Why Are Lawyers So Damn Afraid Of Legal Tech?

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When the word “lawyer” springs to mind, it is often not associated with innovation and technology.

Automio’s Customer Success Manager, Olivia Wensley, looks into why lawyers have such an irrational fear when it comes to new technology.

Law is a profession which relishes antiquated practices and traditions. Most lawyers savour the pomp and pageantry associated with the profession (e.g. horse-hair wigs and silk gowns).

Sadly, there is an undeniable reluctance in the industry to embrace new trends – particularly, legal technology.

Lawyers are Conservative by Nature

Lawyers are trained to minimise risk. Lawyers are constantly worrying about the “worst case scenario”. This mindset means they are naturally wary of any new technology and any perceived risk.

Many law firms are using outrageously outdated practices – such as keeping a physical file (printing every email), and many are still using a fax machine for conveyancing (embarrassing!).

This distrust of technology is something that is extremely common in many firms – even those firms that brand themselves as “innovative”.

This fear of technology may be due to the senior partners being the last of the “analog” generation, and simply not having an understanding of newer concepts such as “the cloud”.

Many partners come from a time when everything was physical – typewriters were used, everything was in hard-copy, timesheets were manually written out. They took comfort in something being physically present.

This isn’t a new phenomenon – I’m sure lawyers were once “afraid” of technology such as dicta-phones, typewriters and fax machines.

Many lawyers I’ve worked with previously still use handwritten memos, fill out timesheets by hand, keep physical files and refuse to learn to type.

A common objection I face in my job, is lawyers not trusting “the cloud” to host their work and client information – as they take comfort in having a physical server in their offices.

This shows a basic misunderstanding, as “the cloud” offers unparalleled security – and accessibility, and is a far superior option to a physical server.

Lawyers have been Burned in the Past with Bad Tech

Many of my lawyer clients have expressed frustration from spending huge amounts of time and money investing in other software that has turned out to be a huge disappointment.

In my experience in legal practice, many of the software offerings are outdated and clunky. Most big-name software on the market is not intuitive, and leaves the user feeling frustrated.

Implementing software can be a large undertaking – and many firms have been burned after spending huge amounts of money, time and resource on introducing a new software bundle, only to be left feeling underwhelmed.

The reason a lot of legal software feels outdated and clunky – is because it is outdated and clunky. Many software platforms have had to evolve from “legacy” programming – meaning the foundations of the software was built on old, outdated platforms.

Technology moves quickly – I find it astounding that many of the industry leaders have simply failed to keep up with the pace.

“The cloud” is no longer a new concept. Every single legal software provider should be hosted on the cloud, and feature API integrations with other cloud-based software. This is undeniably the way of the future.

Something I love about our software at Automio, is it is built from scratch – using the newest technology. We aren’t tied down by having to “upgrade” old legacy technology. The result is, a smooth, and intuitive user experience. It looks great too!

Lawyers are Afraid of Being Replaced

This is a common fear many lawyers share – and it comes from a place of misunderstanding.

Lawyers have nothing to fear from technology – to the contrary, there are many benefits to be gained from the adoption of technology and innovation.

Technology will never replace a lawyer’s role, but it does mean that the lawyer’s role will evolve.

Instead of spending a huge amount of time on mindless tasks such as proof-reading, a lawyer will be able to spend more of their time client-facing and doing high-value work.

Technology will make the practice of law more enjoyable all around. In my experience, many lawyers are unhappy in their day-to-day practice.

By eliminating the tedious grunt-work, technology will be able to free lawyers from the chains of mundane work, and allow them to do the tasks they find more enjoyable.

Happier employees means an increase in productivity and a decrease in churn. A win-win!

Many Lawyers Aren’t Business Savvy

The thing about many law firms, is they are run by lawyers. This is a problem, because most lawyers don’t know how to do anything besides practice law. They simply don’t have business experience.

I have been extremely impressed by the new generation of tech-savvy lawyers that are coming up through the ranks. This new generation understands that technology is to be embraced – not feared.

This new generation are familiarising themselves with “tech” terminology – such as “automation”, “lead capture”, “digital marketing”, “landing pages”, “webinars” and “lead magnets”. They are treating their practice as a business, and using tech to give themselves leverage over their competitors.

Times are Changing – Law Firms Must Evolve or go Extinct

The simple fact is: law firms that don’t evolve and adopt new technology, will die.

These firms will lose business to the new generation of tech-savvy firms. Over the next 5 years we are going to see a Darwinian “adapt or die” revolution in the way law is practiced.

Client’s expectations are changing rapidly – in a world where anything can be ordered with the click of a button, clients are now expecting professional services to be easily accessible.

Other professions have kept with the pace – banking and accounting services are easily accessible online. Law is the last professional service to provide online services.

The good news is, technology allowing lawyers to do this, is becoming more accessible and affordable. I’m proud to be part of the legal tech revolution that is going to shape this industry for the better.

Programs like Automio help facilitate law firms to provide easy, accessible service to their customers – without having to spend millions of dollars to get such software made.

If you’re interested in learning how Automio can help your firm – and how others are embracing technology to gain efficiencies in their practices – or if you’d like to see our software in action – you can book a one-on-one demo HERE.

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