Few industries have a reputation for being as traditional or even old-fashioned as the legal profession but things are changing, especially in the Irish legal sector. Substantial amounts of new legislation over the past two decades have led to regular shake-ups of the system, changing case law and new bases for precedent – innovation has become commonplace. Technology is just one more way for the Irish legal profession to remain confident about its performance and to enhance what it offers both to clients and to its own members. Here are just three key ways that technology can allow the Irish law firms to succeed.
Cybersecurity is crucial for the legal profession
Apart from accountants and doctors, lawyers and solicitors hold the most sensitive information about their clients of almost any profession – which makes them a natural target for cyber-attack. Numerous reports predict that the costs associated with cyber-attacks could reach $6 trillion globally by 2021.
Installing and using the best technology doesn’t just provide protection from these attacks, but it is likely to generate new business from tech-savvy clients who are themselves already engaged with technology and want a legal partner who is similarly tooled up.
Firms that fail to address their own cyber security are considerably more likely to be left behind by the ever-increasing number of their clients adopting a data security approach. Firms that ignore the trends in IT can also end up with less engaged and disinterested employees at all levels, stuck doing mundane tasks that could otherwise be automated.
If cybersecurity is a concern for your legal firm please read our in-depth article on what risks to look for and how to address them.
Technological innovation may help reduce real world uncertainty
Brexit is here – and it already hurts. Case law is just one area in which uncertainty has reached maximum levels and over the next five years, what is termed ‘English law’ will become a much more piecemeal process. For Irish legal firms, everything from the domicile of Irish airlines like Ryanair through to the potential disruptive impact on commercial contracts (for example the position of force majeure and the doctrine of frustration in allowing organisations to claim contracts have been made void) all the way through to family law, may be called into question.
As a result, firms using technology to work smarter and faster are going to benefit immensely as they will be able to change direction more rapidly, institute understanding of new legislation via technology and move forward with offerings to clients based on substantially faster incorporation and response to new positions.
Technology is an aid to talent identification, development and retention
Perhaps one of the biggest ways that Irish legal firms benefit from employing new technology is in their employment patterns. Not only do new law graduates want to work for organisations that are forward thinking and creative, they are aware of the risks of technology failure in a way their older colleagues may not be. Few lawyers want to work in firms that may have weak cybersecurity as it means being exposed to personal risk and reputational damage.
So, for those seeking to hire the cream of the latest crop, being technology aware is important. Developing and retaining excellence is also technology led – firms that are willing to engage with new technology are also likely to be innovative in other ways, giving all their employees a constant stream of engaging, rewarding work and the opportunity to grow, learn and develop.
In conclusion, technology supports growth, provides stability and helps retain talent – three pillars that any legal firm relies on to maintain its position and to develop in the future.