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Future-proofing firms through smart technology adoption

By AdvocateDaily.com Staff

With so many pressures developing in the practice of law, technology and the efficiencies it offers may well help lessen some of them, says Korbitec Inc. president Alan Bass.

“There’s more technology available now to help lawyers better run their firms —from document automation tools like ours to accounting systems, cloud-based offerings and other software,” Bass tells AdvocateDaily.com.

That technology, too, is evolving. There has been a great deal of advancement in the past decade and there’s no sign of that letting up, he says.

Korbitec has been providing the legal industry with document assembly and automation solutions for more than 40 years, and Bass says that in dealing with lawyers, he has observed some marked changes in the profession recently:

  • Clients are more demanding and some are sitting in the driver’s seat, a sharp departure from what has been the norm for so long: lawyers driving the relationship with clients.
  • There are ongoing discussions in Canada about alternative business structures (ABS) for law firms. The Canadian legal industry has been keeping an eye on Australia and the United Kingdom, where non-lawyers are permitted to own law firms so that they become more like corporations.
  • There have been calls to take a fresh look at what lawyers need to learn in law school and the type of professional development that’s required after they’ve graduated, Bass adds.
  • There is an emerging shift in partner track aspirations. These days, some young lawyers are simply not interested in becoming partner, opting instead for flexibility or a better work-life balance, he explains.

“All of these changes are related,” Bass says. “The fact that the practice of law is changing means the skill set that young associates need has also changed. They need to learn sound business practices, perhaps some basic accounting, marketing, people skills and time management.

“ABS has a great deal of potential because it could bring a new level of professional management into law firms, and that requires a different skill set from practising law,” he says.

In the context of a competitive legal market, Bass says he expects the appetite for solid business acumen will continue to grow.

“In order to survive and thrive, lawyers will need to be more agile, acquiring skills they weren’t exposed to in law school — accounting, marketing, rainmaking, relationship management, good business practices,” he says.

That’s where the practice of law intersects with technology, Bass says.

“Employing the right technology can improve efficiency and customer satisfaction,” he says. “The landscape is changing, and the firms that succeed will be the ones that take advantage of software products and other technology that allow them to focus more of their efforts on clients and less on administration.”

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