Many lawyers say tech tools are lacking

Many lawyers aren't exactly thrilled with new technology being used in their work, a recent survey shows. It's bad in the US, but it's even worse across the pond, in the UK, the survey found. 

Intapp, a provider of business applications for professional services firms, performed the survey, which was designed to look at the dynamics that make for a successful law firm and lawyer. Despite growing awareness of the need for modern technology solutions to meet client needs and boost profitability, the survey showed that law firm use of technology designed specifically for legal applications still has a lot of room for improvement.

The survey, conducted in partnership with YouGov, polled 258 lawyers at firms with 50-plus employees: 133 in the US and 125 in the UK. It revealed that lawyers recognise the importance of using software that is purpose-built for their needs and those of their clients as opposed to generic solutions, but that many are still grappling with the outmoded technology that isn’t industry-specific. 

The research showed that 46 percent of U.K. lawyers surveyed are using technology that does not meet their needs and that some lawyers are finding the technology they use is too complex and creates more work than it saves (28 percent). Many lawyers felt that their office technology experience would be improved if they had access to more intuitive software (42 percent) and if that technology had a better user interface (40 percent). Nearly half (48 percent) said software more tailored to the business of law would also help with this.  

While the results across the US and the UK remained mostly consistent, findings illustrated that UK lawyers (46 percent) were more likely than US lawyers (35 percent) to feel that the technology they use every day doesn’t fully meet their needs, and more UK lawyers (42 percent) felt that law firms need to invest more in technologies that support legal work, when compared with US lawyers (20 percent). 

The results also showed that over a third (38 percent) of UK lawyers, and 31 percent of US lawyers are considering a career change in the next year, and 19 percent of these UK and US lawyers cited the outmoded technology that their firm uses as a reason for this.

In an increasingly competitive climate, where law firms are dealing with more data, the rise of the empowered client, and competition to recruit a new wave of tech-savvy millennials entering the workforce, there’s a pressing need for firms to review processes and technologies in place to ensure that they are designed with lawyers and the industry in mind. 

“When it comes to supplying technology solutions, there must be an appreciation of the processes and tasks that are unique to an industry and a specific employee’s role,” said Chris Turk, Intapp regional vice president. “This is reflected in our survey results, which demonstrate that there is a clear demand for technology used by law firms to be more intuitive and, ultimately, tailored to the legal industry in order to fit the needs of lawyers today.”