According to the 2020 Legal Trends Report, firms with deep technology adoption are projected to collect nearly $40,000 more annually per lawyer, indicating powerful advantages of cloud-based and client-centered technologies.
October 13, 2020 – Vancouver, BC – Today, Clio, the leader in cloud-based legal technology, released its 2020 Legal Trends Report, revealing an unprecedented rate of technology adoption in the legal industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings show that firms embracing cloud-based and client-centered legal technologies are projected to collect nearly $40,000 more this year, per lawyer, than those slow to adopt technology.
“The technological transformation of the legal industry that we expected to take place over the next five to ten years is now being compressed into weeks and months due to the pandemic,” said Jack Newton, CEO and Co-founder of Clio. “More than ever, lawyers realize that technology is a powerful differentiator in building a better normal going forward and legal professionals who had hesitated to adopt technology in the past were suddenly forced to rapidly adapt to this new reality.”
Included in the report was an analysis of data from tens of thousands of legal professionals comparing revenue earnings of firms using multiple cloud-based, client-centered solutions that are part of the Clio platform. The analysis showed that firms using electronic payments, client portals, and client intake and CRM solutions collected nearly $20,000 more per lawyer in 2019. In 2020, firms using these solutions are projected to collect nearly $40,000 more, indicating that these technologies have significantly mitigated the impact of the pandemic on these firms and is accelerating their recovery.
The future of brick-and-mortar legal services remains uncertain among lawyers. Included in this year’s report was a MaxDiff analysis designed to better understand what’s most important to legal professionals and their clients. Operating out of commercial office space ranked the least important to both legal professionals and their clients, while using technology to organize their firm was determined to be one of the most important success indicators by lawyers.
Survey data also showed that physical, in-person legal services are far from the default for law firms with 79% of law firms relying on cloud technology to store firm data, and 83% meeting with clients virtually.
The shift to virtual, cloud-based legal services may already be well underway. Seven percent of legal professionals said that they had let go of their commercial office space after the start of the pandemic, and 12% are unsure if they will keep their commercial office space in the future.
The majority of consumers also favor a lawyer who offers technology solutions with 69% of consumers preferring to share documents electronically, 65% preferring to pay through electronic payments, and 56% preferring video conferencing over a phone call.
Moreover, both lawyers and consumers see the benefit of the permanent implementation of technology. Ninety-six percent of legal professionals plan to continue using cloud technology beyond the pandemic to store firm data, while 37% of consumers said that in the future, most if not all lawyers should run their practice virtually.
“The future of the legal industry will be cloud-based and client-centered,” said Newton. “The advantages of better service, increased efficiency, and a more flexible business environment will only continue to benefit both lawyers and their clients.”
Client satisfaction—and the resulting reviews and referrals—were the most important factors to firm success, which creates a strong impetus for tailoring legal services to client needs.
Consumers also indicated that issues related to the affordability of legal services, as well as transparency into overall costs and payment flexibility, were key in determining the hireability of a lawyer. As many lawyers turn to technology to streamline firm operations, often beyond the walls of a commercial office space, we may be seeing an opportunity for lawyers to redefine their pricing and payment strategies through payment plans, flat fee services, unbundled legal services, and subscription to help open up their services to underserved legal markets that would be otherwise unable to afford legal services.
Now in its fifth year, the 2020 report includes Clio’s real-time analysis on the impacts of COVID-19 on the legal industry from March to August encapsulating: anonymized and aggregated responses from 150,000 legal professionals using Clio over the last two years, as well as, survey responses from 1,000 legal professionals and 1,000 general consumers in the U.S on what they deem most important to them today and in a post-COVID world.
Access a full copy of the 2020 report at clio.com/ltr.
Clio, the leader in cloud-based legal technology, empowers lawyers to be both client-centered and firm focused through a suite of cloud-based solutions, including legal practice management software and client intake and legal CRM software. Clio has been transforming the industry for over a decade with 150,000 customers spanning 100 countries, and the approval of over 66 bar associations and law societies globally. Clio continues to lead the industry with initiatives like the Legal Trends Report, the Clio Cloud Conference, and the Clio Academic Access Program. Clio has been recognized as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies, a Deloitte Fast 50 and Fast 500 company, and, most recently, Company of the Year, Anchor Success by the British Columbia Tech Association. Learn more at clio.com.
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