At ITEC, we’re an optimistic bunch. We believe in proactive solutions to every tech headache. But we’re also realists.
And the reality for law firms across the UK right now is that there are issues threatening their success.
The good news is that, with the right expertise, preparation and tech support, the future can be brighter than ever.
So, what are the biggest threats facing law firms right now?
Ah, the ‘B’ word. It’s a controversial one. However, regardless of personal political leanings, the fact is Brexit will have a significant impact on the legal sector. According to a special report by the APPG on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, the UK is the second largest legal services market in the world and the largest legal services sector within the EU.
Jonathan Djanogly MP, who co-chairs this group of the APPG, comments that ‘Brexit will be the largest ever change to the UK’s legal framework, and it presents both opportunities and risks for the legal sector’.
The biggest risk of all? A no deal Brexit, whicha study by the Law Society predicts could cause the UK legal sector to suffer a £3 billion hit in revenue and a loss of 12,000 jobs by 2025.
The biggest opportunity? An increase in work – at least in the short-term. A Thomson Reuters study shows law firms in the UK are already experiencing a surge in Brexit-related work, with many forecasting an increase rather than a decrease in workload as a result of Brexit.
More than 20 per cent of the law firms surveyed for Thomson Reuters said they plan to invest more in legal software, information and technology solutions.
Almost three quarters of UK respondents that plan to ramp up investment in legal software and technology specifically intend to invest in document automation.
The tricky part is that law firms in the UK are experts in law, not tech. This is why many are turning to solutions like ITEC’s Technology Managed Service, to help them be best placed to survive and even thrive in the uncertainty of Brexit, and beyond.
2. Talent Shortage
There’s a skills shortage in the UK legal sector, which could only get more worrying under a no-deal Brexit.
Research from Clayton Legal shows ‘skills shortages are the top challenge facing legal practices with 67 per cent concerned that access to talent could hamper growth’.
That explains why many leading British law firms are exploring new ways to attract and retain talent.
Offering truly agile working is now seen as one of the most forward-thinking ways to achieve this. Top lawyers want the flexibility to work from anywhere – including from home – but the right tech support needs to be in place to make it possible.
Important files need to be able to be securely accessed and sent, there must be effective cloud technology in place, and there should be 24/7 support for everything from forgotten passwords to email issues.
The success of many UK law firms depends on business continuity. Virtually every aspect of work in the legal sector relies on IT – but what if there was a natural disaster that cut the power? Or a security breach that forced systems to shut down?