q chart

Lots of movements in tech this year but what about market players? According to respondents this year, not much has changed in terms of who they think the biggest competition is and where threats lie. ‘Bigger firms than mine’ reclaims its seat as top competitor over ‘firms like mine already in our geographies’. And ‘online businesses’ continues to hold its place in third over the last three years.


Last, but certainly not least, everyone’s favourite tech area: cybersecurity, and this year it’s not being swept under the rug. It has moved back up within our competitiveness v efficiency graph (p8), ever so slightly increasing in mentions as an area top of SME legal leaders’ minds. Interestingly, it has moved up more on the efficiency side – perhaps because of the newfound focus on remote working and virtual processes has meant that SME legal leaders are finding ways to improve efficiencies in cybersecurity practicalities.



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