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Client Facing Technology as a Priority


Ieuan is co-founder and CEO of Validient, a commercial client onboarding and engagement system that provides an end-to-end client experience. He brings a fresh perspective to the legal sector by advocating client’s needs as the core of the entire industry and is on a mission to transform their experiences.

I have spoken to countless people who have used law firms for many different reasons and each of them highlighted one thing that was lacking; technology. This article explores technology in the legal industry by looking at the driving forces behind it, with a focus on client-facing processes such as client onboarding and engagement. 

Importance of technology in the legal industry 

The legal industry is witnessing an era of transformation with manual processes being replaced with automated solutions. The fundamental shifts across the industry have been driven following the major disruption caused by new technologies and decision-maker mindsets, yet many law firms have lagged in their rate of adoption. Advancements have already been seen in the industry with automation tools for contracts and the use of AI, but more investment is needed in technologies that can be deployed to automate manual, laborious, and repetitive tasks. The sooner that technology can be utilised to eliminate these inefficiencies, the better for both firms and clients. 

37% of time in the professional services industry is spent on mundane and repetitive tasks that could be performed by automated systems. It is also estimated that 23% of a lawyer’s time could be automated, allowing the lawyer to concentrate on more pressing matters.

As mentioned, many law firms have been slow in their rate of adoption, but things are changing thanks to three key drivers in the industry: client expectations, the need for cloud-based solutions, and maintaining compliant processes in a virtual world. 

Clients expect more and better technology

With tech advancements moving at breakneck speed in our everyday lives, clients expect law firms to offer the same level of digitisation. Following advancements of technology in other industries such as banking, clients are now demanding the same experiences in the legal industry. One example is a smooth, fast, and easy onboarding experience. With 55% of clients predicted to review their legal providers, the need for competitive advantage and technology is critical. 

The need for cloud-based solutions

The COVID-19 pandemic has proved a challenge for all industries but has also been a driving force of tech adoption in the legal industry. With virtual and remote work becoming more common, there is a need for firms to access data easily and remotely. Additionally, an increase in international work for firms has also pushed the industry to a cloud based model that can facilitate multinational transactions and communication. 

Virtual compliance

Due to the increase in remote work, the industry has had to adapt its compliance procedures to deal with the shift. A great example of this is customer due diligence. There is a need for systems that can not only automate manual processes, but also help reduce the risk of regulatory non-compliance by ensuring adherence to best practices. 

It’s obvious to see that things have started to change in the industry, but what I have noticed is that not as much client-facing technology has been adopted as should have been. To maximise the impact technology has, firms must start putting their clients at the core of their vision by introducing technologies that transform their experiences. We will now look at why it is important to prioritise your clients’ experiences using technology for onboarding and engagement specifically. 

Client Facing Technology

Onboarding and engagement are essential processes in all law firms. Yet 1 in 4 law firms have missed out on major deals due to poor onboarding processes. It’s not just law firms that are feeling the pain: 56% of clients claimed that their onboarding experience fell below their expectations and would consider this a factor when looking for legal advice in future. Onboarding is just one of the client-facing processes law firms perform throughout a legal matter. Throughout the matter, a lawyer will be regularly communicating with their client. Often, these interactions end up in email tennis and lost interactions. Clients often feel like they have been left in the dark with regards to progress and updates. Having technology that can keep your client engaged is equally as important as providing a great onboarding experience. 

The Benefits of Automated Onboarding and Engagement Solutions

The benefits of having onboarding and engagement solutions for law firms are extensive, but some of the main ones that can help law firms deliver the client experiences that they want to be known for include:

  • Faster and easier execution of Know Your Client (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) processes
  • Reducing  costs that can’t be passed on to the client 
  • Gaining a competitive advantage in the market by providing exceptional client experience
  • Reducing the risk of human error 

The Future 

The future of the legal industry is exciting. Just looking at the landscape of legal tech companies that are being built shows the scope of opportunity to improve firm efficiencies and client experiences. For law firms to truly excel and compete in the future, a technological shift is essential. Tech transformation is no longer a choice, but a matter of survival.