As they navigate a world where innovation is reshaping professions, law firms often find themselves caught in the undertow of technological advancements as they work to identify efficiencies, manage information, and protect against security threats. To better understand the changes shaping the industry and the most common challenges facing firms as they modernize, the ShareFile team launched our first LinkedIn Live event, The New Legal Paradigm: Challenges, Trends, and Strategies for Success. We welcomed Bob Ambrogi and David Lat, two influential legal thought leaders with unique professional experience, to the conversation.
Before the event, I met Bob at ILTACON in August, just after we launched ShareFile for Legal. Bob’s career has taken him to the intersection of law, media, and technology. A lawyer, journalist, media consultant, and blogger, Bob is known internationally for his expertise in legal technology, practice, and ethics. He writes the award-winning blog LawSites, is a columnist for Above the Law and the ABA Journal, and hosts LawNext, a podcast about innovation in law. He also serves as publisher and editor-in-chief for the legal publishing and software company LexBlog.
David is founding editor of Above the Law, regularly covering law and the legal profession in his newsletter, Original Jurisdiction. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and, most recently, Bloomberg Law via his Exclusive Jurisdiction column. Before entering the media world, David was a federal prosecutor, a litigation associate, and a law clerk to a federal appeals court judge.
For the LinkedIn Live, we wanted to bring together these two thought leaders to share their perspectives. During the session, we identified and explored the top pain points and challenges plaguing law firms, including:
1. The intricacies of time-consuming client onboarding and administrative tasks
2. The struggle to manage and categorize a myriad of documents effectively
3. The complexities of navigating disjointed technology stacks
4. The importance of establishing secure workflows to mitigate security risks
5. The pervasive issue of overreliance on email communication
Here are a few can’t-miss moments from the event:
“Lawyers have to do more with less. Clients expect legal services to be delivered more efficiently and with no dip in quality.”
The talent market has shifted. Over the last 12 months, the market has moved from a seller’s to a buyer’s market with less lateral career movement and shrinking workforces at many firms. These external forces require lawyers to become more efficient with their workloads. Not to mention, the general public is now seeing what's possible with emerging technologies like generative AI. Technological advancements are causing expectations of service providers to rise, and the legal profession is no exception.
“Lawyers and legal professionals are feeling overwhelmed.”
Client expectations in the legal profession have become overwhelming, compounded by the need to identify, implement, and enable the adoption of new technologies. The concept of generative AI is a major driving force here for these stressors. It promises efficiency and streamlined work processes. Professionals deeply invested in legal technology prioritize workflow automation to eliminate repetitive, routine tasks. Yet, lawyers still grapple with platform fatigue, as the increasing array of tools and platforms necessitates constant switching and manual management of routine technology updates. The overarching goal must remain simplification, intuitiveness, and enhanced efficiency in legal practice through technology integration.
“Your organization is only as strong as your weakest link.”
Data security is one of the most critical aspects of the legal profession today—recent high-profile breaches in law firm systems, where there was unauthorized access to confidential data, pose significant concern. Notably, even smaller firms are vulnerable to data breaches. Such breaches jeopardize client relationships and have led to lawsuits against law firms, with several class actions filed in 2023. Training employees on cybersecurity protocols to keep data secure with each share, send, and attachment is paramount. And finding the right partners, like ShareFile, to make it an easy lift will go a long way. From secure sign-ins and user authentication to file sharing and file encryption, firms must make security a No. 1 priority.
“Lawyers have an ethical obligation to be competent in technology.”
Legal professionals are obligated by industry ethics to be competent with technology and security. Though you don’t need to be a technology expert, you do need to know when you need help. Lawyers operate in a highly regulated, sensitive industry, making safe and secure work practices critical. There are inherent vulnerabilities in areas like email communications, and the ABA Ethics suggests that lawyers are responsible for engaging in secure communication discussions with their clients. It’s important to grow this competence to maintain client trust and keep information safe.
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If you haven’t watched the LinkedIn Live event yet, head over to LinkedIn now and click the register button! The conversation starts at the 7:37 timestamp.