What the new year holds for the legal sector?
Looking at it from a global perspective, the economy will be significantly changing in many ways in 2019 and for years to come. There are so many different factors that will alter the sector as a whole and these are just a few of the elements contributing to the sector’s evolution:
Increasing Alternative Service Providers (ASPs)
Originally, ASP’s were a minuscule threat to traditional law firms, so much so that the largest law firms didn’t pay much attention to that area of the market. Although, that is no longer the case as even though the highest grossing ASPs are still making considerably less than the larger firms, they are now making enough for them to take notice and label the ASPs as true competition. This next year could see firms really thinking whether to take on these types of clients before the corporate clients cross over and the scales tip the other way.
Law department spin offs
As corporate law departments grow more and more talented, it’s likely that in the year to come. Larger businesses with established law departments could break off as standalone firms or ASPs. Having a plethora of experience already under their belt as well as a possible global reach, greater scale and a strong anchor client to start with (being their parent company), it’s likely these types of firms could challenge the traditional legal market.
With the latest advances in technology and customer service in other sectors. 2019, will see strong developments in LawTech. Whether firms will want to embrace the change or fight the evolution the increased use of tech will become an essential within the legal sector in order to remain competitive. Apps and platforms will provide firms with faster and more secure processes. Rather than piles of paperwork needing to be manually filled, a number of virtual programmes will be readily available to assist in these menial tasks.
Hand in hand with these developments, the use of AI and chatbots to assist in customer service and feedback to clients will see a rise. Freeing lawyers time and improving the efficiency of these processes.
Courts are also coming into the 21stcentury and the technology being used is incredibly refined. From digital filing to video conferencing, courtrooms and processes are becoming globally digitalised and this will only develop more in the years to come. Why? To improve reliability, visibility and transparency of UK court systems.
With the economy being ever-changing due to Brexit developments and legislative uncertainty, it’s hard to know the direct outcome of what might happen in the legal sector, but we certainly know that 2019 will bring significant change to the sector as a whole and firms will be scrabbling to be awarded the key tech player in the industry.