Legal tech CEOs urge lawyers to keep innovating beyond the COVID-19 pandemic

ABA Techshow

Jack Newton from Clio (above) and Ed Walters from Fastcase speak during their panel at ABA Techshow 2021 on Tuesday.

Lawyers should continue to leverage and develop the technological and business innovations they have introduced in recent months even after the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided, two leading legal technology leaders said at ABA Techshow 2021 on Tuesday.

“We have an opportunity today to work toward that third horizon or to retreat to that first horizon,” said Ed Walters, CEO and co-founder of legal research firm Fastcase. He enthusiastically encouraged attendees to “build the legal services and law firms of 2022, not rebuild what was broken in 2019.”

Jack Newton, CEO and Co-Founder of cloud-based Clio, said one way lawyers and corporations can thrive in this fast-changing market is to take a customer-centric approach rather than an attorney-centric approach.

Businesses can do this by, for example, creating a Google My Business profile so that potential customers can quickly find the company online. Lawyers can also implement technology and processes to ensure clients can easily communicate with their law firms from the beginning to the end of their legal affairs.

Follow the ABA Journal’s coverage of the ABA Techshow 2021 here.

During the Techshow session, titled “Innovations Towards a Better Normal”, Newton also highlighted several statistics from the Clio Legal Trends Report 2020 showing that customers prefer to work with companies that offer many electronic services .

For example, 69% of consumers prefer to work with a lawyer who can exchange documents electronically, and more than 50% of consumers believe that most legal matters can be handled remotely. Newton said that law firms and attorneys have adopted such tools to a much greater extent during the pandemic, and those who haven’t would be wise to do so.

“This is how you will be successful in this new environment,” said Newton, author of The Client-Centered Law Firm: How to Be Successful in an Experiential World.

Meanwhile, Walters said the introduction of electronic tools would help lawyers spend more time on billable matters for clients and less on administrative tasks.

“The administrative burden of some of this work can overwhelm your ability to make money on your day,” said Walters. “So if you can reduce that administrative burden by getting help, using software, and expanding your markets, that way you can be customer-centric and cloud-based.”

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