Claire Bibby, COO of Immediation
Change is inevitable. While the legal industry is steeped in long standing tradition, countless other industries have been transformed by the adoption and use of technology. The most significant transformation has arguably been in the consumer space – e.g. the travel industry with Airbnb or the taxi industry with Uber. Conservative industries like law and medicine have been slower to welcome change, but there is certainly movement at the station.
How do we, as lawyers, accept and adopt transformative technology, while maintaining the credibility and trust that underpins our industry?
Moving forward, with care
In the last decade, there have been 111 Australian LegalTech firms established, with an increasing number of both top-tier and mid-tier law firms making significant investments in technology. According to CommBank’s 2018 Legal Market Pulse Report , 39% of law firms are now using cloud-based solutions or actively working on their implementation.
There’s no denying that the hunger and desire for transformative technology is present, at least in some.
As COO of a legal-tech startup, I fully support the considered integration of technology into our industry as a way of improving existing processes, along with the ability of clients, businesses and individuals to access justice. Equally, however, I believe that we should be considering how products meet and improve the needs of the client, before making radical changes. If not, we risk undoing years of trust and respect for the rule of law.
It’s about creating sustainable change
The foundation of industry change begins with education. An increasing number of law schools are introducing wider ranges of subjects, designed to not only increase the technological literacy of students, but to help them understand the impact of technological disruption on the law. Shaping the next generation of lawyers to think innovatively, but responsibly, will ensure that the legal industry keeps up with changing trends.
Secondly, it’s about market validation and acceptance. Client needs and expectations are an essential consideration before deciding to adopt new forms of technology into legal practice. In fact, Commonwealth Bank’s Legal Market Pulse Report identified client-led factors and consumer needs among the highest considerations for future strategies by both top-tier and mid-tier firms.
In line with the idea of meeting consumer needs and expectations, we created Immediation with the aim of improving access to justice for the businesses, clients and individuals undertaking dispute resolution. The technology and the platform that powers our business have been incredibly considered over a number of years. They aim to simplify the process, remove barriers and help clear the courts of unnecessary cases.
The future of our industry will be driven by technology that respects and supports the foundational values of law. Greater education and a healthy dose of ‘tech-savviness’ will allow the legal profession to evolve into more than just legal service delivery. It will equip the legal market with the tools needed to maintain goodwill and relevance in Australia’s thriving service market.