This week, PwC published their 2013 Annual Law Firms’ Survey. The survey showed some mixed results for the UK’s legal sector, revealing that the Top 10 UK firms are finally starting to recover from the financial crisis, reporting consistently improved financial KPIs through 2013. However, mid- and lower-tier firms are struggling; not only have financial KPIs not improved on 2012, but in fact they have reduced on average.
These results indicate an urgent need for firms to innovate and find new offerings to draw clients in, while streamlining their operations and services. Investing in technology is key to this, whether that’s invest in their existing technology or new technology. Understandably, cash-strapped firms have been holding back on investing in infrastructure projects, particularly IT. Many firms are beginning to understand the need to invest in technology in order to grow, and are recognising the direct impacts of technology on financial performance. PwC’s survey reported that 20% of firms admitted they saw their IT systems as “a weakness that needs improvement”, and 80% identified their top priority as the need to implement or upgrade their IT systems.
It is clear that investing in technology is important, whether firms choose to focus on improving their existing investments in technology or make new investments. Technology is changing at a tremendous pace. Enterprise technology is being influenced by the consumer world and major trends such as social, mobile and cloud. This ultimately means clients of law firms are making more and more demands on law firms’ infrastructure and functionality. Technology that facilitates secure file sharing, client relationship extranets, knowledge portals are essential for the future of the UK legal sector.
In a climate of decline, investing in improved efficiency, reduced costs and improvements in client experience are essential for the recovery and growth of UK firms, particularly those from the mid- and lower-tiers. By streamlining and centralising operations through legal technology, firms are able to reduce fees, introduce alternative billing, increase transparency and provide the added-value services to clients that is quickly becoming standard.
PwC predicts that 2013 will be seen as a year that marked a major shift in the legal sector. Perhaps we have reached the tipping point where firms finally realise they need to invest in “modern” technology in order to move forward and stay competitive. Up until now, growth hasn’t recovered by following traditional practices. Innovation is needed, and luckily for law firms, the options are out there to help them to grow.
To find out about how HighQ can provide tailored technology solutions for law firms, please contact us.