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Trends That Are Shaping the Future Requirements of Law Firms

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Technological advancements have made a profound impact in all aspect of our lives. And as a result, many businesses are pushing forward with their digital agendas.

Digitisation has made its way into the legal system, too. The UK government published its policy paper in 2017, setting out how to develop a world-leading digital economy that works for everyone. For both the government and law firms, this change is mostly driven by client pressure, according to The Law Society.

This change means that digitising your firm’s processes is vital if you want to stay competitive, which will bring considerable challenges because the technologies used for bespoke software applications are always evolving. For this reason, it’s vital to look at the latest trends in bespoke software development.

Specialist API Integrations
APIs are used everywhere, from the embedded social media posts you see on news articles to the Google Maps platform Uber uses to find your location. The revolution of APIs now provides businesses with new opportunities, expanding business capabilities by collaborating with developers and third-party companies. There has been a noticeable rise in legal firms choosing to utilise high quality external API rather than solely relying on bespoke development, increasingly focusing on integration between various services. One such example is to integrate DocuSign APIs to allow seamless electronic signatures within a document management environment with which law firms are familiar.

Efficiently Contained
A law firm’s IT department may also find containers an efficient way to deploy applications and maintain servers. Containers allow for apps to be developed and run in different operating systems within one server. These containers also allow for multiple applications to run within a single OS. Systems like Docker and Kubernetes can enable your developers to create and deploy your company’s applications and APIs without the need to buy more servers, reducing costs and shortening start-times.

External Specialists
One of the challenges of digitising law firms is hiring and onboarding a team of professional developers to create custom applications. Their salaries are often costly, and the human resources department have to spend time recruiting and retaining each applicant. One possible way to negate this challenge is to collaborate with external companies that already have a roster of experienced developers to work on your applications, allowing law firms to focus on their core business and not get distracted with specialist software development challenges.

Better Security
The Law Society’s Lawtech Adoption Research found that one of the barriers in law firm digitisation is security concerns. You may find it difficult to trust online storage when it comes to keeping your confidential files, as breaches can happen. As such, you should only trust software providers and developers that have a track record of rigorously testing their products’ security. And they should also guarantee compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation and ISO standards.

The Rise of AI
Artificial intelligence or AI is the use of machines and software to emulate human tasks. When an AI system can take in data and learn how to apply them, it’s called machine learning. Law firms can benefit from programming AI systems to review documents for possible grammatical and legal issues, making legal processes faster and more convenient.

AI may also help with research, as platforms like ROSS Intelligence can bring up documents, cases, and laws and explain them in a matter of seconds. With enough data and thorough programming, it can even be used to anticipate the outcome of a case. While these innovations are still in their infancy, the potential is there to benefit the legal sector in a profound manner.

There is little doubt that these trends will continue to evolve and shape how law firms deliver legal services. It can be argued that those who have robust and collaborative partnerships with leading legal technology vendors and innovators will be best positioned to take advantage of the benefits of bespoke software development whilst maintaining high standards required by the legal profession.

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