The internet helped evolve law and technology from being primarily print based and word of mouth into what it is today—meaning law firms no longer have to rely solely on personal referrals and printed ads to generate leads.

However, with the recent widespread emergence of disruptive technology, the way progressive law firms market themselves has stepped up a gear and so the law firms that have historically struggled to keep up are being left even further behind.

Law and technology: A third era?

Once upon a time, having a website and a Google Analytics account was enough. Now these are considered ‘necessities’ and won’t keep your firm competitive for long—at best, it’ll help you merely keep up.

Because of the direction and pace of technological advances, in just a few years time law firms and technology will struggle to disentangle themselves, making it more important than ever that you pay attention to the tech trends in your industry.

This can be achieved by having either an internal individual or outsourced agency responsible for researching and understanding the value of new tech solutions and how they can aid your firm.

Our yearly State of the Industry report, offers firms a way of benchmarking their law firm and technology usage against that of their peers. Contribute to this year’s by entering our 2018 survey here.

Upcoming changes within law and technology…

As the acting marketing department for many of our legal clients, it’s our responsibility to keep an eye on the upcoming technologies that are set to impact professional services firms.

The two we recommend keeping an eye on in 2018 are Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence. We outline why and how below…

Augmented Reality (AR)

What it is: AR merges the virtual and real world by dropping virtual images directly onto live video or into the view of headset wearers.

An example: Tech company Exhibit Interactive have made headway with AR, using it to highlight the true potential Augmented Reality has to offer by placing a school hall based in Worcester into a visitor centre in London.

How AR can improve current law and technology practises: When it comes to leveraging AR in your law firm, there are countless opportunities. It can be used as a remote guidance tool for clients by placing documents and guides on your desk instantly, making your firm more accessible than your competitors. AR can also make experts more accessible, by placing them within client’s office even if they’re based hundreds of miles away. This can enable your clients to have a more personal experience, rather than talking over the phone or on video chat, both of which can be impersonal and impractical.

How it can apply to marketing: By integrating AR into your service offering, not only are you positioning your fee earners as leaders in technology, but you have a marketable differentiator which sets you apart in an ultra-competitive landscape.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

What it is: In its most simple form, AI is the broad concept of machines being able to carry out tasks that we would label as being ‘smart’ (ones we’ve previously thought only humans could do). Machine Learning is an application of AI; a machine is presented with a new task and, through trial and error, gathers data to work out how to perform the task (without needing to be programmed beforehand).

An example: Earlier this year, JPMorgan announced that it’s using software called Contract Intelligence, which performs document review tasks within seconds. This kind of task previously took legal aides 360,000 hours.

How AI can improve current law and technology practises: Along with the example we’ve given above, AI can be used to automate and reduce manual tasks. Fact checking, automatically billing lawyers’ hours, and reporting on trends and patterns of win/loss rates with a judge’s history, all have the potential to be replaced with AI software.

How it can apply to marketing: One of the many challenges marketing faces at the moment is the fact that many people have become deaf to obvious and loud tactics. By using data provided by machine learning algorithms, marketers have the option to be more subtle—something that is particularly attractive to law firms. Targeted ads are set to become more streamlined and specific, while hyper-targeted personalisation will become the norm in every interactionmeaning your website can be programmed to specifically tailor to a prospective client.

If you want to understand what your peers are doing when it comes to law and technology…

…we’re currently running our 2018 State of the Industry survey, which reviews marketing tactics other firms in the professional services sector use, and how successful they are. To receive the full report for free (and be in with a chance to win an Apple Watch) take three minutes out of your day to answer 19 multiple choice questions.

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