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Recent statistics show that the UK workforce is more inefficient than all other g7 countries. http://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/feb/18/uk-productivity-gap-widens-to-worst-level-since-records-began. This increasing gap means that our workers produce significantly less per hour than other nations and in turn generate less for the companies employing them. This ‘productivity gap’ is prevalent across sector and whilst manufacturing leads the way, the service sector is a close second. So in the age of time recording, compliance and regulation; has this generation of lawyers become ineffective?
I have written other blogs about the evolving legal market and my belief (hopefully shared by others!) that to remain competitive firms need to find ways to drive efficiencies. The intention of The legal Services act is to liberalise the legal marketplace and as such we are now subject to the same competition that other professional services industries have faced for years. To thrive in the legal market firms of all sizes need to embrace the challenges head on, evolve and become more efficient. Otherwise they just cannot hope to compete with a growing number of customer centric ABS’s. So how can our legal team become more efficient?
Just last month the law society highlighted a need for law firms to embrace technology as a way to drive efficiency https://www.sra.org.uk/sra/news/press/innovation-legal-sector.page and I think the use of technology will become increasingly fundamental. We must innovate. The use of technology is not just about providing a lawyer with additional tools to reduce administrative burden and allow them to focus purely on fee producing activity (though this is key) but also to allow agile and flexible working, customer interaction through social media, disaster recovery and data collection.
Riverview Law (one high profile customer centric ABS!) has launched ‘Kim’ (knowledge, intelligence, meaning) the virtual assistant that hit the market at the end of last year. http://www.riverviewlaw.com/meet-kim-the-power-behind-riverview-laws-legal-virtual-assistant-plans/. Kim will combine CliXLEX, which Riverview acquired in August, with the output from its research and development unit, and other technologies the company has invested in. The technology will be able to take on a multitude of tasks for lawyers, combining the company’s legal expertise with automation and expert systems. All of this has one aim – the drive for efficiency harnessing technology.
I have no doubt that we will see numerous other products for the legal market that will have a similar aim to Kim. Given that the legal profession is notoriously slow to embrace change and technological advancement I hope that we wont fear these innovations but instead recognise that we must challenge the status quo in order to compete.