Small firms

Taking law firm business intelligence to the next level

Lauren Colbeck, head of product at Access Legal, explains the huge potential data can offer law firms and how it could solve many of the challenges facing the legal sector.

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The way we generate and see data in the legal profession has changed dramatically over the last decade.

By its very nature, data is at the centre of everything a law firm does.

In conveyancing, for example, there’s a whole raft of complex data that must be efficiently shared in a timely manner between a range of parties including the:

  • vendor
  • purchaser
  • estate agent
  • mortgage lender
  • HM Land Registry
  • property search providers

On top of this, the lawyer holds and understands the ever-changing information on conveyancing regulations, how the law must be practised and how risks should be avoided.

Divorce is another data-heavy area of the law.

The client’s data must be captured accurately, recorded carefully and communicated effectively, often during extremely emotional circumstances, before the parties can reach a conclusion.

Personal injury law is another complex and highly regulated area where lawyers are trusted with data that is highly personal and sensitive.

Personal injury lawyers gather and review evidence and a whole manner of other data sets that they must present on behalf of their clients, sometimes with life-changing outcomes.

The same is true for:

  • criminal law firms
  • court of protection lawyers
  • specialists in immigration law, and
  • commercial law firms

The expert handling of data of all types goes on to different extents throughout all areas of law.

Lawyers are witnesses to a digital explosion

However, there’s an even bigger data story to be told for the legal profession in 2022 and beyond.

In our lifetime, we've witnessed an enormous and ongoing data explosion. Never before has data been so discussed, regulated and valued.

According to Statista, there were 4.66 billion active internet users worldwide in January 2021, and each and every time one of those users makes a click, they generate more bytes of data.

In fact, further Google research suggests that in 2020 the average person generated 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day.

The COVID-19 pandemic rapidly accelerated the adoption of technology in all areas of our lives. These revolutionary times have set consumer expectations of digital solutions to an all-time high.

Law firm clients expect to interact with their solicitor and other law firm staff securely online.

In addition, the amount of business intelligence available, as a result of the widespread digital adoption, is phenomenal.

Many law firms have an appetite for digital disruption

Whilst the legal profession has traditionally been criticised for being slow to adopt technology, many of the law firms that we talk to every day are hungry for digital disruption and greater data visibility.

Whilst many law firms are steeped in tradition, firms are learning from the most consumer-centric sectors such as retail and banking. For a long time, these sectors have benefited from the use of business intelligence and data analytics.

The consumerisation of the legal sector is driven by growing competition and changing client expectations.

By connecting multiple systems and information sets, law firms can use it to improve their competitor positioning. How firms use the data they hold is the answer to many of the sector’s challenges.

For a profession that has been making data pay for centuries, the current data explosion brings a whole additional level of insight into client behaviour, needs and expectations.

Having made a huge success of making data pay for centuries, law firms are well positioned to embrace the data explosion of the 21st century and take full advantage of the huge dividends on offer via data analytics and business intelligence.

Tech for law firms that goes way beyond managing caseloads

Research shows that the businesses that have used data to improve customer service are successful retaining existing customers and winning new ones.

With the advent of digital solutions, such as access workspace for legal – a digital solution that can connect every aspect of your operations into one single view – law firms will finally be able to join all the dots between all their data from multiple systems and do the same.

Things have evolved quickly over the last decade in the legal IT space for law firms. Today, firms are looking for practice management and business intelligence software that goes beyond managing caseloads.

They want an all-in-one-place solution that offers a collaborative space where crucial data is presented with simplicity, giving them the confidence to make sound business decisions.

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