By Norm Mullock, VP, Strategy, Wilson Allen

At Wilson Allen, we see more and more law firms focusing on the full breadth of the client/matter life cycle and increasingly at either end of it. While much of the industry’s technology focus continues to be drawn to the final (current) wave of change in practice management solutions, business development and client feedback represent huge areas of targeted process improvements for many firms. These processes will become ever more important, particularly for larger firms, as the competitive pressures exerted by the Big Four and the like increase, and as more companies look to in-house counsel to meet their legal needs.

While not explicitly identified as a specific priority, much work is needed if the industry is really going to achieve 74% cloud CRM deployments. Accomplishing this will require extensive work in data governance, architecture and system integration. This effort is made all the more challenging because so many case management, matter management/project management, cost recovery and practice management systems are predominantly on-premises. These challenges are magnified as more firms adopt improved, modern client matter-intake solutions, which both feed, and are fed by, their CRM platforms.

Likewise, one can expect a wholesale change in the industry’s approach to business intelligence (BI). Presumably, there will still be standalone BI providers (although according to the numbers, they will be expected to be in the cloud – only 10% will be onpremises by 2024), helping firms to generate traditional performance metrics. At the same time, automation will drive new data, metrics and understanding, enriched by machine learning and distributed to leadership (and clients) in many forms, with or without the aid of data scientists. The data will inform business development and business acceptance, which will no longer be disconnected and siloed efforts. Data quality and master data management will both play critical roles.

Busy times lie ahead for legal IT departments. As such, there’s no better time to identify a trusted technology partner best suited to help you navigate the changing landscape – one that understands your business and has experience across all areas where your firm has made technology investments.

Article first published in Briefing Frontiers 2020 Legal IT Landscapes Page 33