We don’t have 12 jurors to get a consensus of what challenges and trends will impact the legal profession come the New Year, but our vast experience with law firms allows us to play judge and jury to help enlighten you. Some of these may or may not come as a surprise, but they’ll be areas that the legal industry must consider to remain safe and successful.
For instance, we believe that cybersecurity will be the industry’s biggest challenge. We’re used to hearing news reports about breaches in the medical and retail worlds – like those from Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Target – but we never hear about breaches in the legal world. Law firms have become a veritable treasure trove for hackers in the past five to 10 years. Hackers are now getting to big corporate data through much less secure routes, such as outside counsel. Law firms must deploy advanced security measures – like those offered via All Covered Security Services – that identify and mitigate the risks to their clients’ and the firms’ assets, especially personally identifiable information (PII).
As firms strive to smooth out the peaks and valleys of their revenue through new practice areas and better management, we see a great increase in cloud adoption. Although many law firms have been very apprehensive about migrating their data to the cloud, we’re seeing Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) becoming more prevalent in firms with many moving at least some – if not all – of their applications and data to the cloud. The primary reasons are to improve the efficiency of their workflows and business processes and to ultimately reduce their IT costs. That’s why we’re glad that All Covered, our IT Services division, offers cloud services that can provision virtual servers in a private cloud for firms.
One of the last trends we see is the drive for further cost savings from the eDiscovery process, specifically through managed review. Law firms are being challenged to gain better outcomes from their discovery work. They’re going from outsourcing 20 percent of the discovery process to about 70 to 80 percent using licensed attorneys who work for a vendor at a 40 percent reduction in spend. Added to this, recent amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure make electronically stored information (ESI) – such as emails, text messages and voicemails – on hand-held devices discoverable in litigation. This explosive growth of ESI has increased the cost and complexity of the eDiscovery process and significantly altered large-scale litigation. Answers to this dilemma are within the realm of our All Covered digital forensics solutions and our Dispatcher Phoenix Legal Solution, which is an advanced workflow automation application designed to streamline these kinds of legal workflows. It saves time by simplifying the process of preparing case files for clients, courts and legal discovery.
We’ve witnessed many firms that are not effectively addressing these challenges and trends, whether it’s due to limited budgets, staffing resources, etc. But dismissing them will eventually cause great harm to their own firm or their clients. The evidence of their inactions will prove them liable – leading to a swift “Guilty” verdict.