A new study by Olive Communications, a managed cloud communications provider, found that one in three consumers would like their solicitors to offer digital services.
The study, which drew on the views of 1,000 consumers and 500 UK law firms, also revealed that 70% of consumers would choose a ‘lawbot’ – an automated online system – to handle their legal affairs over a human lawyer because it’s cheaper, faster and simpler.
Martin Flick, CEO of Olive Communications, said: “Today’s busy, always on and mobile first consumer wants to buy goods and services, and communicate with sellers whenever, wherever, and however they choose.”
“Increasingly this is through digital interaction. When it comes to their lawyer or solicitor, they want to engage in the same way, without the frustration of having to wait days for paper documents to arrive in the post or for an email to come through with the answer to a question that could be easily resolved with an instant message or automated response.”
“Consumers want more control over their legal affairs with sometimes, little or no human intervention, and with the speed, efficiency, and security that multiple channel web-based communications offer.”
Who is digitally transforming
The study found that a significant portion of law firms are embracing new technology internally, for example, 69% are using IM and chat to communicate with each other. However, few of these firms are extending the use of technology externally to enhance the client experience.
The study also found that the law firms currently using the latest digital communications are saving up to £200,000 a year. While 73% have seen improvements in people efficiency, productivity and business agility.
Mike Gilpin, director of IT at Kennedys, a global law firm, said: “At Kennedys it has been essential to digitally transform, for our global growing business and for our business customers. We have seen increased profitability and efficiencies through the implementation of technology at every level and welcome the new ways of client communication as it resolves issues faster, which benefits the clients and the firm.”
“The majority of our workforce is mobile and, therefore, require agile services that connect them securely and at speed. We have also embraced the latest technology innovations to future-proof our business and ensure better client customer service and retention.”
Held back by security and disclosure fears
While the bottom line benefits are evident, 39% of law firms worry about data breaches and cyber-attacks when using online automated systems and web-based communications.
More than a quarter are also concerned about breaching GDPR, and 40% fear disclosure failings and regulations around custodian driven data collection.
Flick concluded: “As we look to the future, on our journey to the fourth industrial revolution these services will be the norm, so it’s important for law firms to get on board now and digitally engage with their staff and their clients, and in the way that they want, need and expect.”