Data and analytics have revolutionised the way companies operate. When used intelligently and securely, data simplifies company operations, informs decision-making, and fosters more robust customer relationships. Yet, the legal industry struggles to follow suit.
There is a wealth of untapped potential and possibility for the legal industry in the digital age — from the automation of time-heavy processes to developing client relationships. Law firms that embrace digital transformation, make data central to their service offering, and understand the importance of legal analytics will find themselves attracting and retaining a stronger, more lucrative client base in the years to come.
Client expectations are evolving. Led by innovation in other sectors, clients now make data central to their decision-making process. Law is no different. Clients expect lawyers to support their decision-making with data. The legal industry must use data to develop a more nuanced understanding of their clients and their needs. Firms need a full, 360-degree view of the client — encompassing relationships, billables, and future opportunities. Data-powered decision-making is the norm for most industries, and it is time for legal to adapt accordingly.
Data provides law firms with a much deeper understanding of their clients — offering new insight into their immediate needs, long-term priorities, and potential pitfalls. Firms providing their clients with deeper, actionable insights backed up by data will have a considerable advantage over their competitors.
To deliver these insights, legal teams need connected data. Connected data breaks down silos within firms by creating one secure, centralised data hub accessible across the business. Every channel combines to provide a greater understanding of the client, enabling increased collaboration across teams and practice areas. From partners, lawyers, and associates to marketing and business development, every team will have a complete picture of the client and their needs.
Data prediction shifts the role of a law firm to be more proactive, utilising a wealth of data to identify a client’s imminent and future legal needs. For example, data analysis of market trends and predictions may suggest that a client will likely sell high-value assets soon — possibly before the client has reached the same conclusion.
Law firms that have thoroughly embedded data analytics into their operational processes can provide actionable insights to underpin client decision-making. The role of a lawyer becomes more proactive, offering guidance and becoming a more predictive and cost-effective partner to their clients. This change is especially relevant for firms acting as the primary legal advisor for major enterprises and high net-worth clients. Equipped with the right data, firms can shift to a more predictive, holistic service model — identifying and mitigating major risks, gauging performance, and adding a new dimension to their client relationships.
Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have advanced significantly over the last few years, enabling companies to streamline and automate time and resource-heavy operations. When paired with AI, data can simplify the internal operations of a law firm. Data provides the traditionally labour-intensive industry with the long-overdue opportunity to streamline and create new operational efficiencies.
These technologies can facilitate time-consuming tasks, such as producing documents, guiding clients through step-by-step processes, and research. Teams can pull relevant results from a database, look for rulings in a specific area, and identify possible inconsistencies. In the business development process, automation and AI can help teams prioritise leads, suggest next steps, and automate the sending of routine documents. Automation and AI enable firms to allocate time productively and efficiently.
Data will not displace human intelligence in the legal sector. But the firms that combine their human intelligence with data will offer richer, unified insight and advice that goes deeper. The rapid acceleration of AI and automation will change the structure and skills required in the industry, as research becomes the domain of AI, supervised by people. The global, agile firms that break down silos can offer a unique, personalised service to clients.
By embracing digital transformation, law firms can become client-centric businesses on every level. Salesforce enables those in the legal industry to harness the potential of data and the power of analytics. As a platform, Salesforce helps law firms create rich, unified experiences for clients no matter their scale, size, and requirements. It drives growth through digital transformation and data acceleration — using AI to interpret unprecedented volumes of critical information at speed and scale. Our Client 360 approach enables law firms to unite their essential human expertise with advanced data science to create the personalised, pro-active law firms of the future.
Read more in our 'Future of Law Firms Now' ebook.