When Selas Technologies set out to build the NuLaw legal case management application, they knew they would be competing in a growing field of legal tech providers. They knew they had to create an application that went above and beyond the competition in meeting the needs of law firms and corporate legal departments.
Selas Technologies is by no means alone. With thousands of legal tech startups around the world, the competition for limited market share is fierce. Some companies are choosing to focus on just one particular area, making market share even more hard to come by. All of this is good in the sense that competition improves products and services. But it’s bad in the sense that legal tech companies are sometimes their own worst enemies.
As we close the pages on 2019, here are the top five hurdles legal tech companies will face in 2020:
1. Too Much Technology
Is it possible to have too much of a good thing? Absolutely. Some would say that the legal sector finds itself in that very position right now. So much technology has emerged in recent years that law firms now have what seems like an endless supply of technology solutions to choose from. That is not necessarily a good thing.
Convincing law firms to adopt technology is hard enough. But when customers have so many choices, things can easily become overwhelming. That leads to law firms either making bad choices or simply avoiding technology altogether. At some point, the legal tech sector is going to have to back off and let customers catch up.
2. Lack of Interoperability
Hand-in-hand with too much technology is the reality that so many solutions suffer from a lack of interoperability. The issue is very similar to the electronic records quandary now facing the healthcare sector. If systems lack interoperability, they can create more problems than they solve.
NuLaw’s billing module fully integrates with a number of popular accounting programs. That’s good. But not every case management application does so. When such interoperability is lacking, a law firm has to work separately with case management and billing data. Often times this means overlap and task duplication.
3. Security Concerns
As you might expect, security is a big thing as legal tech moves forward. The more technologically advanced the legal sector becomes, the greater the risks. Legal tech providers cannot ignore those risks. They also can’t afford to be late to the game. Legal tech has to be on the cutting edge of developing new security strategies given the nature of the data their solutions are designed to handle.
4. Privacy Concerns
Privacy is a concern on the same level as security. The privacy we are talking about here is client privacy. Clients are not necessarily happy to learn that their attorneys are moving everything to the cloud. They may be more unhappy when they learn that their data has been moved to the cloud without their knowledge or permission.
5. The Legal Culture
Last but not least is the culture of the legal sector. This may be the biggest hurdle of all. The practice of law is rich with history and tradition that dates back hundreds of years. That history and tradition can be so entrenched in a law firm that trying anything new is almost impossible. Legal tech has the unenviable task of breaking through cultural barriers to convince attorneys that there are better ways to do things.
Legal tech has its work cut out for it in 2020. How will legal tech providers respond? Time will tell.