Nick Northcott, Executive Director of Immediation
There are few industries as resistant to change or technological advancement as the legal industry. While in recent years other industries have been transformed beyond recognition, such transformation is only just beginning to take shape in the legal industry. Unsurprisingly, it’s a revolution led, not by the larger, more powerful legal commercial entities; instead by smaller and more innovative businesses that are determined to change the way legal services are provided.
Using technology to create an alternative solution
Like Uber transformed the taxi industry, Airbnb transformed the travel industry and Xero transformed the accounting industry, incredible change has been born by smaller businesses who combine technology and an idea that can improve an industry.
The ability of these companies to effect change in their respective industries was simple – they didn’t fix anything that wasn’t already broken. They simply used technology to create a better option. Customer service in the taxi industry was dismal, while the costs were sky-high. So Uber created an alternative that lowered the barrier to entry for drivers, while holding them more accountable to customers. Airbnb made hotel accommodation more affordable for consumers, while giving people the ability to monetise their existing assets.
While it took decades for companies like Xero and MYOB to transform the accounting industry, their use in the simplification of cloud accounting for small and large firms, and individual service providers, is now mandated by many customers.
Legally speaking, transformation is imminent
The legal industry is standing at the same precipice that the accommodation, taxi and accounting industries once stood. The same opportunity for transformation and change applies. The adoption of cloud-based services, Artificial Intelligence (AI), decision support tools and digital solutions as an industry standard – or even just a way of cutting costs – in recent years even suggests an openness to change that has not previously existed.
The change, however, isn’t being driven by the larger incumbents who would disrupt themselves. Instead, it’s being driven by smaller businesses; free of the restrictions and processes that weigh down larger businesses and which have the ability to adapt and change at a faster pace as a result. It’s these businesses that are wearing the risk and paving the way for future industry change.
Changing dispute resolution
As it stands, the current process for dispute resolution in the legal industry has remained unquestioned and unchallenged for 200 years. In creating Immediation, a tech-driven platform that improves not only the process but also opens access to justice for many, we are simply creating a better way. We are using technology to make it easier and more affordable for customers and businesses to achieve a judicial outcome, at the same time as removing unnecessary cases from the courts.
Innovation in an industry doesn’t just happen. It takes a level of agility that a lot of incumbents simply can’t afford or manage. Like the success stories of other industries, the small businesses that succeed in transforming the legal industry will be the ones that – along with a good idea – have the ability to remain nimble and adapt to the changing landscape they are trying to disrupt.