The legal industry has a reputation for being slow to change and behind the curve on adopting new technologies. A credible survey of law firms in the UK indicated these facts:
- 17 percent of partners in the top 25 UK law firms are women
- 80 percent of the law firms surveyed see digital strategy as critical
- 23 percent have made corresponding operational changes
- 95 percent are planning major IT projects to improve efficiency
These numbers paint the picture of a backward-facing industry focused on efficiency at the expense of innovation. A study of the legal industry by Georgetown University [PDF download] concludes:
Since 2008, the market has changed in fundamental ways. Not only has demand growth slowed dramatically, but the competitive dynamics of the market have shifted as well. Clients who once deferred to their outside law firms on all key decisions impacting the legal services they purchased no longer do so. Instead, clients increasingly demand that outside counsel offer more efficient services with more transparency into both work processes and costs. Clients are also more prepared than ever before to disaggregate matters, to retain work in-house, and to bring in additional (even non-traditional) service providers.
In other words, law firms must respond to the changing demands of consumers just as companies do in other industries. For this reason, digital transformation is coming to the legal industry.
For episode 188 of the CXOTALK interview series, which invites people shaping our world to discuss their experience with digital transformation, I spoke with Michael Shea, CIO of Morgan Lewis, one of the largest law firms in existence. With over 2000 legal professionals and two billion dollars in revenue, Morgan Lewis is a true multinational organization.
The discussion with Shea centered on how law firms can use technology to drive innovation in addition to improving efficiency. In a comment that echoes the Georgetown report mentioned earlier, Shea explains:
Lots of new technologies that are coming onto the market that will have a significant impact on how law firms operate in the next five to 10 years. Firms that are investing in these new capabilities and adopting change will gain competitive advantage. Those firms that adopt and change and innovate will be the haves and the have-nots in the industry.
Our in-depth, 45-minute conversation explores the role of technology in helping Morgan Lewis remain competitive in this changing field. Of equal importance, creating the right workplace is essential to helping the firm attract and retain senior partners and younger Millennial workers.
In the short clip embedded above, Shea explains why the firm invests in knowledge management, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and augmented reality. The answers go far beyond efficiency alone and get to the core of innovation and remaining competitive as a global player.
CXOTALK brings together business leaders shaping our world for in-depth and personal conversation. Please watch the entire episode and read the complete transcript. Thank you to Avanade for being our sponsor.